Facebook and Divorce

111787230A recent article by Quentin Fottrell* of the Wall Street Journal’s “Market Watch”  discussed the fact that there is a growing body of research linking increased use of Facebook and other social media to marital problems. The most recent addition to this research concludes that increased use of Facebook is “positively correlated” with rising divorce rates.  The study further concludes that a Facebook profile could have a significant statistical relationship with divorce rates and marital satisfaction.

Mr. Fottrell states that previous studies also support the conclusion that there’s a connection between social networking and marital problems. A Facebook spokesman says it’s “ludicrous” to suggest a link between the social network site and divorce.  Despite Facebook’s denial, many of our divorces and custody cases have shown us that people are audaciously indiscreet on Facebook; from the spouse who posts inappropriate photos or tries to hide personal messages, to an interloping boyfriend or girlfriend who claims to be a better parent of someone else’s children.  When behavior like this is discovered-and it usually is-divorce happens.

One theory about why social media may be responsible for divorce says that extramarital affairs might have taken months or even years to develop in the past, but with Facebook and other social networks your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend is just a click away.  All marriages go through rocky patches when spouses don’t particularly like each other, so people seek comfort and support outside the marriage.  New York-based divorce financial strategist Jeff Landers says that with the social network, temptation has never been closer.  “You can easily reconnect with an old boyfriend or girlfriend from college online.  It all starts innocently enough, but the next thing you know you are meeting for coffee and the next thing you know you’re having an affair.”

Another theory of how social media impacts divorce holds that heavy social media users tend to lose interest in their partners.  Abby Rodman, a psychotherapist in Boston, believes that people who bury their head in a computer screen risk paying less attention to the problems in their relationships. “Instead of reading what’s going on with your partner, you’re reading about someone’s dog’s surgery on Facebook. It’s a clear message to your partner that you’re more interested in what’s going on elsewhere rather than what’s in front of you.”

Marriage has never been easy.  The circumstances that bring people together change over the years as the excitement of new love loses out to mundane issues such as whose turn it is to do the dishes or help the children with their homework.  Heavy users of social media tend to be escapists looking for the ideal fantasy they hoped their marriage would be and find others doing the same thing.  When that happens, the effort it takes to sustain a marriage becomes too much work when our real soul mate is waiting online.

Timonere Law Offices can help when divorce seems inevitable.  We offer a free consultation and guidance to people who are concerned that their marriage is falling apart.  Please call us at (440) 576-LAWS and set up an appointment to talk to an attorney who will give you the guidance you need and, if the divorce must be filed, will fight to protect your rights.