Back when Facebook was king, it was the only form of "social media" by which others could know about your life.
Before Facebook launched, the only way someone could find out your whereabouts was if you straight up told them. Go back even 10 years before that, and we're talking about pagers and call backs from pay phones. C'mon... you were basically untraceable. If a boy didn't want to tell you where he really was, you'd have absolutely no way of finding out the truth.
Once Facebook became popular, everyone wanted everyone else to know their business. In fact, people were cooler when they posted their location, shared their photos and had others comment about how awesome it was to hang out this past weekend. And so cyberstalking began.
Not long after I graduated college, I was in a long-term relationship with someone who was finishing up their senior year. We'd been together for about three years and I was really looking forward to ending the long distance we'd been enduring. Toward the end of his fifth year (yes, he was a fifth year senior), my intuitive feelings starting kicking in. I felt like he was cheating on me with this freshman girl that he'd introduced me to at one of his fraternity parties a few months back. (Thanks so much for that unnecessary introduction!) I brushed it off as nothing more than jealous-girlfriend paranoia. This story has a lot more details and is quite long, so I'll keep it as short as possible.
Cut to: Post-graduation, and he tells me that he's going to go down to visit his mom in Myrtle Beach for a short while before making his way to New York City, where I'd landed him a job. (Yes, I wrote a few of his senior papers to help him graduate, wrote his resume and got him his first job.) Back then, Facebook let you fill out a section called "What I did this summer." Remember that? I checked in on what this little freshman blonde wrote and she had quite a few nice things to say about her vacation... in Myrtle Beach... with my boyfriend. BOOM. Caught. Facebook: 1. Ex-boyfriend: 0.
Turns out, I'm not the only one who caught their partner cheating on them through Facebook. Maria Coder turned her experience into a job!
"One night, when it was 4 a.m. and my boyfriend still wasn't home, I got worried. I decided to get some phone numbers of his friends off of his Facebook. I went to log on and saw that there was a chat window open with directions to another woman's home. I clicked the inbox to find nearly three dozen more meetings, requests for addresses, phone numbers, etc. As a former reporter, I'd been working on a book on how to "investidate" your prospective date and this gave me the kick in the pants I needed to finish my book! I now teach workshops and have been featured in countless media!"
Amanda Wazadlo also made a job out of an unfortunate situation. She found out her (ex) husband was cheating on her when she saw a comment he'd left on a woman's profile, recommending a good dating site for her since she was single. Finding this odd, Amanda went to the dating site and found her husband's profile. He even had pictures of himself on their honeymoon and from family vacations! While searching, she came up with the business idea to make over online dating profiles, which led to her dating consultancy firm, The Dating Stylist.
Hope Rising was spending weekends at her boyfriend's house, traveling there Friday and leaving Monday mornings for work. This went on for five months and things seemed to be working out. Her boyfriend even talked about moving closer so they could see each other more often.
"I got a text from him one Friday saying he was 'really busy' that weekend and that it wasn't a good idea for me to go to his house. That Sunday, I opened up a Facebook notification that showed he had posted he was at a local amusement park with another woman. When I checked out her page, it showed she lived in the same town he did. When I sent a text asking about her, he wrote that she's 'a girl I met Tuesday, she's local and makes good money.' Found out later that he had met her through a dating website and had been talking to her for a few weeks. By the way, I'm the one who purchased the annual amusement park pass."
Whether you find out from an overheard voicemail, Facebook or by actually catching them, knowing that your trust was betrayed by a cheating partner is truly one of the worst emotional feelings. Be smart, trust your gut... and know all of their passwords!
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