In this technology driven age, almost everyone leads a double life: one IRL, and one that exists in the digital realm through social media. For the latter, it's like living in a black hole where reality is malleable, easily warped to present a persona we want to showcase. Our true selves are masked, hidden in snippets and clues found in cleverly laid out vignettes of what we did that day, what we ate for lunch, and who we're hanging out with. It is image-centric, offering little room for context, and therefore, leaves the door for interpretation wide open. It's not exactly lying, but it ain't exactly the whole truth.
It is also a world where the rules of engagement are infinitely different than the ones IRL, altering how we do romantic relationships in ways we can't yet fully predict. Interpersonal connections can be found, quite literally, in our hip pocket, presenting multiple opportunities for making connections that would otherwise be unavailable.
While this is all well and good for the unattached, this presents a real problem for those in committed relationships. For the unhappy or the serial flirt, the appeal of seamlessly falling in and maintaining love is more than they can resist. Gadget screens act as a filter, making emotional entanglements essentially frictionless. It becomes, therefore, easier to maintain virtual relationships that parallel the ones in the real world.
It also makes it easier for discovering online infidelity. Breadcrumbs of betrayal are all over social media, making it easier to expose digital dalliances and catch cheaters red handed. It is just a matter of using the same tools in a different way–just take these pointers!
Follow your instincts. Take note of those who frequently comment on your partner's, especially the opposite sex. Observing these exchanges can lead to interesting discoveries. “I figured out that my fiance was still seeing his “just-a-friend” ex because of her comments on his wall,” reveals Sandra*, adding that her discovery made her mistrust her partner. "We talked about it and everything but I am worried we may not go past it."
Check out their check-ins, geotags, and reviews. Scenes of the crime can easily be pinpointed through various apps that encourage their patrons to review their products and services. "My then girlfriend checked in at this restaurant six times," says Joseph*. "Funny, but I don't remember ever going there with her." The couple has since broken up.
It's all in the Cloud. Your cheating bae might have deleted incriminating evidence from their phone, forgetting about the digital backup they are hooked up to. "His phone was busted and he needed to use my extra one for the meantime," says Gina, "We logged on to his Cloud to download his documents. It was surreal to see a dozen topless selfies of a girl suddenly showing up in the photostream." Needless to say, Gina rebooted her phone and her lovelife.
You Auto-Complete me. "My boyfriend asked me to look for his flight details in his inbox," relates Joyce*. "The name of his co-worker popped up, along with their thread of flirty messages." When confronted, the boyfriend admitted to the exchange but insisted that nothing happened beyond the thread. "He went as far as introducing me to the girl to quiet my doubts. I'd like to think of it as keeping my friends close and my enemies closer," laughs Joyce.
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What is lost can now be found. "Find My iPhone" is a great way to locate misplaced phones. It can also lead to unexpected surprises. "My girlfriend's lost phone turned up in her ex-boyfriend's car," says Jason*. "She told me that she was going to have dinner with her girls," he adds. "I'm pretty sure that her ex-boyfriend does not count as 'one of the girls.'"
related:Daily Diaries: What's the Realistic Way of Dealing with a Cheating Partner?
Watch the screen. "My ex-boyfriend was a fuccboi who constantly screwed around," says Cara*, revealing that their relationship was a constant rollercoaster of fights about his infidelity. "One night, while we were at dinner, I noticed a text pop up on his phone and memorized the number. I texted the number to a friend who called it to figure out if it was a girl or a guy. It was a girl, and it turned out she was completely clueless about me and the snake was going to La Union to hang out with her on a weekend that he was supposed to be at a medical mission." Both girls dumped him and are now low-key friends who laugh about their experience.
ALSO READ: In Focus: Living with Infidelity
Photographs from Unsplash.com
*Real names withheld