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MENTAL HEALTH

9 Strong Confirmations You’re Having an Emotional Affair — And What to Do About It

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Let us put on our imaginative hats on for 2 minutes. You are casually scrolling through Instagram and there’s this guy who you’ve been digging their pics and commenting on everything they say. If you were not in a serious relationship he could have been the perfect one for you. However you noticed that not only can you drool over his pictures he is responding to your comments and seems even emotionally invested. You even found out he stays in the same city as you do and belongs to a local gym just a few blocks from your house.

“This is a great time to get fit” you think out loud and then register in the same gym. you even begin to work out around the same time he visits the gym all in a bid to be near him. He notices you and both of you become work-out buddies and exchange phone numbers so you can discuss the best diets to back-up your work-out’s with. Suddenly it hits you again that both of you are so in sync with each other and if you were not in a committed relationship he would have been a perfect choice in all regards. You have now confirmed that he’s definitely emotionally invested in you and this sends ticklish flashes throughout your entire body.

At this point you are fine with all of the feelings, chatting, trust and new-found closeness you enjoy with this person. Everything is under control afterall both of you aren’t having sex. I understand that there are exceptions to all these rules but i can tell you for free that you have begun an affair. A point your partner and therapist might align on. You still are not sure right? Well i’ll help you clarify this by giving you clear signals that could help you tell yourself the unhinged truth.

 

1.Putting Yourself in High-risk Situations With Them

The moment you begin to put yourself in situations where you’re trying to be alone with someone of the opposite sex who isn’t your partner. It’s considered high-risk. Getting drinks, going on long drives or simply making out exclusive phone conversation time for them should be your first sign that you are having an affair. Social media, whatsapp etc. has made it much easier for individuals to connect with their exes triggering intimacy in a flash for the undisciplined emotion. I chose the word ”Undisciplined Emotion” because Mark Zuckerberg did not ask you to send that message or respond to the one that was sent to you. You decided because you wanted to. So impulsive and reckless men and women have sunk their marriages themselves.

2. The ”How About Your Partner” Dilemma

The moment you cannot answer this question freely with this new person in your life, then you are really in trouble. Many individuals have told me how their affairs begun from them trying to help a friend navigate turbulent emotional times in their life. They simply asked ‘How about your wife/husband?” and things just went too fast from that point. They were in too deep before they could realize something had gone wrong.

For you making the moves, If you begin to talk to your new crush about your main relationship that is a serious no-no. Secondly if you begin to tell this person how your partner pees on the toilet without raising the toilet seat or inform them on how not-so-caring he is then you are almost full circle into the affair. Any conversation with this person that leaves you emotionally vulnerable is an invitation to have them fill up some emotional space. However, do not think that talking business with them either is safe, especially if you know deep down that you like this person. All you may be trying to do is keep them around you by any means necessary. It’s one thing to say these things to this new person in your life about your partner but my ultimate litmus test is this.

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Telling this new person about a lack between yourself and your partner that you haven’t even spoken to your partner about is treachery. A sell-out.

3. You’re Hiding and Lying About YOUR ACTIVITIES

Going to hang out with your female best friend is one thing but lying about it simply means you felt some measure of guilt. Anything that makes you lie to your spouse or hide certain activities from them is a red flag.

Please do not tell me you are protecting your spouse and saving their insecure soul the torture of suspicion because now you will be lying to me as well. If your partner is insecure validate them and not further re-inforce it. Even extremely insecure people can be helped.

If you find yourself waiting to leave the house to communicate, deleting chats, refusing to tell your partner about them or just feeling conflicted about the whole situation then you are most likely having an affair. One of the toughest things I struggled with at the onset of my career 12 years ago was learning to allow people their full session of ‘Falsification’ without interrupting. Clients most times know they are having affairs but yet deny it themselves even after being caught or confronted by a partner. If it’s a friendly outing then your partner needs to know.

