You've seen the headlines: "One third of UK divorces reference Facebook." While we have some concerns about that statistic (see our popular article "Debunking the One-in-Five Divorces Due to Facebook Stat"), many marriages are indeed vulnerable because of what one or both spouses are doing on Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg's Marriage: Destined For Glory Or Doom?
Many people dismiss the "Facebook threat" with trite statements like, "what happens on Facebook should stay on Facebook," "if people want to cheat, they'll find a way to cheat," or our favorite, "marriages hurt by Facebook had relationship problems to begin with." We've observed and studied the phenomenon of how relationships are impacted by people's online habits for the last four years. Yet, there is something different about Facebook, and a lot of people are clueless that their own marriage is in jeopardy.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, we were quoted saying:
Affairs happen with a lightning speed on Facebook ... In the real world, office romances and out-of-town trysts can take months or even years to develop. On Facebook, they happen in just a few clicks. The social network [Facebook] is different from most social networks or dating sites in that it both re-connects old flames and allows people to 'friend' someone they may only met once in passing. It puts temptation in the path of people who would never in a million years risk having an affair.
People feel bolder behind a screen than in person; most think there is a disconnect between their online activities and their real world life. People type and press 'Send' faster than common sense can kick in, rather than rationally thinking about what they're doing. All of this is a recipe for disaster, and it happens at quantum speed on Facebook. 5 Ways Facebook Can Help Mark Zuckerberg Keep His Marriage Strong
Based on all our work in this field, here are the top eight ways Facebooking spouses wreck their marriages:
1. Traipsing down memory lane with an ex-flame. Finding an old crush, hook-up, or boyfriend/girlfriend on Facebook is really easy. Reaching out to a past love interest and reminiscing about the "good 'ol times" recalls the feelings for one or both of the people. The longer the jaunt down memory lane, the better the chances are that an emotional or physical affair will occur.
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