Can Social Networking Lead to Divorce?

Divorce lawyers are reporting this month that 20 percent of divorce petitions cite Facebook as a contributor in the marriage’s demise. It’s unclear whether the numbers are accurate, but social networking can pose a new kind of threat to relationships if not used appropriately.

Facebook’s 350 million+ users find the site allows them to easily connect with friends and relatives, people they once knew, or new people with common interests. For some people, these connections can lead to curiosity, online flirting, wandering eyes, and the opportunity to rekindle old relationships or begin new ones.

The increasing use of mobile devices to communicate on social networking sites can make  posts seem more private. However, nothing posted to the Internet is private, and these communications frequently become public knowledge.

Lack of trust by the offended spouse can result, and marriages may be splintered. Once relationships have been sparked, users may be tempted to cheat on their spouses, or may leave their marriages for a new or old flame. Temptation is as old as time, but some people may find this new type of temptation too alluring.

Some couples are opting to avoid social networks for these reasons. Others are putting in place guidelines for communicating with the opposite gender.

A helpful article at the Marriage Junkie gives 5 ways to protect your marriage if you use social networking.

A few tidbits they share include not sharing negative information about your spouse, choosing your “friends” wisely, discussing with your spouse what topics or people should be out of bounds, and avoiding private chats or the development of close relationships with members of the opposite sex. When in doubt, “unfriend” someone who is offensive or who sparks inappropriate feelings.

One tip I would add is to “friend” your spouse, or if they are not a member, provide your spouse access to your page at any time—not to “check on you” but so that you can chat about common friends and activities and have an air of openness.

A previous post details why emotional affairs can be just as deadly to a marriage as physical ones. Guard your mind and heart, and keep your focus and attention on your beloved spouse.

Do you use Facebook? Do you have any safeguards in place or do you see no need for them?

Photo Credit: ©

4 responses to “Can Social Networking Lead to Divorce?

  1. Kathleen Quiring

    My husband and I know each others’ passwords to our facebook accounts (and to basically everything else). In fact, we have them all written on a single page that we keep in the house for reference.

    Like you say, this isn’t so that we can “check up on one another” — we both trust each other. It’s just our way of saying to one another, “I have no secrets. I give you free access to all my written thoughts.”

    It’s working for us.

  2. Thanks, Kathleen. My hubby doesn’t have an account but he likes to see what some of our friends are up to on occasion, so he uses mine. Good idea to keep a list of passwords for various reasons.

  3. Lori, good points. I was listening to an interview the other day of a high-tech couple who said that their constant occupation with their laptops and blackberries was slowly deteriorating their relationship until they put a stop to it. It is very natural in some ways to lose all sense of time and space while online. Next thing you know, you look up and it’s time for bed. I consciously put some limits on myself this year because I felt it was getting out of hand. One tip-off was my husband tip toeing into my office and saying, “Are you ready to unwind with me?” If that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what would! (Never mind the fact that he’s pretty preoccupied with his work, too! But still…)

  4. I agree, Crystal. It’s easy to lose time with technology. I’m glad your husband gives you the little nudge you need, and that you welcome that time together.

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