4. You Suddenly Feel ‘DESIRED’ and ‘POWERFUL’

When you begin to contemplate an affair while married it simply means that your relationship has gone sour. If there was ever a thing as the benefits of having an affair, i would list the opportunity to sincerely fix your relationship with your spouse or an opportunity to love again. When you do not build your relationship it dies. An affair has such a powerful pull because it makes you feel both desirable and powerful all at once. The two things you lose when your relationship settles into a comfortable crawl.  Rather than work towards correcting this, many individuals would rather seek thrills outside of their marriage or relationship.

 

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5. You Start Avoiding REAL Intimacy With your Partner

When you start having an emotional affair, one of the things you lose is the intimate connection you once had with your partner. No deep conversations, moments or emotions are shared anymore.  Most times the affair becomes the real avoidance mechanism for shying away from intimacy with a partner. At this point a partner cannot have deep conversations or share their feelings with you but rather would discuss it with an outsider just to maintain that distance between you and them. At this time, it would also be important to note this. especially with the up rise in the number of men and women attracted to married folk or people in committed relationships.

An attraction to a married person or someone in a committed relationship over 82% of the time points towards feeling unworthy and undeserving of a complete loving relationship that includes a give and take – both emotionally and physically.

6. The state of complete Obsession

Like a high-school kid in love, this person takes over your thoughts. Your routine and schedule now gets tinkered with to accommodate this person. Feelings begin to intensify and deepen at this stage. When you do not receive their messages you become very anxious regardless of who is watching. You start to take out your aggression on your partner, kids or anyone else who you consciously or unconsciously perceive to be a deterrent towards making this new relationship a lot more convenient for you.

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This is the point where things begin to get dangerous because they have finally gained full control of your mental space. This means that at this point, they can be right there in the bedroom with you and your spouse even if not physically. At this point clients begin to build up libido with mental images of this person. Afterall, the aim is to satisfy your spouse RIGHT? Your sex life with you and your partner suddenly seems boring because there is a secret craving to sleep with this other person rather than your partner. Now the real problems begin.

7. The COMPLAINTS stage

All of a sudden you will come to realize that your spouse is not meeting up to most of your expectations. Infact you are outrightly disappointed with them. Rather than reaching out to your former support structures of friends, siblings, in-laws etc. You would rather call on this one person who understands you more than everybody else in the world right now.

If you happen to be at this stage currently in your marriage or relationship, it’s the perfect time to seek out other healthy support systems you may require asides from your spouse. You could register for an online class, join a book club, schedule hang-out sessions with friends or simply connect via call with your family a lot more. This could help you not rely on your partners attention or lack of it.

8. Now you are LYING about the other person

It’s already bad enough that you are hiding a potential emotional affair from your spouse but having to lie about it is another level of deceit. Lying to someone who is supposed to rely on you 100 percent is your first step towards actual physical infidelity. The only two ways to stop this is by either speaking to your spouse about your struggle or simply speaking to someone else who you and your spouse trusts, holds in high esteem and relies upon.

The general idea is to become accountable and improve on your marriage again.

9. Requiring Support and Celebrating Successes with the other person

At this point it’s important to take note of who you run to when amazing things happen to you. Once this person isn’t your spouse,  then you might have a much bigger problem on your hands than anticipated at the beginning of this article.  Couples in healthy marriages turn to each other to celebrate happy times and also get support during bleak times. ONCE YOU ARE NOT RELYING ON YOUR PARTNER FOR THIS,  you may have just replaced them emotionallyIf this is the current state of affairs in your marriage then it’s time to work on your marriage and a good place to start is by asking your spouse for support. If they struggle with this, then it’s time to talk about it and get help from a professional near you.

 

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Firstly, if you still do not think you are having an emotional affair and none of the points i mentioned resonate, then its a good time to go do something else and wait for my next article. However, if you know you were definitely having an emotional affair and have no plans of breaking up with your partner then you have taken the first step which is admitting that you were having an affair.

I wish I could tell you to go back to your crush and request that both of you remain business partners or friends. Unfortunately my usual advice is that you completely cut off ties with them. Most professionals are still divided on IF you should tell your partner that you had been embroiled in an emotional affair especially if there was no physical intimacy. I believe that this is the true test of honesty and friendship between partners and should be discussed. Other therapists may advice that you keep it under wraps and save your partner the emotional torture since nothing happened and all has been handled with ties cut.

