The Virtual “other woman” in Your Relationship


The urge to online “stalk” is one hard to resist sometimes especially when it involves our partners.

Where there may be some niggles of suspicion and lack of transparency in a relationship social media can accelerate controlling and delusional perceptions. Diligently examining every line of their profile, sorting through friends lists, hacking in to their messages –popular sites like Facebook, Twitter and others, can be become the silent third person in a relationship and ultimately lead to friction and anxiety.

Social media in some ways could be considered a modern twist on Othello Syndrome.

Shakespeare’s Othello killed everyone dear to him due to his rage and jealously believing his lover was with another. Though hopefully the killing part will be an action suppressed for many the jealously elements are present in many users.

Traditionally Othello syndrome, or delusional jealousy, is described as a syndrome which can be particularly dangerousness. Sufferers may present with hostility that ranges from verbal threats to homicidal acts.

It can appear that social media gives us complete access to user’s lives and movements; however it essentially is the information we choose to share with others, and the information others chose to share about us that we have little control of. Taken out of context a habitual “x” at the end of a non-loaded comment can be perceived as a sexual advance, e.g. Andy responds to Rita a colleague “ See you next week ” – the lack of “x” could imply this to be platonic however add a “x” and do you perceive this differently?

Where there are already suspicions in a relationship it could be argued that social media spurs anxiety, jealously and rage in a couple – often arguing about comments/likes /messages that are taken out of context and underpinned by each party’s own frames of reference.

This obsessional and delusional behaviour can become the driving force of separation and when reflected on … how much evidence was there to determine whether our partners are trustworthy or not?


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