Marital infidelity because of social media is growing concern for Maltese couples

Findings by the National Centre for Family Research says risk of infidelity from ease of online communication is a main concern for Maltese couples

yannick_pace
Yannick Pace
7 December 2017, 11:59am
Increased challenges should not stand in the way of nurturing stronger relationships said Coleiro Preca
Increased challenges should not stand in the way of nurturing stronger relationships said Coleiro Preca
The increased risk of infidelity, partly resulting from technological developments and increase ease of communication was one of the main concerns voiced by couples who took part in a study looking into the expectations and lived experiences of Maltese couple. 

The study was commissioned by the National Centre for National Family (NCFR), within the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society and was developed in response to the centre’s survey on sustaining relationships earlier this year. 

Addressing the start of a half-day conference, President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca expressed her satisfaction at the NCFR having published its second piece of scientific research this year.

Coleiro Preca said the study aimed to extract participant’s individual experiences, and included couples who stated they weren’t happy in their relationships.

She said that among the findings that struck her the most, was the observation that couple’s wellbeing depended on the amount of time they had for each other, and the fact that this was becoming more limited because of work schedules and other difficulties associated with modern-day life. 

Ultimately, she said that increased challenges should not stand in the way of nurturing stronger relationships. 

“Positive relationships are a cornerstone of our wellbeing, for no person can have wellbeing if they do not have the opportunity to come in touch with the beauty of human connection,” she said. 

Understanding the context of couple relationships

The study involved a number of focus group sessions and interviews with 23 participants aged between 36 and 68, and which included 14 female and 19 male participants, said Angela Abela, the chair of the NCFR.

The majority of participants were also parents. 

She explained that it was not possible to study couples without considering the wider context of the lives they lived, including social, cultural and economic aspects of couples’ lives. 

Sue Vella, who is also a member of the NCFR, explained that there were five main aspects that respondents felt impacted their relationship: the impact of work and finding the appropriate work-life balance, consumerism and making ends meet, mass media, the impact of technology, and the perceived ease of marital dissolution. 

It was not possible to study couples without considering the wider context of the lives they lived, including social, cultural and economic aspects of couples’ lives, said Sue Vella
It was not possible to study couples without considering the wider context of the lives they lived, including social, cultural and economic aspects of couples’ lives, said Sue Vella
Considerations regarding consumerism mainly revolved around the pressure felt by couples to consume, which many felt reduced their quality time together.

In addition to couples feeling the need to own more things for materialistic reasons, the study also highlighted the fact that in many cases, parents had concerns about whether their children were materially deprived when compared to their peers. 

The exorbitant cost and impact on couples of organising expensive weddings was also noted in the findings. 

Turning to portrayal of relationships in the media, Vella said that many of the participants stated that there was a huge difference between what the media portrayed about romance and being in a relationship and the real challenges involved. 

Technology was factor which needed to be considered in analysing a relationship, the study found.

This included the effect of use of laptops or mobile phones while in the company of each other. Others however felt that technology was positive because it allowed them to touch base with their partner and children during the day. 

The issue of infidelity also came up when discussing technology, with many participants admitting to being somewhat concerned at the fact that it facilitated meeting and communicating with new people. 

Finally, many couples also said they perceived marital dissolution to be a lot easier than it was in the past, with many voicing concerns about changes in social norms and attitude, which led to people abandoning a relationship at the first sign of difficulties. 

yannick_pace
Yannick joined MaltaToday as a journalist in 2016. His main areas of interest are politics...