My opinion is that the best marriages are the ones where both partners are mature and vulnerable enough to clean out their closets, communicate healthily and rebuild trust after it has been shaken. Whatever you try to hide, OWNS YOU. – Temple Obike

Couples therapy could help you and your partner rebuild intimacy and connect on a much deeper level than before. i would love to leave you with one piece of information. Your partner will NEVER be the most attractive person in every room or place and as long as you are constantly searching for a distraction, you will always find one. If you constantly find yourself in situations where you are looking, the real solution is to opt in for therapy and find out WHY you are doing this after which you can then understand how to stop.

This is a good place to end today’s piece and don’t forget that an emotional affair nipped at the bud is an opportunity to strengthen a union and make it better.

Written by Obike Temple.
Temple Obike is a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, author and psychotherapist who has counseled over one thousand, two hundred clients comprising of couples, individuals, abuse victims (substance, physical, emotional and sexual) and grief-stricken clients. With over 70,000 in-counseling minutes (1,000+ hours) accrued in practice. He runs his private psychotherapy & counseling practice out of Lagos, Nigeria and has counseling centers in Abuja and Port-Harcourt. His practice also provides options for both online and on-site services.His private practice has positively empowered lives through his online counseling, podcasts, free advisory services and free online materials.  Readership of his articles also receive a growing number of visitors alongside subscriptions to his email newsletter at templeobike.com. His passion for empowering and uncovering the secrets to lifelong marriages and personal development led to his new book titled “Soul Bodega” available on amazon and across other online and traditional stores.Never give up on yourself! You are a journey happening through various destinations.Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit our website for more info!

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HOW TO

4 Powerful Ways to Stop The Four Horsemen That Predicts Divorce

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Today I will be discussing the four horsemen of marriages. Its raining woofs and meows this awesome Sunday morning and it looks like a quiet indoor worship day for myself and the family. For some strange reason, i remembered Sunday school and how I looked forward to reciting bible verses memorized from the week before and then getting new ones to memorize.
I’m sure it’s obvious by now that I’m a christian (something many colleagues have warned me to stay away from if i wanted a practice that would not be termed a “christian therapy center”). C’mmon, really? Anyone who would not have a session with me based on my faith must really need to get themselves checked (especially if i didn’t ask that we pray first before commencing).
Back to my story. The book of revelations will always be one of my favorites owing to it’s post-apocalyptic horror themed outline. It’s like a prophecy movie detailed to the dots and tittles. One of the scariest prophecies ever written about human-kind (which has begun anyways) is on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
4 Powerful Ways to Stop The Four Horsemen That Predicts Divorce

The four horsemen of the apocalypse

A concept Dr. John Gottman used in analyzing what happens in a marriage first before it ends. This metaphor depicted the end of times in the Book of Revelations (last book of the New Testament and the bible in general). The four horsemen were conquest (white horse), wars (red horse), famine (black horse), and death (pale horse) respectively.
4 Powerful Ways to Stop The Four Horsemen That Predicts Divorce

Dr Gottman, PHD,  Statistics.

Meet the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Marriages?

After putting in  over 40 years of research, Dr. John Gottman, Ph.D. showed that there were certain patterns that once introduced in a marriage could prove destructive to love and at the end destroy the love in the marriage. Research shows that these four interactions; criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt are very damaging to a marriage. When you learn to identify these horsemen in a marriage, you must be able to immediately help couples turn them around. Let’s quickly delve into the notorious four horsemen.

First Horseman – Criticism

I believe that a marriage that does not have conflicts is a marriage that may not grow. The same way tough times make us aspire for more and become better as individuals, conflict in marriages make us communicate with our partner and build better marriages. Criticism happens when you constantly blame your partner and makes them feel like something is fundamentally wrong with them.

If you discover that you or your partner constantly puts each other down by pointing out flaws, this horseman is already present in your marriage.

When you criticize someone its about them, when you complain, it’s usually about the topic or behavior. I’ll give you a really quick example.

