The rise in popularity of various forms of social media is sometimes blamed for the destruction of marriages these days. The popularity of sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter are easy targets when determining the catalyst of and assigning blame in a divorce. Also, the advent of texting and smartphones has made it easier than ever to reconnect with an ex. However, marriage counselors will often say that people cause legal separation and divorce, not technology.
It happens every day. You get the message: “John Doe wants to be friends on Facebook.” Innocent, right? In many cases this is true. Social media can be a great form of entertainment and an efficient means of keeping in touch with friends. Sometimes a simple online friendship turns from innocent to intimate at an accelerated rate. In a recent interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Marriage Therapist Tara Fritsch claims that online relationships can be accelerated two to three times as fast as in-person courting, as the lack of face to face interaction reduces inhibitions and allows people to open up emotionally on a greater level sooner in the relationship.
Why is this important to marriage and divorce? The NPR report sheds light on the fact that having the opportunity to be unfaithful is a key factor in predicting infidelity. The multitude of methods available to inconspicuously and immediately connect with others online fosters an environment amenable to cheating on a spouse.
In part two of this two-part series, we plan to discuss in further detail the views of Marriage Therapist Fritsch as well as how social media and technology has not only fostered an environment of infidelity but also decreased the timeframe for communication to grow from the level of minor flirtation to intimate affair.
Source: NPR “Can Social Media Break Up A Marriage?” by Jennifer Ludden 11/2/10