Whats wrong with 2000 friends on my Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat? They’re just FRIENDS.
I meet with many people identifying relationship problems between their real-life partners and the virtual world of relationships. The rules for connection and engagement are different between these two worlds, creating mistrust in many relationships.
When we explore what “connections” create safety in relationships, Neurobiology research tells us that emotional safety is one of the most important components of a loving relationship. Creating safety opens the door to partners in a relationship being vulnerable and authentically connected.
Stephen Proges states:
“Immobilization without fear is what we call ‘intimacy’. All our defenses are gone when we hold each other and are near each other. We don’t need words, because our bodies conform and feel safe with each other”. [Stephen Porges Phd]
Neuroception is the bodies way of determining via neural circuits whether situations or people are safe, dangerous or even life threatening. Our bodies begin to code and identify where we feel at risk or even if there’s a threat, beyond our conscious thought to our senses. Our Neuroception system can determine safe, warm, and supportive connections as well as potentially dangerous situations, and the degree of response we need to protect ourselves.
Where there are perceived subtle threats to our relational connections, our nervous system becomes alarmed, and respond as if there is a threat. Our body, words, tone, facial features all become tense and anxious.
Virtual relationship can cause subtle threats to our relationship, causing physical reactions to not feeling safe for many people.
Communication, connection, relationship and their interconnection with neuroscience, specifically neuroception, can begin to explain the challenges that many relationships are experiencing between the virtual and their real life relationships.
Today, virtual relationships with individuals online and outside of their relationship with their partner seem to be more normalized. At the same time, many clients report not feeling safe with their partner’s online connections and report that many of these relationships are ‘secretive’ in nature.
In comparison, extra-relational connections in the real world are less accepted or tolerated within the rules or boundaries of a monogamous relationship. The rules of relational ’connection’ seem to be very different between the virtual and real life. Virtual connection outside of an real life intimate relationship are not questionable, privileged, and often not disclosed.
Those virtual relationships formed online are impacting the neuroception connection and safety for your real life partner.
I often tell my clients; In the modern world, the majority of connections that lead to affairs begin with a cell phone, and also end with a cell phone.
November 26th, 2018