Scenario:

You get to the kitchen after a hard day of cleaning and scrubbing only to discover that your partner had used the sink and didn’t clean it.

CRITICISM: What is wrong with you? Can’t you just learn for once and do the needful. Its so simple, clean up after washing.

COMPLAINT: Please lets clean up after using the sink like i’ve always said. It attracts ants if not cleaned.

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Second Horseman – Defensiveness

It is human to defend yourself when under you feel criticized. The attack could be physical, emotional or mental but regardless of the kind, you will defend yourself when attacked. It’s important to know that there are times we need to draw a fine line between “feeling criticized”‘ and actually “being criticized” . This is hugely dependent on how your partner has been handling related issues or how much you personalize what is being said to you. When defending yourself from a perceived attack, you either retaliate with a counter-attack or simple adopt a victim stance.

If you truly want to excel in marriage, Never be the one who denies all charges. Accept what is true and change what can be changed in the moment.

Using our first scenario about the kitchen sink, This is what a defensive stance looks like

Defensive Stance: I have not even washed anything today, Why are you accusing me of pouring water all over the sink if i haven’t even been there?

Healthy Stance: Oh shoot! i know you keep asking me to clean up, Thing is i haven’t been in there today. I’ll clean up when next i use. Thanks for the heads up.

When you truly accept some responsibility for whatever must have happened, you exterminate Defensiveness. This way you are looking for something you agree with and not what you can bite on to. I see couples who due to defensiveness trigger their partners who react so badly that things get out of hand quickly.

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Lastly, there is such a thing as understandable defensiveness when you are just being attacked by a partner for simply breathing in oxygen. Now you have to hold your breath around them to a point where you feel like it’s all not worth it.

 

 Third Horseman: Stonewalling

Now, this is where things really get serious because from this stage, you decide to shut out your partner even if the both of you are in the same room. If they cannot take care of my emotional, mental or physical well-being, i might as well shut them out. At this point, the tell-tale signs begin to creep in.

The Signs;

A) Defiance Stance: When you notice that you’d rather be doing something else while your partner is talking to you, then you are definitely stonewalling them.

B) Little or No Eye-contact: In sessions, i see couples who cannot maintain eye contact. This is such a telling sign that a lot of damage has been done. At a recent event where i had the opportunity to speak to over 300 couples i played a little game where i asked couples to maintain eye contact for 10 seconds without making funny faces, saying anything, laughing or doing anything to take away from the seriousness of the moment. by a show of hands, It was obvious that only about 20% of the couples could complete this successfuly. The reason i understand is very simple.

Whoever told you the eyes were the windows to the soul was absolutely correct because if you looked closely into your partners eyes, you would see everything you have deposited in there staring back at you. – Temple Obike

C) Passive Aggressive Behavior: When you start making faces or just making gestures that show you are not really listening to what a partner is saying or doing.

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When you stonewall you think its because you are so cool and not allowing things get to you but i hate to be the one who breaks this to you.

Stonewalling happens when you are internally overwhelmed with everything that is happening in your marriage or relationship. You get anxious easily, you experience palpitations and sometimes if not handled swiftly, you could become depressed. Sorry.  – Temple Obike

For the stone-waller and the stone-walled (like the sound of this)

The moment you see yourself stonewalling your partner, you have given them reason to start fighting harder and trying even harder to be seen and heard. They will escalate whatever conflict you have with them because they feel you must not ignore them.

For the partner who has been constantly criticized and pushed to a point of overt defensiveness, their silence means they are reflecting on everything that has been said and if they have a vindictive bone in them, are most likely thinking of ninety-nine reasons they shouldn’t be letting your negative energy seep through them anymore.

Well, both parties are wrong and MUST re-engage conversations by calming down and conversing again. 85% of the time,, men do most of the stonewalling because 99.9% of the time women do the talking. Guys, one of the things you must first of all identify in therapy is why you stone wall your spouse and then you learn how to calm down. Ladies, for you it’s very important that you understand how your behavior negatively affects your partner thereby making him look disinterested. When the both of you learn to break these patterns, you will become immune.

