For better than half a decade “Social Media” has become a household phrase and a worldwide phenomenon, and the undisputed heavyweight champ of the social media universe is your Facebook account. Connecting family, friends, friends of friends and random acquaintances, it’s been keeping you in up to date on the comings and goings of your circle for quite some time now. So much so that as of this February, there was 845 000, 000 active users logging on worldwide, with 41.6% of all Americans among that number. Those are big big numbers for a club that didn’t exist ten years ago.
Facebook is where social circles collide, and those collisions are starting to have major reverberations in the way we deal with our romantic partners and spouses. A quick Google of “Facebook divorce” and “Facebook affair” lets you know that the social network we all know and love has become a new front on the battlefield of love.
At it’s most benign, Facebook is a temptation to snoop. Any healthy relationship is a trusting relationship, but the temptation to check in on what your partner’s friends have been up to, or who they’ve been chatting with is an awfully tempting low-level breech of trust, and if you get a hold of your partner’s password, why, it’s only natural to take things a little further and poke around a little more.
Of course, on your end there’s a temptation to get in touch with old flames, just to see how they’re doing, or maybe “friend” that cute co-worker you’ve been flirting with and give them the odd poke now and then. More and more we’re finding out that “poking” on Facebook is leading to a little more poking between the sheets.
According to The Bay Area NBC, a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers revealed that twenty percent of all marriage disputes occur because of Facebook, and about 80 percent of those in the process of divorce use Facebook to communicate with their lovers.
Tara Fritcsch, the Edmond therapist says most connections start off innocently enough. “An ex-love, an old flame — there’s a nostalgia there. There’s memory of the simple days or maybe an excitement of new romance,” she said. Fritsch the psychologist even says that couples should establish guidelines to monitor their use of online social networking sites: “If it’s not something you want your spouse to know about, don’t do it. Have open communication with your spouse. Share your Facebook sites. Have one another’s passwords. Talk regularly about who you are chatting with”.
So Facebook has become the best place to see baby pictures of your new Niece, as well as the best place to set up an affair with that married woman from accounting. Ubiquitous, thy name is Facebook. It’s a dangerous piece of software, but like chainsaws and Ginsu knives, it can be useful if used properly. The trick is simple, maybe not easy, but simple: Communicate. Keep things out in the open, tell your partner what you’re up to, be honest, and don’t go looking for trouble. And while your at it, did you see that cat picture I posted? Priceless!
Maria S is an avid blogger and social media lover.