Thursday, June 9, 2011


With Congressman Weiner’s recent gross indiscretion, this topic is on my mind. Why in heaven’s name would any sane person take the risk of sending suggestive messages or pictures to someone they do not know….that they have never met? I love the explanation by one commentator I saw on TV. “ NARCISSISM! “

All of us know by now, or should know by now, that our new communication gadgets and technologies bring with them many risks. There is the illusion when texting or e-mailing someone that we actually do know that person. We meet through chat rooms, dating services, whatever, and we rapidly develop a “relationship” of some sort. Please note the word ILLUSION, for that is exactly what that is. I “converse” with you via one of these methods and we become waaaaay too familiar with each other waaaay too soon. I would never assume such a “close” relationship with you if I had met you in person (certainly not so quickly).
Then, if I am a true narcissist, I simply assume that you want to really “know” me (with the narcissist, it is always all about me… know, “Hi, how are you?.....and, how are you feeling about ME?). I assume you want a photo of me in my skivvies or in the nude. Of course, you never asked me for this, but I just assume that you want this and I send it off to you with a “cute” message. And, I am totally bewildered when you are offended….or when my spouse finds out about this and is heartbroken. Repeatedly, I work with people who have made this very grave error. Many times one is married and comes for counseling after finding this type of communication taking place by their partner. They feel betrayed……and rightfully so. The pain all of this brings to relationships is enormous. Many relationships are unable to recover from this type of infidelity (and very often, the offender, regardless of multiple promises to his/her mate is unable to stop the egregious behavior without long-term counseling).

I suppose that sexting can be rather fun between committed couples – it is still far too risky. None of these communication systems is all that secure and a picture intended for just one can end up being sent to many – or being placed on YouTube.

What is the answer? So simple……just don’t do it! Don’t start this behavior, and if you are engaging in it stop. If you cannot stop on your own, ask for help. The consequences are just not worth it.

Sandy Fournier, M.A., LMFT

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