Then it’s time to re-engage in conversation. It’s helpful also for the woman to understand that her behavior actually greatly impacts her partner, and he’s managing that impact by looking “disinterested.”

Fourth Horseman: Contempt

The final Horseman is contempt. Contempt is a thing that is born in marriages where resentment, toxicity, a lack of communication and more have been allowed to fester. Contempt always happens when the relationship has fully broken down. The moment you and your partner resort to threats, insulting each other, using derogatory terms on each other then you are here.

These traits mentioned are all a form of emotional abuse and they kill love. The state of being contemptuous is by itself an act that seeks to bring down, ridicule or make a partner look bad in an attempt to look better.

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In many families before providing them with the required help, I noticed that the husband’s most times were willing to with-hold help from a wife in need just to make her firstly get hurt and then learn from that mistake.

The moment contempt has you in it’s clutch, you suddenly becomes a man or woman who always looks for negative things about your partner. When you do find this, you deliver the report to your partner with such intensity that’s geared to cause emotional and psychological damage. In extreme cases, research has linked contempt to the prevalence of certain infectious illnesses in the life of the person receiving this. This usually shows up in childhood and if not carefully handled can take over in adulthood with or without the presence of a toxic relationship.

The non-verbal ways of identifying contempt is with passive aggressiveness such as eye-rolling, or mimicry.

Killing Contempt

The quickest way to kill this demon is by becoming appreciative of your partner  Yes I called it that “a demon” and it has nothing to do with my Sunday mood. A state of mind that makes you want to literally see someone else get hurt is not purely a human action.

To fully eradicate contempt from your marriage is a long-term process but the very first thing you can do is to begin to talk about issues from your own perspective. Shed light on your feelings, anguish, desires and frustrations.

To fight the four horsemen, an attitudinal shift is required. See your partner in the light of the positive qualities they possess. Appreciate them when you see them doing good things.
For the Therapist

Lastly, for the therapist dealing with couple’s who come in for proper marriage counseling, the first exploratory session may be given to de-escalating and unpacking all the negatives but moving forward, real therapists take control of the room and quench the negative energy. From that moment onwards, it is now time to talk about your feelings and not about what is wrong with your partner. For couples who may be attempting to do this by themselves from home, this is my advice to you as well. Sit down as a couple and resist the urge to talk about your partner’s fault. Talk about your feelings for once as your partner listens and vice versa. This is how true change and positive energy gets introduced into your marriage.

If you and your partner are currently battling any of the mentioned issues, it would be a great time to begin using the proven tips i mentioned in the write-up or give us a call to begin marriage recovery therapy. You can have it online or come in for an exploratory session with any of our professional therapists.
A WORKSHEET TO HELP YOU BEGIN
Written by Obike Temple.
Temple Obike is a licensed marriage and family therapist, speaker, author and psychotherapist who has counseled over one thousand, two hundred clients comprising of couples, individuals, abuse victims (substance, physical, emotional and sexual) and grief-stricken clients. With over 70,000 in-counseling minutes (1,000+ hours) accrued in practice. He runs his private psychotherapy & counseling practice out of Lagos, Nigeria and has counseling centers in Abuja and Port-Harcourt. His practice also provides options for both online and on-site services.His private practice has positively empowered lives through his online counseling, podcasts, free advisory services and free online materials.  Readership of his articles also receive a growing number of visitors alongside subscriptions to his email newsletter at templeobike.com. His passion for empowering and uncovering the secrets to lifelong marriages and personal development led to his new book titled “Soul Bodega” available on amazon and across other online and traditional stores.Never give up on yourself! You are a journey happening through various destinations.Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit our website for more info!
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HOW TO

I Caught My Partner Cheating : 4 Powerful Walk Through Guides

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I Caught My Partner Cheating : A Walk Through Guide is an article many require to help them navigate murky relationship waters. It isn’t strange to receive those random messages from individuals torn apart by the fact that their partner was cheating. They just caught their partner right at this very moment cheating. WHAT DO I DO NEXT? As a case study, we will use one that was really touching because it was enough to lose hope in humanity.

