The Newest Way People Are Using Facebook To Cheat On Their Partners

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woman texting

I have a bad habit of never throwing anything away. I can misplace things, temporarily, or even do my best to forget them for years if I have to, but eventually, I give in, retrace my steps, and find them again. Yes, in less euphemistic terms, I'm that girl who keeps in touch with the guys from her past; it's a pointless habit, I know.

Although I can say I have definitely, permanently lost a few, the majority of them I keep at arm's reach, or more specifically, at the tip of my social media grasp.

From what I learned when I first saw The Social Network, I'm actually doing exactly what Mark Zuckerberg wanted me to do, so I really can’t be faulted, in my humble opinion. I tend to take any movie with Justin Timberlake in it a little too literally.

Here is the newest way people are using Facebook to cheat on their partners:

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But while I think my "keeping in touch," is completely innocent, some may not agree. In fact, some would go so far as to say that I'm committing "digital infidelity," with all these coddling messages and flirty tweets. Such an accusation wouldn't just make me scoff, but let out a loud laugh, because come on! We dated a million years ago, and we're both married! But, apparently, for some, that doesn't mean much.

According to researchers at the University of Indiana, people in relationships are using social media sites to find themselves "back burners," or "Plan B" partners, you know, just in case their current gig doesn't work out so well. It's sort of like keeping up a proper Netflix queue, so you don't have to dawdle too long between movies, and can get your party started with a new one stat.

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What researchers also found is that, on average, those in relationships were indulging in romantic or sexual chats with at least two people besides their current partner, and men had twice as many lined up than women, which is, to say the least, horrible.

Having a Plan B if your relationship is in the toilet makes perfect sense, especially if you’re on the definite road to Splitsville. However living happily in your "real" life with your partner and also pseudo-living happily in your "virtual" life with blasts from your past or that dude you met in the check-out line last week, does not a healthy relationship make. At that point, you may want to question why you’re still there at all.

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When you’re settled in a relationship and the passion has subsided, it’s easy to get sucked into the flirtations of former flames or someone new who seems to really understand you in that way no one else can, but it’s just a safety net that you don’t really need.

Backup plans are what you have for your career or business, or a pet project, but not for people.

The attention may make you feel good at first, but if it becomes something for which you long or need on a regular basis, then you’ve definitely crossed over into the digital infidelity world. Don't do that. Stay away from the light, and head home to the ones you love and who love you back. Facebook causes enough break-ups as it is; don't become a statistic, you guys.

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Amanda Chatel is a writer who divides her time between NYC and Paris. She's a regular contributor to Bustle and Glamour, with bylines at Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Livingly, Mic, The Bolde, Huffington Post, and others.