Does the Internet Promote or Damage Marriage?
A recent study shows as many as one in five divorce filings cite problems on Facebook or other social networking websites. In Rochester, marriage counselors are sending a warning to even happily married couples: Facebook affairs are threatening healthy couples, too.
"I have suggested to myself to write a thank you note to the inventors of Facebook and Myspace because they have been responsible for a significant percentage of my income," says marriage counselor Dr. Dennis Boike. He's not kidding. "I'm having people say I never would have expected me to do this. I've turned down opportunities galore. But to see this seductive part of it is that no one else sees it. It's in the privacy of my computer. I'm not going out anywhere, I'm not dressing for it, I'm not smelling of another's perfume. There are no tell-tale signs except my computer record."
Maybe they should change the marriage vows to include, "until Facebook do us part."
Facebook and other social networking sites can certainly connect you with long-lost friends.
But a new study suggests Facebook can also help disconnect you from your better half.
The site, which boasts more than 350 million active users, is mentioned by name in almost 20% of divorce petitions, according to Divorce-Online.
Prominent Houston divorce attorney Bucky Allshouse can understand why.
"It's really kind of shocking what people put on Facebook," says Allshouse.
Perhaps it's not so shocking that the social networking site can essentially pour kerosene on "old flames."
The mania, or initial chemistry, isn't fun ... it's worrisome, sending all kinds of red flags. Instead of thinking [with a same-sex friendship], "This is kind of cute. I'm so excited because I have a new friend!" ... you are fretting: "Yikes. Why am I so excited to get an email from him? This is wrong to feel excited, right? I have a good marriage. Why am I feeling this way?"