(more…)

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HEALTH

‘Trading is gambling, no doubt about it’ – Does cryptocurrency dealing fuel addiction?

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‘Trading is gambling, no doubt about it’ – Does cryptocurrency dealing fuel addiction? This is a question coming up and asked on therapy couches as a new trend is beginning to emerge.

Raised on the remote Shetland archipelago, he left school at 13 to become a trawlerman before moving into construction, eventually earning £85,000 a year digging tunnels for Crossrail.

Despite his self-made success, compulsive cryptocurrency trading, alcohol and drug use took over his life.

In the fog of multiple addictions, he lost the “addresses” of between five and 10 bitcoins, rendering his digital buried treasure – worth up to £300,000 today – impossible to retrieve.

Steven spotted the potential of bitcoin early and he had a talent for trading. But even if he had that money now, his addiction means it would soon be squandered.

“Trading is gambling, there’s no doubt about it,” he says.

“I studied and studied. I taught myself how to be a good trader and tried really hard to manage my accounts and stick to a set of rules.

“But my mind would twist and I’d go all in, like a poker player that thought he had the perfect hand. I was convinced I was going to be a bitcoin millionaire.”

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Now in recovery at the Castle Craig residential treatment clinic in Scotland, Steven fears that legions of young people are being lured into high-risk trading and potentially addiction, based on the same misguided quest for untold riches.

“A whole generation think that with a little mobile phone they can win, that they can … beat the market,” he says.

“It scares the bejesus out of me.”

‘Trading is gambling, no doubt about it’ – Does cryptocurrency dealing fuel addiction?© Provided by The Guardian Representation of cryptocurrency dogecoin. Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters

Steven’s fears are founded partly on crypto’s rapid emergence into the mainstream.

When he started investing in 2015, digital currencies meant nothing to most people.

Now, they are being touted as a more democratic alternative to a monopolistic and exploitative global financial system.

As the Guardian revealed on Friday today, crypto firms launched a record-breaking promotional push in London last year, targeting millions of commuters with 40,000 adverts on billboards, at tube stations, in carriages and across the side of double decker buses.

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Advertisers included relatively obscure names such as Hex, Kraken and Puglife about whom consumers know little, if anything.

Meanwhile, football clubs and players, not to mention globally recognised celebrities, tout crypto investments on a daily basis via social media.

This week, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr were named in a lawsuit alleging that they helped promote crypto firm EthereumMax, as it made “false and misleading” statements that left investors nursing heavy losses.

An Instagram post about EthereumMax, to Kardashian’s 250 million followers, may have been the most widely seen financial promotion of all time, according to the head of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Yet despite their ascendancy – and warnings that governments could suffer “limitless” losses – cryptoassets remain unregulated in the UK, pending a Treasury review.

That means that the FCA, the UK’s financial regulator, is all but powerless to influence how the industry behaves.

While some trading platforms that offer digital assets are regulated – because they also offer more traditional financial instruments – crypto coins and tokens are not.

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Cryptoasset executives do not have to prove that they are fit and proper people to take people’s money. The companies they run are not required to hold enough cash to repay investors if they go bust. Nor must they worry about the FCA’s stipulation that financial promotions, such as those splashed across public transport in London, are fair, clear and not misleading.

Amid the marketing blitz, the Advertising Standards Authority is the only watchdog that has bared its teeth. It is investigating one advert by the cryptocurrency Floki Inu and has already banned one for Luno Money.

‘Trading is gambling, no doubt about it’ – Does cryptocurrency dealing fuel addiction?© Provided by The Guardian A cryptocurrency poster advert at a London tube station. Photograph: Gavin Rodgers/Alamy

“If you’re seeing bitcoin on a bus, it’s time to buy,” the Luno advert insisted, contrary to prevailing investment wisdom.

Luno Money told the Guardian it would welcome an “effective regulatory framework”.

But in the ongoing vacuum of oversight, experts fear that cautionary tales of addiction, such as the one told by Steven, are being drowned out by powerful, overwhelmingly positive messages.

To monitor the type of messaging sent out by marketing teams, the Guardian created an experimental cryptocurrency portfolio – holding a mixture of bitcoin, ether and Shiba Inu.

