Working as a mental health counselor, especially in the online realm, often means coming face to face with people and situations that regular day-to-day life wouldn’t present. I was once contacted by an older woman in her 70’s, who was looking for advice on an online crisis that she had inadvertently created. She shared that she and her husband were having marriage difficulties in which the wife complained that her husband was spending hours surfing the internet, and she was sure that he was engaging with other women, and was worried about his possible infidelity.
The wife, a petite woman with a sassy attitude, admitted to courageously deciding to catfish her husband. (For clarification: “catfishing” is creating a fake online persona and having someone believe you are someone else). While she had no proof of his cheating, she was suspicious of his lack of presence at home and computer usage and her curiosity pushed her to create an online persona and ‘test’ her husband. While he initially didn’t shy away from engaging in chats with this fictitious personality that his wife created, he refused to take the online relationship to the next level when presented with the opportunity.
This left the wife in a state of immense confusion about the status of their relationship and the intentions of her husband. As it turns out, the husband had recently opened a Facebook account and was connecting with old friends and was spending a lot of time on the internet. When she eventually confronted her husband, he immediately opened up his Facebook inbox to his wife, sharing openly all his conversations and search history. The husband was simply connecting with old friends and was enjoying the ease and comfort of re-connecting and conversing from the comfort of his home-office. As it turns out, the wife truly believed that internet surfing was altogether dangerous, and there could be no positive outcome to the web. Together, we worked out the underlying trust issues which propelled the entire incident and thankfully, they took it as an opportunity to educate each other on the dangers as well as the possibilities of online usage.
This brings to light trust issues in marriage relationships and trust issues that people should have with individuals they meet online. Online dating has many social issues and will likely carry with it issues that will influence future marriages. If the divorce rate is high now it will be exponentially higher in the future especially with all of these couples meeting on apps and online dating. New marriages are essentially set up to fail, trust issues will be through the roof in future marriages. People are catfishing each other that most relationships are starting off not being based on trust at all. Building trust is very difficult and trust should be at the foundation of every relationship not something that has to be built over time. Meeting new people online isn’t the best decision and isn’t the safest thing to do, you don’t always know who you’re talking to.
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