Human relationships have been so radically redefined in the past few years with Facebook, Twitter, Smart phones, apps, Android and the like. We have all heard horror stories, but it is a harsh reality that Facebook can destroy your marriage.
Facebook started in 2003, in a college dorm room of a genius programmer. Within months it had gained global renown, and has burgeoned in popularity as well as technical advancement ever since. While Facebook has burned an indelible place into our hearts from a social networking point of view, its role in a marriage is somewhat less defined. Marriage is traditionally an ultimately private contract and union between two people, requiring constant work and commitment. Married couples would agree that the union requires a level of selflessness, that one-on-one communication is key, and that being in a married partnership requires a constant juggling of priorities, of work, of friends and of being together.
Facebook represents the polar opposite in patterns of human connection – firstly it is public, meaning that once “private” married moments and connections are now being broadcast for all and sundry to see. Secondly, it is remote, allowing for pseudo-connections to happen without having to have real or tough face-to-face conversations. Further, it requires very little commitment – if you don’t log on to Facebook for 2 weeks, no one is likely to complain, if they even notice. Stop communicating with your wife for the same amount of time, however, and you might find yourself staring down the business end of divorce papers.
For many people trying to assimilate the long-standing and traditional institution of marriage into this new social networking tool can prove to be difficult, especially in the face of an already shaky marriage. Facebook is being cited more and more in divorce cases, due to the ease of access of the “information” available, that being posts, messages and photos. A UK report recently stated that nearly one in every 5 divorce cases is citing Facebook as a contributing factor and or evidence used in the divorce. (www.mydailynews.com)
A US legal site warns that when divorce becomes an option in your mind, it is best to unfriend your spouse, as:
“what he or she sees on your profile may very well be used against you in court.” (www.mashable.com).
There is a multitude of ways in which Facebook can destroy your marriage, but the most popular, yet commonly made mistakes are:
- Claiming to be “away on business”, after which posts, comments or pictures appear implicating one partner in an affair or steamy weekend away
- Claiming not to be able to look after your children, then posting pictures of you on a weekend away or partying it up at a club
- Making defamatory remarks about one’s partner on Facebook – these can prove to be especially damaging in a court of law
- Finding out certain things about one’s partner via Facebook which may not necessarily be in breach of a marriage contract, but which may have been deliberately concealed to the partner in question
- One partner having inappropriate chats and wall conversations with people they should not be having such conversations with
Despite Facebook’s ever evolving security and privacy protocols, the social network remains ultimately easily traceable, and leaving any trace of anything deemed inappropriate within the confines of a marriage can end in dire consequences. There are many ways Facebook can destroy a marriage – if you are married and looking to keep it that way, exercise extreme caution in what you are sharing with the world, your best friend or your secretary via the social networking platform. The sad fact is that this medium is all too accessible and easy to utilise in divorce cases – the best approach is not to provide any ammunition to this effect in the first place.