As bitcoin slumped towards the end of 2021 and into 2022, having reached all-time highs just weeks earlier, the Twitter account of smartphone trading app eToro remained doggedly optimistic.

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“Is bitcoin on its way to a new high?,” it asked, as the slide began. “We’ve seen bitcoin rally before. But could this be the one to take it to the MOON?”

The answer, for the time being at least, was “No”. But holders of crypto portfolios were encouraged to stay positive.

“Your account gained 1.87% yesterday,” one app notification read, as the slump abated. “You had a good day. Share the news with everyone.”

No such invitation appeared on the far more frequent days when the value of the Guardian’s portfolio went down.

“It’s a very strategic marketing ploy,” says Dr Anna Lembke, one of the world’s foremost addiction experts, professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine and author of the book Dopamine Nation.

“They’re encouraging you to amplify the wins and ignore the losses, creating a false impression there are more wins.”

Asked about this, eToro says that it is “committed to helping retail investors engage with each other and foster an environment of learning and collaboration”, adding that its platform is not “gamified”.

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According to eToro’s UK managing director, Dan Moczulski, some users make their account public so that “all investments are visible to others, whether they are profitable or not”.

The company said it also provides educational tools, performs know-your-customer checks and encourages long-term, diversified investing.

But Dr Lembke is concerned by the potential for the social media element to fuel compulsive behaviour in crypto trading, an activity she says bears the hallmarks of addictive gambling products but without the acknowledged risk.

“When you mix social media with financial platforms, you make a new drug that’s even more potent,” she says.

Social media posts pushing crypto frequently refer to Fomo – the fear of missing out – fuelling an urge to participate.

“You get this herd mentality where people talk to each other about what the market is doing, they have wins together, losses together, … an intense shared emotional experience.”

“We get a little spike in dopamine, followed by a little deficit that has us looking to recreate that state.”

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This, she says, echoes characteristics of gambling but with a crucial difference.

“It’s less stigmatised,” she says. “It has this socially sanctioned status as something that maverick smart people do.”

Parallels with gambling are becoming harder to ignore.

GamCare, which runs the National Gambling Helpline, said it fields about 20 calls a week related to crypto. Callers reported trading for 16 hours a day, making huge losses and struggling to cope with the guilt.

As with gambling, where every one addict is estimated to harm seven other people, many were suffering at the hands of someone else’s habit.

One recounted how her partner’s trading obsession was leading them to spend time away from the family. Another said their partner had taken to trading while in recovery from alcoholism, spending every waking hour making trades.

GamCare has even dealt with young patients who bought digital coins in a desperate attempt to make enough money to get on to the property ladder, only to lose life-changing sums.

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At Castle Craig, where Steven is receiving treatment, the first crypto addict arrived at the clinic in 2016, followed by more than 100 since then.

“More and more people are isolated and are doing this [trading], especially since Covid,” says Tony Marini, the senior specialist therapist at the clinic and a recovering gambling addict himself.

“It’s tenfold already since 2016, so what’s it going to be like in the next five years?”

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CRIME

Brazil Wife Beats Husband’s Mistress Then Throws Her Off Bridge (VIDEO)

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The phrase “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” took on a literal meaning last week when a wife in Brazil, angry after catching her husband cheating on her, managed to get her hands on his mistress, beating her up in front of her house before dragging her through the streets by her hair and tossing her off a bridge.

The incident, which was caught on camera – but only starts from the middle of the savage assault – began when the woman caught her husband cheating on her with a blonde.

The mistress can be seen trying to cling on to a gate while the spurned wife angrily grips her hair and strikes her over the head.

Unable to fight back, the mistress screams in agony as her lover’s wife drags her along the ground, down the street and across the road to a bridge. The pair is then joined by another woman, later revealed to be a friend of the wife’s, who helps throw the mistress off a 10-foot-high bridge.

 

The women then wipe their hands of the deed and walk off as the mistress struggles to stand up and compose herself after being tossed into the water.

It’s unclear whether the woman was injured during the attack.

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Watch a video of the beating HERE.

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