Facebook Or Twitter -Did It Breakdown Your Marriage?
In the days before the Internet, having a penfriend in a different town or country – or meeting people on holiday – were some of the options for getting to know new friends. Now however, thanks to social networking, people can make new friends without even stirring from their sofa or desk.
Social media websites have been cited as responsible for triggering revolutions and riots, but divorce lawyers are also seeing an increase in broken marriages as the result of one partner meeting someone else online.
Time spent chatting online to people your other half does not know about – let alone know – can often be pinpointed as the start of a marriage breakdown.
Just spending a few hours with new people or friends online can make partners feel neglected or left out.
Although a bit of online flirting and suggestive chat might seem little more than an ego boost, the freedom engendered by being able to meet new people online and in private can make marriage seem restrictive.
Online social networking is, however, a virtual world and the person you are connecting with online might not be the person you think they are. The fun of online relationships is that they are free from everyday stresses like paying bills, washing up, childcare and squeezing the toothpaste in the middle.
Only the good parts of a relationship are on offer, with looks, compatibility, and reality pushed to one side as you chat away about everything under the sun in an anonymous bubble, which allows you to create an idealised vision of what your online “soulmate” is like.
Many people have actually met their partners online – but many marriages have also been wrecked by one partner suddenly deciding that they want to spend the rest of their life with the person at the other end of their internet connection, and not their husband or wife.
In 2011, Facebook was blamed for the breakdown of between one-third and one-fifth of marriages, based on the number of times the social media site was mentioned in divorce applications.
The divorce rate has remained at a steady 50%, and as yet there is no telling the age, social background or culture of those involved in failed marriages as a result of Facebook.
It may be that Facebook is now becoming the main way people meet their next long-term partner, especially as people on the site are likely to connect as friends as the result of shared interest or mutual friends – or simply as the result of an attraction to someone’s photo, just like real life.
Many people dispute the fact that Facebook may be splitting up happy homes – people who are unfaithful by nature will always be unfaithful, they claim.
But social media like Facebook has now opened up opportunities to meet new partners at a global level – meaning the hopeless romantics and the unfaithful have a whole new world to explore.
Your partner is probably just as likely to meet someone new over the photocopier as on a social media site – but whereas romance over a photocopier may soon blossom or fade, online romances tend to hang suspended in a fantasy world fuelled by secrecy and longing, especially if one or both parties involved are married to other people.
So if your partner is spending hours on social media sites and won’t let you in on what they are up to, how worried should you be?
Many abandoned partners never suspected that their other half was chatting to an interesting stranger online instead of uploading their own holiday snaps, so any excessive secrecy, long online sessions at the same time every day – or an online habit which leaves them aloof but unusually upbeat at the end of a social networking session should perhaps be the subject of further enquiry.
And if they suddenly book a weekend away without you – or a trip to another town by themselves and are sketchy about the details, don’t assume it is a special anniversary surprise they are planning for you.
Being suspicious and possessive can also marr relationships – but a little gentle questioning about an online habit or sudden weekend away without you might just save your marriage.
There are so many things that can cause a relationship to go sour, so be aware of your social presence to avoid having to visit a divorce solicitor.