Is MySpace YourSpace?
Would you, right this minute, be willing to turn over all your cyberspace records: email, text, phone, tweets, Facebook and internet searches to your partner? Would he/she be willing to do the same? To the average American this may sound like a gross invasion of privacy but given the fact that the incidence of affairs as well as pornography use is so high, it may not be such a bad idea if your aim is a happy, stable relationship. In an age when you can reach just about anyone in the world as well as check out your most salacious sexual fantasy with ease and anonymity, what‘s to stop you from tracking down your high school sweetheart or getting a glimpse of two women and a man getting it on? And furthermore, what’s the harm?
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Far too few people realize how seductive, even addictive cyber-habits can be. Think about the last time you were tempted to check your phone or computer at an inappropriate time, e.g. while driving; during a funeral (I saw it last week!); from bed after you hear the “ding” of a new message. The anticipation of good news or an exciting contact makes just saying “no” very difficult. When you add secrecy or an element of the forbidden, this form of titillation alters your brain in a way that makes you crave even more. If the contact is a person, texts become more frequent; repartee becomes more personal; flirtation has a field day. Soon, these seemingly innocuous relationships take precious time and energy from home and work.
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Why is it so powerful and prolific?
Any activity related to meeting, mating and procreating—which are survival strategies, is reinforced with feel-good neurotransmitters led by dopamine. The human brain is programmed to pay special attention to nuances related to survival and is rewarded with a surge of pleasure and urgency with each encounter. A personal note from a co-worker or a special smile from the neighbor can elicit a satisfying sensation and evoke interest. Dopamine is the marker for salience; when it is released, your brain gets the message “this is important; go get more!”