Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Is Facebook Responsible for Ending Marriages?

A 2010 survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that interaction on Facebook is the underlying cause of divorce in 20 percent of American divorce cases. I found this to be extremely upsetting...and unfortunately see the truth to it.

Facebook has done lot's of wonderful things for our culture. It's given us the ability to keep in touch with those who may be across the country (or in a completely different country entirely) and allowed us to reconnect with those from our childhood or distant past. Facebook gives you an intimate look at others' lives in a way that's never been done before. It's so much easier to feel connected to others and for many, it's comforting.

But Facebook can also be damaging to relationships, especially a marriage. It allows spouses who may be unhappy with the current state of their marriage to connect with others on Facebook and engage in emotional relationships. It provides an escape -- and often the spouse will use that escape to start a new relationship. Not to mention it's extremely difficult to catch infidelity on Facebook.

But it's not just Facebook. Affairs can happen anywhere online. Take for example -- a website that makes adultery even easier. It's sad, but people who are unhappy in their marriage seem to be running to the Internet. Some may not even see it as cheating since it's online and the physical component is taken away. Some may see it as easier than cheating in person and may think the risk of getting caught is much lower (which perhaps it is).

However, I think engaging in emotional relationships is still considered cheating. And given the ease of communicating with others on Facebook and other online channels, it's a lot easier to get emotionally involved much more quickly.

So where do we place the blame? On Facebook alone? On the Internet? No, I think the blame should still be placed on those who are doing the cheating. After all, they know what they're doing. They willingly participate in chats on Facebook or on other websites. They know what they're getting themselves into. It's just such a shame that it's easier to have an affair these days. 

But even though having an affair online may be easier, it still has the same damaging effects. Not only on those who cheat but on their spouses and families as well.

Have you ever experienced infidelity that started online? How is it different than "live" cheating? Are the effects still the same? Would be interested to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below or email me a Depending upon the response I get to this controversial topic, I may post your comments (anonymously of course) in a future blog post.


HotExpressoCards said...

I find it interesting that you think it is easier today to have an affair, as though if it could somehow be made to be less easy, people would magically become more loyal, faithful and committed to the relationship they're already in.

MVroom said...

Thanks for the comment! That's a good point...when I said easier I meant there are more opportunities to engage in an affair given that some people have "virtual" affairs where they couldn't before. I think there are more distractions given the internet, social media, etc. The Internet allows us to create another life for ourselves online...something that I think CAN lead to cheating (but not always of course). Would love to hear more thoughts on this!

Serenity said...

Too much independence, secrecy and need to escape fuels an affair. Today's technology allows greater ability to do so, if there is a desire. The challenges that come with any marriage require interdependence, openness and honesty and a desire to engage in the difficult work of making things better, if an affair is to be avoided. People make choices as to how they use technology, some just do not think about what they are doing, or why, or what the outcome may be. Those of us who have experienced the pain of divorce due to an affair must use caution in our personal lives and help others understand the dangers of a "harmlesss online relationship".

MVroom said...

Great points, Serenity! The key word is "choice." Everyone has a choice as to how they want to live their lives and in divorce, so many people are impacted.


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