A brief interview on the topic of “Netflix Infidelity” With Dr. Anthony Centore

Is “Netflix Infidelity” a Real Issue in Counseling?

A couple has never come in with this as their only issue. But, yeah, it’s come up in counseling.

It’s obviously not like traditional infidelity. For some couples it’s a non-issue—it’s all out cheating all the time. For other couples, it’s a big deal. …The experience of watching something for the first time can’t be repeated, so it makes sense that someone would want their partner to share the experience with them.

Does Anyone Ever try to Fake it, and Pretend they’re Watching for the First Time?

I imagine that would be pretty hard to do—to feign surprise at all the right moments, for example. I’ve never come across that…that I know of.

Do you Think a Partner Should have to Wait?

Usually it’s a small concession for a partner to wait—even if he or she doesn’t think it’s a big deal.  If it’s important to your spouse, you should try to wait if you can.

In some cases it’s not easy!

It’s like waiting for your spouse to come home to have dinner. The longer you need to wait, the more likely you’re going to start snacking.  At some point the late spouse should say, “go ahead and eat without me.”

For example, like everyone else, my wife and I have been waiting for Arrested Development. However, I’m literally out of town for two weeks.  My wife’s already told me she’s not waiting for me to get home to watch it.

Are you Okay with That?

Yeah. I want to watch it too.

Is this Issue of “Waiting” a New Phenomenon, due to On-demand TV?

It definitely is, but this has been happening in some regard with movies for a long time. What usually happens is that one spouse wants to see the movie with the other spouse, but that spouse gets an invite to see the movie with his or her friends.

What Should Couples Do?

Let the spouse go, but know that you’ve earned a night out with your friends.

Any Tips for Spouses Struggling with Netflix Infidelity?

First, if it’s the biggest of your relationship problems—you’re doing well! But I have 2 tips:

Don’t make every show an “us” show. You spouse should be able to watch something while you’re not around.

Put a time limit on any Netflix restrictions. If it’s a weekly show, your spouse should be free to watch it before the next week’s segment comes on.