Recently, I’ve heard a lot of debate on the radio, in magazines, and even from friends about whether or not Facebook plays a role in the demise of relationships, specifically marriages. I’m sure many of you heard the story about the Pastor who told his married staff: “Get off Facebook, or you’re fired!” Somewhat extreme, but clearly this is a hot topic these days.
According to a recent survey of lawyers (take this for what it’s worth as my source is OK Magazine), one in every five US divorces cites Facebook as a factor in the breakup. Certainly that’s significant, so let’s dive deeper.
There are likely two clear sides to this argument, and as usual, I find myself in the middle. On the one hand, Facebook makes it very easy to connect with old flames, potential new ones, and certainly makes it effortless to flirt and communicate freely. On the other hand, if someone will stray or cheat, he/she could have done that (and did) in a variety of ways in the past, pre-Facebook (it’s as if we’ve gone from BC and AD to BF (before Facebook) and AF (after Facebook). They simply had to try a little harder. It seems that Facebook makes the temptation stronger as it’s easier to fall into accepting an innocent friend request, which turns into wall posting flirtation, which turns into private messages, and perhaps into secret rendezous’. Or, none of those things happen, and it’s a simple friend request like one of the other several hundred you have.
Even in non-marriage relationships, I know this can be a problem, but admittedly, it boils down to trust. In a previous relationship of my own, my boyfriend would come home late from work, go to the computer, get on Facebook, and friend females he met at work or elsewhere, leaving me to wonder who they were and if I had anything to worry about. Doesn’t surprise me that that relationship ended because of a breaking of trust, but you get the idea. FB can certainly sew the seeds of jealousy for one party, as well as temptation and perhaps disloyalty on the part of the other. Am I advocating that everyone signs off FB when they’re in a committed relationship? Certainly not. But, I think it’s something we’re all having to experience and learn for ourselves in a such a virtual and connected world.