blame game

Facebook Is Ruining Heterosexual Marriage

Powered by article was written by Richard Adams in Washington, for The Guardian on Tuesday 8th March 2011 19.26 UTC

When Facebook gets involved, relationships can quickly fall apart – as Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi have discovered. But dictatorships are not the only ties being dissolved by social networking sites: now Facebook is increasingly being blamed for undermining American marriages.

Even though the rate of divorce in the US has remained largely stable in recent years, American divorce lawyers and academics have joined Middle East analysts in picking out Facebook as a leading cause of relationship trouble, with American lawyers now demanding to see their clients’ Facebook pages as a matter of course before the start of proceedings.

“We’re coming across it more and more. One spouse connects online with someone they knew from school. The person is emotionally available and they start communicating through Facebook,” said Dr Steven Kimmons, a clinical psychologist and marriage counsellor at Loyola University Medical Centre near Chicago.

Yet while the US media has been quick to trumpet any evidence of Facebook as the country’s leading marriage-wrecker, the truth is “It’s complicated,” as the site’s relationship status would have it.

A recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) found that four out of five lawyers reported an increasing number of divorce cases citing evidence derived from social networking sites in the past five years, with Facebook being the market leader.

Two-thirds of the lawyers surveyed said that Facebook was the “primary source” of evidence in divorce proceedings, while MySpace with 14% and Twitter with 5% lagged far behind.

Those statistics included not just evidence of infidelity but other legal battles, such as child custody cases in which parents deny using illicit drugs but boast of smoking marijuana on their Facebook pages.

Photographs harvested from social networking sites – including those posted by friends or colleagues on their own pages – are a particularly rich source of damning evidence, according to divorce lawyers.

“This sort of evidence has gone from nothing to a large percentage of my cases coming in,” Linda Lea Vicken, a member of the divorce lawyers’ group from South Dakota, told Associated Press.

Marlene Eskind Moses, president of the AAML, said the openness and sharing of social networking sites left their users’ public and private lives more exposed.

“If you publicly post any contradictions to previously made statements and promises, an estranged spouse will certainly be one of the first people to notice and make use of that evidence,” said Moses.

Statistics for January from online analysts Nielsen showed 135 million people in the US visiting Facebook during the month – nearly 70% of the country’s internet users. On average, users spent more than seven hours a month visiting the site, far longer than the less than half an hour spent on visits to Amazon or the average of two hours and 15 minutes on Google, America’s most popular web destination.

The overall rate of divorce, however, appears to be unaffected by the advent of social media. The most recent published data – from 2009 – shows the overall divorce rate declining, slightly more slowly than the shrinking percentage of Americans who get married every year.

It is little wonder that negotiating “Facebook divorce” status updates has become another unhappy event for failed romances, over when to launch the site’s infamous broken-heart icon out into the glare of the world’s news feed. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

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  • Mike in Asheville

    Well, Internet dating sites are claiming how many of their users are finding their spouses on-line too. Both Match and E-Harmony each claim that 10% (20% total for just these 2 sites) of new marriages are among their users.

    Gee, how do I get rid of my very old, 10 years old, postings on M4M?

  • Rusty Redfield

    So what they’re really saying is, DISHONESTY is undermining marriages. Duh. Blaming it on Facebook is like blaming public transit because your kid runs away from home.

  • Jim Hlavac

    What did Henry VIII use to get his divorces? Ye Olde Facebooke? Geez, these people grasp at straws.

  • Mark from Queensland

    Hey Maggie! You need to get on this honey – get NOM all revved up over this since you’re sooooo concerned about the sanctity of marriage!

  • Shannon1981

    It isn’t Facebook or Myspace or twitter or anything else, where do people get these idiotic ideas? It is PEOPLE, and their inability to be sucked in by the false security of the anonymity of hiding behind a computer screen, typing, creating fantasy to fulfill the void in their lives, and, furthermore, their inability to get off the fucking computer and fix what is wrong in their REAL marriage. Most of those divorces would have happened anyway. Social networking just expedited the process.

  • Shannon1981

    oops inability to NOT be sucked in…need an edit key Queerty!

  • Jeffree

    In custody battles, Facebook can be damñing in keeping one parent away from a son/daughter because they’re “unfit” —or seen to be that way due to substance use, alternative LOL lifestyles or other probs. But that doesn’t seem to makle the divorce rate go up, it just makes the procedings nastier.

    I would’ve thought that craigslist or okcúpid. Etc., would be worth studying so, because there are lotsa married people there looking for sumthin’ on the side….

  • Francis

    No, marriage is ruining marriage. And the only reason the divorce rate has gone down slightly is due to financial reasons. Marriage is pretty much a failed institution, facebook or no facebook.

  • Oprah

    and we should care because?

  • Seandee

    People seem to miss the whole point of sites like facebook. It is a SOCIAL networking site. It is a public forum that anyone and everyone has access to. The lack of etiquette in modern times is amazing. Don’t use facebook to discuss business. Don’t use facebook to start a “secret” relationship. Don’t use facebook for anything you wouldn’t want headlining the 6 o’clock news.
    And how is that DOMA sanctity of marriage thing going down there in the US?

  • damon459

    Might as well blame bars, dance halls, the “gays” and while your at it blame obama. LOL stupid breeders. Marriage is a partnership if requires to people who trust each other enough to not have secrets and if you can’t handle that don’t get married. Heterosexuals keep blaming everyone but themselves in their failed marriages and yet it’s nobodies fault but their own.

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