Social media a factor in many divorces

More and more couples are blaming texting and social media sites for infidelity leading to divorce.

In a recent NPR article, “Can Social Media Break Up A Marriage?,” a sociologist and marriage therapist said yes, social media and texting can lead to connecting with new and old flings, which can lead to divorce.

According to sources, in one such case, a man and his wife both added text messaging to his and her cell phone plans. And even after his friends mentioned his wife texting all the time, he thought nothing of it because he trusted her. Turns out, maybe he shouldn’t have as his then-wife was texting back and forth with a colleague she was having an affair with. He didn’t realize it until numerous phone bills came in a number of text messages to one number: his wife’s colleague. The couple’s marriage ended in divorce, it was the affair that broke up the marriage.

In some cases, the opportunity to cheat is also enhanced by social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, yet it is still not to blame. Tara Frisch, a marriage therapist, said social media and texting increases the opportunity to cheat since it’s easy to find past flings and chat back-and-forth, yet it is not literally the actual cell phone or the Web site’s fault a person cheated, it’s the spouse who folded to the increased opportunity and temptation to do so.

In another case reported on WTVM, a marriage ended after one spouse caught the other sending messages back and forth with an ex on Facebook. The messages were not just friendly in nature, but described recent hook-ups and shared feelings, which led to a divorce. Those e-mails that were sent were also used in court as proof of the infidelities.

When looking for an answer as to why people are using social media as a tool to cheat, sociology professor Bob Rosenwein from Lehigh University said people will develop feelings for each other much quicker if the communication between the two is non-verbal, like through e-mails and messaging. The reason behind this, he claims, is because people have fewer inhibitions and are not as strict about what he or she will share when it’s simply typing. This means, the relationship may feel stronger and more intimate because more information is being shared.

Source: WTVM, “The internet busted up my marriage: A WAFF 49 News special report,” Elizabeth Gentle, 5 Nov 2010

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