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Social Media Divorce: Facebook [Dis]Connecting Couples


Social networking giant, Facebook, has been shown to be the biggest home wrecker since Marilyn Monroe in a recent United Kingdom study. In Divorce Online’s survey of 5,000 people, 33% of the divorces cited Facebook to be a contributing factor. A similar survey in 2009 recorded only 20% of divorces citing Facebook or social networking websites as a cause for divorce.

Online networking websites are influencing divorces more and more, and here is why: With one fell click, wandering eyes can turn into flirty instant messaging and more. New friends, and lovers, can be collected by the hundreds in a matter of minutes. The most common cause cited in Facebook-induced divorce was inappropriate messaging with someone of the opposite sex. As it turns out, the most wonderful aspect of social media is turning out to be too much to resist for couples.

However, on a more basic level, Facebook and social media have been shown to apply new stresses to relationships. Jealousy is an age-old vice, but with constant input over significant other’s statuses, check-ins, new friends, and conversations, it’s difficult to put that nagging suspicion to rest. The two most common stresses on relationships due to social media are sharing too much personal information on profiles, and the tagging of ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends in photos. Another root of the social media wedge between modern couples leading to more filing for divorce is the ease one can discover information about a person’s past. But people unsuspecting of their double-timing spouse can sometimes come across heartbreaking discoveries on social media sites, too.

The O’Neils, a Tacoma, Washington couple, found themselves in a news flurry when Mrs. O’Neil found her husband’s second wife in the “People You Might Know” column on Facebook. In March 2012, the first Mrs. O’Neil reported her husband to the police. Mr. O’Neil was then charged with a gross misdemeanor (no pun intended) for bigamy. According to Mr. O ‘Neil, he filed for divorce from the first Mrs. O’Neil and left the paperwork with a neighbor to file, who forgot to do so.

More and more, Facebook and other social media platforms have been shown to still cause problems for couples even after divorce. Ex-spouses are known to vent their frustrations and anger over Facebook statuses or Twitters. In 2012, 20% of Twitter users petitioned courts with behavior allegations against spouses or ex-spouses for publishing insensitive or snide material about them online.

Social media sights were implemented and touted as great pathways for communication and keeping family, friends, and significant other’s closer. So far this is proving true: Facebook is allowing communication to go both ways, both the good and bad communication. Yet it’s also allowing the ugly to come along for the ride. And on a side note, we should not be surprised that with more use of social media interaction and the convenience on the internet, more people are filing their divorce forms online.

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One comment on “Social Media Divorce: Facebook [Dis]Connecting Couples

  1. As great a facebook is… it is interesting to see that a lot of divorces start because of this site. I think that if we would sit down and open everything up to our spouses that would work out better in the end.

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