Infidelity looks a lot more complicated in the cyber world. Dr. Peter Kanaris joins me to unravel what constitutes cyber infidelity, the recovery approaches involved, and ways to rebuild trust.
Relationships in the Digital Age
Dr. Kanaris views the digital age as a “relationship accelerator” wherein the connections are made just as fast as they are broken. The digital age expedites and exposes every part of life that would otherwise be revealed slowly.
What is cyber infidelity?
Dr. Kanaris says that all infidelity in today’s age is cyber infidelity, as contact through technology is inevitable in the relationship in today’s age. Infidelity looks different in the 21st century than it did before. He calls it AAAP – Accessibility, Affordability, Anonymity, Portability. Technology has made it easier to seek infidelity without actively looking for it.
I and i-infidelity
Capital I-infidelity is violating agreements partners have about what they find acceptable to do or watch, such as electronic or face-to-face involvement, porn, sex, involvement of feelings, etc. Lower case i-infidelity is when involvement with technology takes over your priorities and responsibilities towards your partner but not necessarily anything sexual. Dr. Kanaris advises partners to have an honest conversation about what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in the relationship.
I-Infidelity and sex addiction
Sex addictions are not scientifically accepted in the professional world as they are popular in the media. Instead, Dr. Kanaris works with the model of ‘out of control sexual behaviors’ to help someone be in charge of their sexual wellness. However, for someone who chooses to cheat, he suggests a psychological approach to determine the underlying cause.
What to do once you see the red flags?
When you see red flags like catching your partner watching porn or sexting somebody else, Dr. Kanaris suggests having an open yet non-accusatory conversation about boundaries and what you’re uncomfortable with. If you’re still met with defensive behavior, it’s time to look further.
Recovery and rebuilding trust
The first step is to understand that technology poses challenges. Then address any out-of-control behaviors if there are any. The partners should then ‘collaborate and cooperate’ to manage technology in their relationships. When the conflict arises, Dr. Kanaris suggests employing externalization of the problem rather than looking at the problem from within the person. To rebuild trust, instead of going back to the blind faith model, Dr. Kanaris talks about an evidence-based model. Here, the partner who broke the trust takes initiative to be transparent and reassuring even if it costs them their privacy for the time being.
Tune in to find out what more ways there are on the path to recovery.
Dr. Peter Kanaris holds a doctorate in Clinical and School Psychology from Hofstra University. He is an N.Y.S. licensed psychologist and the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists certifies him as a Diplomate of Sex Therapy. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the New York State Psychological Association. He is a graduate Post-Doctoral Fellow of the Albert Ellis Institute in NYC where he served as a senior clinician, training supervisor, and faculty member
Dr. Kanaris has served as the Public Education Campaign Coordinator for the American Psychological Association in New York State. He has been the featured guest on many live interviews and call-in television programs where he has discussed a variety of topics on relationships and sexuality. He has appeared on radio programs from San Francisco to New York and has given numerous Internet, newspaper, and magazine interviews discussing topics in sexuality and mental health.
As Clinical Director of Hewlett Consultation Center from 1981 through 1999, Dr. Kanaris’ responsibilities included psychotherapy, sex, and marital counseling, and coordination of clinical services, professional training, and public education. Since 2000, Dr. Kanaris has directed the Sexual Diagnostic Program at his office in Smithtown, New York.
Resources and links
Free guide to infidelity in the digital age: https://cyberinfidelityhelp.com/infidelity-in-the-digital-age/
Sex Health Quiz – https://www.sexhealthquiz.com
The Course – https://www.intimacywithease.com
The Book – https://www.sexwithoutstress.com
Podcast Website – https://www.intimacywithease.com
Access the Free webinar: How to want sex again without it feeling like a chore: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass