A new study shows that our favorite addiction -- um, I mean social networking site -- officially contributes to one in three divorces. Which means you probably know at least one couple whose relationship demise has played out publicly on the Internet. And is now indexed for all of eternity.
But it's not like I didn't see this coming. To all 200-something of my personal Facebook friends, I say this with love: Facebook is not your diary; please stop airing your grievances on it. Honestly, I cringe sometimes. Status updates along the lines of "I need to get out of the house or else someone is going to make me snap!!" make us all a little uncomfortable.
This particular study, conducted by Divorce Online (I wonder if they have an agenda?), says that couples who've already separated are the worst offenders, posting nasty public comments about each other. The other two Facebook-related complaints cited were "inappropriate messages to members of the opposite sex" and "friends reporting on a spouse's bad behavior." My reaction to all of this? Yeah, sounds about right.
I've blogged a lot about the way that technology has wormed its way into my own marriage. In fact, my BlackBerry alone was something Jack and I used to argue about regularly (I'm proud to say that I'm paying less attention to it and more attention to him these days). But when it comes to the ability to flat-out devastate relationships, nothing compares to the Pandora's box that is social networking. Neither one of us is terribly sucked in by these sites, but it seems like Jack and I hear horror stories daily. Whether it's my single girlfriends who use it to cyber-stalk exes (or, more often, the guy that said he'd call but totally ghosted), or my married girlfriends who use it to reconnect with (and then moon over) their exes -- it's an emotional trapdoor that many a smart person has fallen through.
At the end of the day, it's a chicken-and-egg argument. I don't really think Facebook can cause a divorce, but I believe it can speed one up -- or make one uglier. I'm sure Facebook has given many an unhappy spouse the means to escape reality and indulge in bad behavior. But we all know that would've happened eventually, one way or the other. So what's the solution to keeping marriages intact -- and preventing divorces from getting ugly -- in the age of social media? Have you ever felt like Facebook was getting in the way of your relationship?