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(Do you know where your spouse is?)
Technology is wrecking havoc with relationships. The Internet is tearing couples apart. Social networks are creating insecurity and jealousy among those who formerly trusted one another. Couples are coming to therapy accusing one another of "cheating" even though no actual cheating has occurred.
A couple of days ago, Google announced their latest and greatest technology: Latitudes. They should have called it "The Instigator". You give Google your loved one's cell phone number, and Latitudes will keep track of their whereabouts.
So let's say you are unsuspecting spouse with suspicious spouse. This translates to: Innocent desperate you has the need to go for a drive, leave work a little early, shop a little, have a little alone time. Don't be surprised if you get a phone call from spouse demanding to know where you are.
Now, the unsuspecting innocent you who is just trying to buy some personal time for yourself may tell a little white lie like, "Oh, just getting ready to leave the office..." You've been caught red handed but you don't know it. Then naive you may start hearing screaming and swear words in ear while spouse starts proving you wrong, detailing your exact location, down to street and block.
LIAR LIAR! is what they will be shouting. You know you're no liar. Granted perhaps someone who's just trying to grab a little slice of unaccounted for time, but not a LIAR.
Google should include liability insurance along with this little "service" (home wrecker) or at least cover the inevitable marital counseling.
I had a client who had no reason to doubt his fiancé. But one night, after repeated attempts to contact her (she lives out of state), he had her cell phone password (WHY?) and checked to see if she had gotten his messages. She hadn't. Tucked in the middle of his messages was a message from an acquaintance of hers (male) who was asking if she wanted to meet for coffee.
AH HA!!!! This “acquaintance” was suddenly the reason for her absence. My client figured out this guy's number, calling him at midnight questioning his fiancé's whereabouts. The guy didn't have a clue what he was talking about.
Long and short of it is that fiancé hadn't been feeling well and fallen asleep early. Client was caught with his tail between his legs and vats of time wasted and egg on his face.
On a weekly basis, I work with couples who are checking their spouse's computer history, e-mails and bookmarks.
"Why did you look at girlsgonewild.com last night, HONEY???"
The poor condemned client sits on the couch red faced and looking like Ted Haggard after Mike Jones exposed him.
Facebook is another big problem. Professionals are being told that having a Facebook page is an absolute must. Seems innocent enough, but oh, this can be downright dangerous when one has an insecure spouse, or a spouse who has been previously burned by another's straying eye.
It also becomes bait for the man or woman who is experiencing the normal ruts and boredom of long term relationship. On some innocent afternoon or evening, man or woman decides to just check and see if a former lover or high school sweetheart is on Facebook.
We tend to idealize the past. We tend to idealize choices not made. That former boyfriend or girlfriend pops up under the search, and presto...instant contact back to the past and the place where things surely would have been better.
"Privacy" may become an outdated word. We will try to explain the concept to our grandchildren and they will look at us with puzzled faces.
"Trust" may become a thing of the past. It used to be that a lover lost our trust when they had sex with someone else. Now, "internet cheating" is rampant and one needs only to "Add a Friend" and the accusations begin to fly.
"Private investigators" may become a thing of the past. Who needs them when there is software available that will give you your spouse's computer history and passwords in a matter of seconds? There are GPS systems that can be placed underneath the body of a car that will track your significant other's whereabouts and wanderings.
Being in relationship has the potential of looking like working for the CIA, complete with covert operations and code names.
Being intrinsically insecure as human beings doesn't help.
My good friend Chrissy who has been married for 30 years has always had a philosophy that works well for her. Unless her husband comes to her with some kind of confession, or she catches him red handed, she trusts.
In marriage, in any committed relationship, trust is key. The trust is critical. And this is a yes/no answer. Do you trust? Do you not trust? Yes or no. If you don't have trust, you don't have intimacy.
So, as technology becomes more and more sophisticated and available, we have some choices to make.
We can make it really simple...or not.