Media Monogamy And Sex-Free Cheating You record a TV show that you and your partner love to watch together, but then watch it by yourself. You go to see a hit movie with a pal, instead of with your significant other. Should this be considered cheating?
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Media Monogamy And Sex-Free Cheating

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Media Monogamy And Sex-Free Cheating

Media Monogamy And Sex-Free Cheating

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Finally today, a few thoughts about modern love. Traditionally, committed relationships between two people involved promises to love, to honor, to forsake all others. But have you heard about the new fidelity gauge, a pledge to view specific TV shows or movies together, never alone or with someone else. Humorist Brian Unger explains in today's Unger Report.

BRIAN UNGER: It's called media monogamy, whereby two committed adults elevate the joint consumption of media as an act as sacred as sex and a violation as taboo as cheating. Take Neal and Kirsten, a couple in Los Angeles. Neal says he called Kirsten one evening and caught her committing digital adultery.

Mr. NEAL: I called her at house that night, and I go, what are you doing? She goes, I'm watching "30 Rock."

UNGER: It begins innocently enough.

Mr. NEAL: And I said, you've got to be kidding me. I Tivoed "30 Rock." You can't watch "30 Rock." We're watching it together.

UNGER: So then, is media monogamy a sacrosanct vow? A new, must-read chapter in the book of love?

Mr. NEAL: Of course it is. Yes, exactly.

UNGER: And this is why digital adultery can hurt so much.

Mr. NEAL: Men and women share very few television shows in common. For instance, she would not watch college football with me, nor would I watch a show called "Gossip Girl," I believe it's called. So, there's just very few things that, when you're in a relationship, you can watch together.

UNGER: When one person in a relationship consumes media alone, it's a dagger in the heart.

Mr. NEAL: It's the deception, without even being forthright and saying, do you mind if I watch this show. Just like, do you mind if I go on a date with another guy tonight, you know, that kind of thing.

UNGER: Kirsten says there was no verbal contract to only view "30 Rock" together.

Ms. KIRSTEN: But supposedly, this is some unspoken agreement, that when you watch a TV show together, that you actually need to watch it together every time it's on.

UNGER: But even with a spoken agreement, media monogamy can be a challenge to the most devoted couple. For instance, Josh and his girlfriend, Brachi (ph), are still rebuilding after what nearly destroyed their relationship, the movie "Batman."

Mr. JOSH: I ended up seeing it with a friend rather than her before she and I could do it together, and so I had to lie about.

UNGER: Josh had committed not one, but two acts of betrayal.

Mr. JOSH: I had to see the "Batman" movie again with her and pretend as though it was the first time I had seen it.

UNGER: He is remorseful about the two lies he told, which form the basis for most digital adultery.

Mr. JOSH: And it's always the lie that hurts so much worse than the actual act.

UNGER: Josh's girlfriend refused to talk NPR for this story, and apparently, she is not the only one competing for Josh's digital devotion.

Mr. JOSH: My neighbors had been trying to get into a digital relationship with me, and I'm not really happy about it.

UNGER: The downstairs neighbors, who don't have cable TV, want Josh to include them in any viewing of the show "Dexter." The unwatched episodes recorded on his DDR are almost more than Josh can bear.

Mr. JOSH: It's like having Jessica Alba as a roommate. The temptation is always there.

UNGER: As for Neal and Kirsten, they are working on being more communicative about their media desires. She says she's learned this lesson.

Ms. KIRSTEN: This is absurd, absolutely absurd. And I'll never watch "30 Rock" by myself ever again.

UNGER: And that is today's Unger report. I'm Brian Unger.


Day to Day is a production of NPR News, with contributions from I'm Madeleine Brand.

CHADWICK: And I'm Alex Chadwick.

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