Facebook Infidelity: When Poking Becomes Problematic
- 3.2k Downloads
Recent research has focused on the Internet and relationships; however, little attention has been given to the specific role of social networking sites in relationship betrayal. Exploring the processes related to discovery of Facebook infidelity behaviors adds another layer to understanding Internet infidelity and highlights the behaviors unique to Facebook infidelity. Stories about cheating (N = 90), taken from the website FacebookCheating.com were analyzed using grounded theory methodology to create a process model of discovery. Researchers sought to answer four questions: (1) What is the experience of nonparticipating partners when their partners have engaged in infidelity behaviors on Facebook? (2) What are the basic social processes that occur when discovering the infidelity behaviors? And, (3) What are the basic psychological processes that occur? (4) What similarities or differences exist between the current research on offline and online infidelity and the process model from the current study? The categories are arranged in a process model, which depicts these processes as well as the emotional experience of the nonparticipating partner. The model highlights important phases through which the nonparticipating partner cycled following the discovery of the infidelity. These include appraising the boundary damage, acting on the appraisal, and making a decision about the relationship. Suggestions for clinical intervention based on this process are provided. Future research implications are also discussed.
KeywordsFacebook Infidelity Social networking Grounded theory Process Discovery
- Afifi, W. A., Falato, W. L., & Weiner, J. L. (2001). Identity concerns following a severe relational transgression: The role of discovery method for the relational outcomes of infidelity. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 18(2), 291–308. doi: 10.1177/0265407501182007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Associated Press. (2012). Facebook reaches 1 billion users. Time. Retrieved from: http://techland.time.com/2012/10/04/facebook-reaches-1-billion-users/.
- Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Cravens, J. D. (2010). Facebook and relationships (Master’s thesis). East Carolina University, Greenville, NC. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/2567.
- Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Daly, K. J. (2007). Qualitative methods for family studies and human development. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Heilferty, C. M. (2010). Ethical considerations in the study of online illness narratives: A qualitative review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 945-953. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2010.05563.x.
- Hertlein, K. M., & Piercy, F. P. (2012). Essential elements of Internet infidelity treatment. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 1–14. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2011.00275.x.
- Lumpkin, S. (2012). Can Facebook ruin your marriage? ABC World News. Retrieved from: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/facebook-relationship-status/story?id=16406245#.T8e02F9PE.
- Wilson, K., Mattingly, B. A., Clark, E. M., Weidler, D. J., & Bequette, A. W. (2011). The gray area: Exploring attitudes toward infidelity and the development of the Perceptions of Dating Infidelity Scale. The Journal of Social Psychology, 151(1), 63–86. doi: 10.1080/00224540903366750.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Yarab, P. E., & Rice Allgeier, E. (1998). Don’t even think about it: The role of sexual fantasies as perceived unfaithfulness in heterosexual dating relationships. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 21, 202–212.Google Scholar
- Young, K. (1998). Caught in the net: How to recognize the signs of Internet addiction- and achieving strategies for recovery. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar