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Does Facebook facilitate divorce?

[deleted account] ( 15 moms have responded )

So, I saw a story about this on the news the other night and I thought I'd bring it in here for debate. I'll post an article saying it does (or at least plays a large role) and I'll also post an article that says it doesn't. THEN, I'll post my personl opinion in a comment afterward because I know it will be a long OP :)

The social networking site, which connects old friends and allows users to make new ones online, is being blamed for an increasing number of marital breakdowns.

Divorce lawyers claim the explosion in the popularity of websites such as Facebook and Bebo is tempting to people to cheat on their partners.

Suspicious spouses have also used the websites to find evidence of flirting and even affairs which have led to divorce.

One law firm, which specialises in divorce, claimed almost one in five petitions they processed cited Facebook.

Mark Keenan, Managing Director of Divorce-Online said: "I had heard from my staff that there were a lot of people saying they had found out things about their partners on Facebook and I decided to see how prevalent it was I was really surprised to see 20 per cent of all the petitions containing references to Facebook.

"The most common reason seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to."

Flirty emails and messages found on Facebook pages are increasingly being cited as evidence of unreasonable behaviour.

Computer firms have even cashed in by developing software allowing suspicious spouses to electronically spy on someone's online activities.

One 35-year-old woman even discovered her husband was divorcing her via Facebook.

Conference organiser Emma Brady was distraught to read that her marriage was over when he updated his status on the site to read: "Neil Brady has ended his marriage to Emma Brady."

Last year a 28-year-old woman ended her marriage after discovering her husband had been having a virtual affair with someone in cyberspace he had never met.

Amy Taylor 28, split from David Pollard after discovering he was sleeping with an escort in the game Second Life, a virtual world where people reinvent themselves.

Around 14 million Britons are believed to regularly use social networking sites to communicate with old friends or make new ones.

The popularity of the Friends Reunited website several years ago was also blamed for a surge in divorces as bored husbands and wives used it to contact old flames and first loves.

The UK’s divorce rate has fallen in recent years, but two in five marriages are still failing according the latest statistics.

Mr Keenan believes that the general divorce rate will rocket in 2010 with the recession taking the blame.


"I hate Facebook!" How many times have you said that … on Facebook?

Lots, no doubt. Well, at least once, probably. Failing that, surely at least one of your close personal Facebook friends shared that sentiment. It's not hard to find reasons, no matter how ill-aimed those reasons may be. When the omnipotent social network isn’t getting us "Facebook fired" for something we shouldn’t have posted online, it’s sucking up our lives as we toil on time-wasters like raising virtual crops. And now it’s destroying our families! You read the news .

According to a recent survey of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, "Facebook holds the distinction of being the unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence with 66 percent citing it as the primary source.” And as the Associated Press reminded us in its report, "A DIY divorce site in the United Kingdom, Divorce-Online, reported the word 'Facebook' appeared late last year in about one in five of the petitions it was handling."

Except, no. As fun and/or cathartic as it is to blame our human failings on Facebook or to bond with each other on Facebook petition pages demanding that the business conform to our will, it's still just a tool. Social networks don't destroy jobs and families, people do. Or they don't. It's your free will.

Agreed, Facebook certainly makes it easier to do all of the above. It's like having a chocolate buffet in your home as you attempt to not binge on chocolate … at least, if chocolate is your thing. Still, we know better.

We are six years into "Facebook," now, and before that there was … what was it? "MySpace," or whatever. Combine that with the 24/7 news cycle, and the Internet in general. If we've never visited online humiliation logs such as Lamebook and Failbook, certainly everyone with regular access to a social network has at least read half a dozen stories about indelicate status alerts or uploaded photos that ended employment, destroyed relationships and/or provided evidence for the prosecution.

So why do we do it? It's all about brain chemistry. We don't have to get into a long-winded debate on whether the Internet is making us more stupid or smarter to understand the basics of brain chemistry. Anticipating rewards dumps happy dopamine chemicals in our brains, the theory goes. If we expect the report of someone posting on our Facebook page, our brain is going to get happy just anticipating the reward … whether we get the reward or not.

Even if we don't get that consciously, our brains do. So our brains push us to do the behavior that gets us the happy brain dump … like check our Facebook profiles when we should be doing work. Or check our text messages when we should be driving. Or binge on chocolate when Type 2 diabetes runs in our family.

Once you understand that, it's not so easy to hate Facebook, and maybe you'll even be a little self conscious about being an adult who checks your Facebook profile compulsively and/or post things we really shouldn't. Or not. It's your choice.


Becky - posted on 12/04/2010




Yeah, I call BS on that one. Facebook and other social networking sites are what you make of them. If you accept someone you have some interest in as a friend or engage in intimate chats with them that lead you to cheating, well, it was going to happen anyway. You were just looking for a way to make it happen. (and by you, I mean a general you, not anyone here!) You can make the choice not to let social networking sites rule your life. You get to choose who you accept as friends, who you share things with, and who you talk to. People are just always looking to put responsibility for their own faults somewhere else!

