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Think Before You Click: Facebook’s War on Relationships

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.

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4 Responses to “Think Before You Click: Facebook’s War on Relationships”

  1. Molly Carano says:

    Wow, there’s a bigger percentage of Americans on Facebook, than the percentage of Americans who vote in the Presidential elections! Now, that is impressive. Our social lives have never been the same since the worldwide web, and then ‘Facebook’ happened to us! I never imagined that I’d be able to find old friends from high school, college and the rest, while I sit so far away from the east coast. It’s absolutely fabulous. I really appreciate your fun article about it. It’s no surprise that Facebook is used for affairs, and online ‘cheating’. Some things just can’t be stopped. If there’s an avenue for it, people are going to take advantage. Aside from full on affairs, what is the harm in chatting with your boyfriend from high school about losing your virginity on New Year’s Eve 1991? After all he was there! So what if its 2AM and you may be flirting a bit. It’s just a chat!
    I love Facebook!

  2. aislinn says:

    i love facebook for keeping in touch with friends and family who live far away, but i know it can be dangerous! my cousin’s mother in law was abandoned by her husband when he got in touch with a long lost girlfriend on facebook! she was devastated. it’s a dangerous tool for those who have a penchant for being unfaithful :(

    • Molly Carano says:

      I definitely don’t condone cheating. I guess all couples will have different standards of facebook etiquette to deal with. My husband is cool with my facebook communications, because we are just so secure with one another.
      I’m sorry that happened to your cousin’s mother-in-law.

  3. Kimberly says:

    There is always a negative and a positive to everything. Facebook, in spite of all the negatives is awesome. It’s just cool to find someone you haven’t seen in many years and read their updates.


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