When I got my first cellphone in 2004, I immediately noticed something. “These things are designed to help people cheat,” I pointed out to my then-husband. They really were: you could delete sent texts one by one or erase a whole thread, you could save someone’s number as something totally innocuous (“Chimney Guy”), you could even change the date or time on outgoing and incoming messages. You could send pictures. This was before smartphones, so the cameras were terrible, but it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see the inherent potential for someone who likes sneaking around.
Now that technology has basically infested every aspect of our social interactions—do you even remember anybody’s phone number anymore? Because I sure don’t—we spend a lot of time communicating with people we may not exactly know very well, using tiny powerful computers that we carry in our pockets. And, just as in 2004, the possibilities for cheating seem endless. From flirting through repeated “likes” of someone’s posted Facebook photos or commenting on their every status update, to setting up surreptitious OKCupid or Ashley Madison accounts, cheating looks very different in 2014 than it did ten years ago.
Three personal commitments of mine:
- In any private online conversations with a member of the opposite sex outside of work, I try to ensure that they're always between "wife & I" and the other person. If that's not possible, I do my best to keep the Lovely Mrs. Robb updated on the conversation.
- In offline conversations between myself and a member of the opposite sex, I make sure to mention my wife & kids. Fortunately, I rarely have to make an effort at this - I enjoy talking about my family.
- I have a PIN on my iPhone so I can leave it on my desk at work without tempting my fun-loving colleagues. The Lovely Mrs. Robb knows the PIN, as do the kids. I have no problem handing my phone off to any & all of them for whatever reason, and I will keep it that way.
There are other personal boundaries I have set for myself in this area. Not because I imagine that I am an irresistible stud-muffin who has to carry a stick to drive off the hordes of slavering women after my hotness, but because I know that I am a sinful man living in a sinful world, and it is far, far, far easier to bear a burden if you never pick it up in the first place.