This week I learned a startling statistic about Facebook. According to a British newspaper, Facebook is “being blamed for an increasing number of marital breakdowns.”
The article goes on to explain that social networking websites create a greater source of temptation to cheat. Consider the following excerpt:
Mark Keenan, Managing Director of Divorce-Online said: “I had heard from my staff that there were a lot of people saying they had found out things about their partners on Facebook and I decided to see how prevalent it was I was really surprised to see 20 per cent of all the petitions containing references to Facebook.
“The most common reason seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to.”
Flirty emails and messages found on Facebook pages are increasingly being cited as evidence of unreasonable behaviour.
Although the above statistic has not been tested here in the States, I would not be surprised if the numbers were similar.
This information was a huge wake-up call for me. In fact, as soon as I heard it I called my husband and wanted to talk about it. We both have Facebook accounts, and we enjoy using it as a source for connecting with people, seeing pictures of happy milestones, etc. but I certainly do not value those things more than the health of my marriage.
After talking through it for awhile, we decided not to pull the plug just yet but we have set up some strict boundaries on how we use Facebook. If you are married and have not had this conversation with your spouse, I encourage you to do so. The temptation to check in on ex-boyfriends or former/current crushes is very great, and while the motives may initially be innocent, you have already crossed a line in doing so.
Facebook can be a good thing but it can also be abused, so do not become complacent. I hope the above statistics grabbed your attention the way they grabbed mine. I don’t want to be legalistic but I do want to be wise, and Facebook is certainly no exception.
If you and your spouse have set up some helpful boundaries for Facebook, or have decided to get off Facebook altogether, please feel free to share your thoughts here! I have no doubt other couples will benefit from your insights.