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Infidelity, Trust and Communication Technologies.

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Article by Christopher Swane

Christopher Swane Counselling Psychotherapy Profile | Email | Website
Christopher Swane Counselling Psychotherapy I am a relationship and couples counsellor based in Sydney for over 5 years with a further 5 years in Europe. I also assist clients with grief and loss counselling. Psychotherapy/counselling for men single men or part of relationship counselling and counselling for anxiety and depression. 254 Henderson Road
Australia 2015
0405 606 330


Statistics suggest that society is experiencing increased levels of infidelity. Infidelity can be sexual, emotional or financial. Sexual infidelity is where one partner is engaged in sexual intercourse with someone other than their partner. Emotional infidelity is where one partner is understood to be falling in love with another person other than their partner. Financial infidelity is where a partner is keeping financial secrets from their partner.  The impact of infidelity upon a relationship can be devastating. As a relationship counsellor I have witnessed many clients who have experienced infidelity and who are now trying to rebuild trust in their relationship. Trust is an extremely difficult to rebuild once it is lost from a relationship. Traditionally there have been several key steps towards healing after a major break of trust, they are:


  • Take responsibility for all of your actions.

  • Be completely honest about your past.

  • Be consistent by keeping all of your promises.


A major concern which is often raised during therapy is the complex question of trust versus privacy. The phenomenon of trust versus privacy has been highlighted in recent years by communication technologies. As communication technologies have become normal in our day to day lives they bring a vast array of different problems. One of these problems may be trust.


How has communication technology influenced the way we interact with our partners? In certain circumstances dishonesty and secrecy is linked to the use of communication technology. One partner may feel that they cannot trust their spouse unless they are completely honest with their use of communication technology. There are many ways that the use of communication technology may be perceived as dishonest.


Here are a few; locking mobile phones, deleting texts, hiding a phone, multiple email accounts, flirting in chat rooms, deleting emails, sending explicit sexual pictures over the internet, watching pornography, leaving the room when taking calls and receiving emails or calls late at night from strangers.


The use of communication technology can raise further tension in a relationship when one partner feels that their privacy is being invaded. If there is continuing distrust in a relationship then it’s common for one partner to regularly check their partner’s texts, emails or computer. This practice creates further conflict within a couple’s relationship. This practice sometimes produces shame and anger in the partner engaged in checking communication devices. They do not want to invade the privacy of their partner by secretly checking their emails and texts. But they feel that this is the only course of action left open to uncover the truth. Unfortunately this practice sometimes develops into obsessive behaviour and paranoia. Left unchecked this behaviour may lead to additional conflict in the relationship and further delay the healing process.


For couples who are trying to rebuild trust then complete transparency may be required. One step towards re-establishing trust is to agree to review all text and emails together before they are deleted. Other steps may include unlocking devices, acknowledge who is calling, deleting unnecessary email accounts, and limiting the use of social media.


It’s worth noting that when both parties are transparent, trust begins to rebuild faster. If there is any resistance to transparency then the belief remains that there is something to hide and the invasion of privacy persists.


During relationship counselling I have witnessed couples grappling with the issue of how to regain trust while maintaining privacy. It is a complex issue fraught with emotional challenges that will mould their relationship well into the future.




3 Dec 2014

Article/Information supplied by Christopher Swane

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.