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Trust in the digital age

Trust in the digital age

When it comes to the success of a monogamous relationship, I have always said “No trust, no us.” But as our society inches closer and closer to living in dual realities, between the online world and the real world, I’ve thought how it’s more challenging than ever to trust our partners.

Used to be couples could easily monitor each other’s activity, should they choose, by just keeping their partner close or in the house. Guys night out or girls night out, late nights at the office, these were the traditional trust tests. Now, things are different.

A person doesn’t have to go out with their friends to meet new people, what with all the social media available to them on their computer screen. Working late nights at the office hours is also a relic of the past, when one considers we can take home our business. But we can also bring home our pleasure.

I learned the hard way how difficult trust can be in a relationship if it’s called into question through questionable behavior displayed online. In my last relationship, I let my ex-girlfriend use my computer, forgetting to close out my Facebook account. Instead of ignoring the open page, she decided to dig into it, only to find a conversation I was having with another woman. There is no need for me to get into the details of what she read. The conversation was inappropriate and was the impetus for all the trust issues we would go on to have.

But we did try to make amends and move past the incident, which happened early in our union. Things went smoothly for a while, but whenever she saw me on the computer, suspicions arose, questions were asked. Adding to the intensity of these moments were the differences between our careers. She was a social worker who worked with people in the field, very rarely through a computer. I, an online editor for a publication, which required me to be on the computer all day and sometimes when at home. She understood the demands of my job to an extent, but there was no shaking the associations she made between my laptop and I.

Let’s face it. These days people can get away with a lot more than they used to, largely because the Internet has provided us with a way to escape without actually escaping. If we don’t need to leave each other’s side to act inappropriately with another, how do we make the one we’re with more comfortable? Giving our partner all our passwords seems like the most obvious method, but resorting to such tactics could be seen as a lack of trust rather than an effort to gain it.

Cheating and stepping out of our relationships has always ben wrong and will continue be viewed as such. Temptation, meanwhile, has only grown in size and scope. The way we as a society interact has changed dramatically, does this mean our values must change too? It’s a quagmire if there ever was one.

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