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“At first, it was something totally innocent, or so I said. I felt the urge to write a private on Instagram with an absurd excuse to chat. I did not want to be unfaithful to me couple, I did not even think that what I was doing was treason, but I suppose that when you start to be careful with your cell phone, something is happening, “confesses a woman whom we will call Alba, for privacy and because it does not give very good publicity to demonstrate publicly as unfaithful. “I wanted to talk, feel flattered, nothing more,” she says. Enough to be unfaithful?

Little more can be asked at the height of confinement, at which point this story emerged, but, with or without quarantine, a little flirtation and intimacy is enough to define infidelity. This is the opinion of 90% of the 30 people interviewed for this article through social networks, belonging to the Y and Z generations (18 to 39 years old), among whom is the young woman. “Before, it seemed that without sex there was no infidelity, my brother’s generation – born in 1979 – still considers it that way. For me, where there is an intention to seek an intimate connection of whatever type, there is infidelity“sums up a 34-year-old interviewee. Almost everyone shares their point of view: establishing a relationship of intimacy and complicity on the Internet is now an infidelity to use, with no more physical distinctions than the obvious ones. And it is a phenomenon, according The use of mobile devices is advancing, increasingly common.

Not just the sex it is no longer a necessary condition for infidelity to exist, but in most cases it is not even the objective. According to the interviews and the opinions of the experts consulted in this article, the objective of digital infidelity is to escape from problems and experience a high of self-esteem. When sex appears in the relationship it is like one more step in the evolution of flirting, and it is usually in the form of I knowxting, more than a physical encounter. “It is less complicated and is an immediate solution to a wish I have now, not one I want to fulfill at some point,” says one of the interviewees, 26 years old.

In the line of the motivations behind infidelity, it is not a purely physical longing, but it has a lot to do with emotions. According to Sara Laguna Bonilla, a cognitive behavioral psychologist specializing in emotional intelligence and anxiety and stress, “with the technological revolution we literally have everything in the palm of our hands, and if we do not have it immediately, emotions such as anxiety, sadness and anger appear. We are the generation of ‘the day before yesterday’ and we have transferred it to all areas of our lives. “

It’s not you, it’s my self-esteem, honey

It is difficult to establish a pattern that defines the bulk of the virtual infidels, but, according to the perception of collection through the interviews by the networks, they are people who need attention, who have low self-esteem and the need to like. They also seek to fill the couple’s shortcomings, but have no maturity to face them and resort to the easy route of evasion. According to a study published last January in the magazine Computers in Human Behavior, Another motivation to be unfaithful online is “to satisfy your curiosity about today’s dating market and understand your own value as a potential partner.” The director of Gabinet Psicològic Mataró, Cristina Martínez Viana, agrees with this “robot portrait”: “They are people with a tendency to need approval, they like to attract attention and seek social reinforcement through social networks. Often, low self-esteem also appears, which is compensated through this reinforcement obtained through likes, which are the most addictive element of social networks, as they act as a powerful and immediate reinforcer. “The more they have, the more they want to continue being unfaithful they experience.

The sexologist Sonia Encinas believes that feeling unwanted by the couple is decisive when deciding to look for relationships outside of the same, since it generates a lot of frustration. Encina attributes the origin of the problem to the lack of sexual communication: “Not knowing how to communicate sexually means that we do not know how to express what is happening to us, nor do we even know how to identify what is happening to us in that part of our life because it has always been taboo. Lack of sexual culture, that makes everything become a silence that leads to looking for someone else to reinforce sexual self-esteem. “But obviously this is just one of the possible motivations of digital infidels.

Another source of virtual infidelity is the need for evasion, and it is one that appears to have intensified during the lockdown. The sexual and couples therapy psychologist Alejandro Vites Doñate affirms that stress, grief management, job loss, financial difficulties and isolation can also trigger these patterns as a way to escape discomfort. Some of the individuals interviewed take this trigger one step further, stating that they find it attractive to flirt virtually by becoming someone else, inventing a new personality and life to escape their own. After all, who is going to find out on the Internet?

The strain of the useless panic button

One of the things that make digital infidelity an attractive adventure is that it is an easy option, you just need to have a mobile. But it is less discreet than it seems; all the interviewees agree that there are unequivocal signs that something is up: turning the phone upside down, letting see unconscious shocks when it vibrates, receiving messages at odd hours, giving vague explanations about its use, drawing a mischievous smile when writing, having long absences with the device in the hands, not separating from it or, as it has happened these days of confinement, taking the dog out too much and going out excessively to the balcony, movements that have even been the object of virtual mockery due to little discretion. Some apps To flirt, they have a panic button to close the application quickly or even a motion detector to close it with a simple flick of the wrist, but these gestures do not stop repeating. And is that the possibility of being discovered is a brutal stressor.

Also seeing these signs can be stressful. According to the psychologist Beatriz Fernández Moreno, it is “especially for people who have dependent personalities, anxious-depressive, obsessive traits, those who are controlling or jealous. From experiences with patients, the simple fact that there is the possibility or there is a Suspicion can trigger a series of behaviors that, if not managed well, can be pathological. “

The cognitive-behavioral psychologist and sexologist Saúl Sánchez focuses on the unfaithful and on that infidelity, for whom the possibility of being caught, even when they have not committed it, can cause “anxiety with all its symptoms, to cognitive level (negative automatic thoughts), physiological (sweating, tachycardia, stomach problems) and motor (if the person smokes they could smoke more) Also, it is important to mention that anxiety can cause hypervigilance, they will be very aware of everything they have to do with deception. ” It is understandable, since in virtual infidelities there is little room for forgiveness.

The interviewees confirm that this type of signal has been the trigger for the end of some relationship, although they admit that they have let time pass for fear of being possessive or invasive. The cognitive-behavioral psychologist Sara Laguna Bonilla affirms that, initially, emotional infidelity is usually given less value, but that, nevertheless, it is the one that generates the greatest impact in a possible rupture, due to lack of confidence. The very few interviewees who believe they can turn the page resort to what they themselves have described as self-deception. “I think I could forgive him if I managed to hold onto the idea that there had been no contact,” says a 28-year-old girl. But he quickly recoils and states, like 95% of those who answered this question, that it’s still a betrayal and, excuse me or not, mistrust is still there.

“How many times does your partner have plans that you have no idea about and he disappears without telling you where he is going? Few. And yet, how many times does he look at the cell phone a day without you knowing who he is talking to? Miles. So the shadow of doubt will be there all the time, “argues a 30-year-old woman. And it is that, as Manuel Jabois wrote in EL PAÍS, “sometimes there are more horns on a ‘good night’ from bed while you watch a series with your partner than in a quick fuck, or two, with an unknown person in an elevator “

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