Amanda - posted on 12/03/2010




Personally my fiance and I deleted our facebook pages. It was a waste of time and it was so addicting to me! I don't think that it's totally to blame for infidelity but I think it plays a large role. It's easy access to personal information. Things can be kept private and secretive. People can learn a lot about someone else on it. I think it's a big tool that people enable when they think about cheating. It's helpful. I don't think that's all it does though. I mean I'm sure there is good out there. But for us it was a big damn headache, and he hates fb and I've learned to just get over not having it. Lol...but I'm half and half on this one. Yes and No. Lol

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Petra - posted on 12/04/2010




Yeah, FB facilitates cheating. So do bars, alcohol, and dating sites. The user intent is what will determine whether or not someone cheats. Cheating existed long before FB, its just made it easier and/or faster. You can't blame FB for making some cheat - its just the medium they chose when looking to cheat. It is what it is - people use it to stay in touch, to get attention, and yes, to find people to bone. It is what you make of it.

Lady Heather - posted on 12/04/2010




We tend to use facebook as a place to connect as a family and share pictures with our relations who don't live here. If anything, it helps us stay connected to each other more than anything else. We can post little notes to each other or share funny things we think the other might like, even when he's away on business. I can do it without facebook too, but it stays in one central location this way.

If a person wants to cheat, they are going to cheat. It's not like it's that hard to find someone to sleep with. My dad sure managed to do it without facebook. Multiple times. It's just one more place to meet people. Before it was a bar or work, now it's the internet. We're exposed to people all the time, so I wouldn't really say one is "easier" than the other. Perhaps people just have more confidence to take the final adulterous leap when it's online and seems less real.

Bonnie - posted on 12/03/2010




I don't think Facebook is to blame in general. It might just be social networking sites. There is Facebook, Twitter, etc. that make it easy to talk with people you know/once knew/or maybe just met. People rekindle romances they once had. Maybe even someone they had a thing for before their marriage, but couldn't find that person and now here are these types of sites to help with that.

Stifler's - posted on 12/03/2010




Facebook is a good thing for me. People that hate it have either misused it or been the victim of someone else misusing it. 2 people I know from Facebook who live in the same town are now together because I told one of them to ask the other if they wanted to meet up in a non creepy internet perv way. Now they are in love in real life.

Rosie - posted on 12/03/2010




i think facebook facilitates a way and does make it easier for people to cheat. i do not however think it is facebooks fault. i love how people blame anything and everything other then themselves for their own discretions.

Mrs. - posted on 12/03/2010




I wouldn't blame facebook. In this instance you gotta hate the player not the game.

May I say though, when my bf of 8 years broke up with me a little over 3 years ago a strange thing happened on facebook. Men who I thought were just "friends" started to message me with their condolences and groom me for an evening out. It was very odd for me having been with the same person for many years. In fact, my fiance and baby daddy was among them.

My fiance was legally separated and living in his own apartment (getting papers together for his divorce). He messaged me to say he was sorry to hear about my break up and to tell me the same thing had happened to him. We went out as friends on a walk and things followed...

If you want to say it lead to his divorce..we'd all say not really since the divorce was already in the works. If you want to say it leads to hook ups after you break up with your partner...absolutely and thank God. I probably never would have gotten together with him or had my baby if I hadn't.

I, for one, am actually quite grateful for facebook.

Stifler's - posted on 12/03/2010




Erm. People are looking for someone to blame if you ask me. People are ending their marriage via their status rather than just leaving never to be seen again like people used to. People don't hate Facebook, they hate or love how easy it is to attention seek or catch up with old friends. Chances are even if your partner wasn't in contact with his old or new flame on Facebook having "sexy chats" he'd still be thinking about her, meeting up with her or on internet dating or whatever.

C. - posted on 12/03/2010




Ok, I don't feel like reading that long behind post right now, but I WILL come back to it.. But just going off of the title question.. I do think Facebook makes it easy to cheat, however, I have to agree with Tah.. It depends on the person. I know personally, I've reconnected with guys I used to like or that used to like me.. We're all happy in our current relationships and it doesn't go any further than seeing how each other is doing and what they're up to. I have no interest in them anymore and they have no interest in me anymore, so.. Just friends.

Tah - posted on 12/03/2010




I think that they do make it is to cheat and to reunite with old flames and meet new ones, but i also believe it is up to the person. If it wasn't that it may be at work etc. I do believe that the internet may give people courage to say or do things they wouldn't normally do, But i don't blame husband on the other hand calls fb the

Jodi - posted on 12/03/2010




Okay, if the makers/owners of facebook were initiating sexy chat or affairs with married people for the express purpose of causing a divorce, then yes, by all means, blame facebook (AND your SO.) But we don't blame the bars the men or women meet the "other woman" (or man) at, we blame the active parties involved. It's kind of petty to use facebook as your scapegoat for a failed marriage. Like anything good in the world, SOMEONE will find a way to misuse and abuse it. So cheat on cheaters, but it's not facebook's fault you can't keep it in your pants!

[deleted account]

Of course I WILL admit that FB may make it *easier* to cheat, but I don't think it's fair to blame FB totally and say FB cause them to cheat.... Thought I'd make that clearer. :)

[deleted account]

I personally agree with the second article. I think that if someone WANTS to cheat, then they will, and they will use whatever tools necesary (such as FB). I think it's just a lame excuse for people who can't accept e consequences for their actions...

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