Beware! Facebook can break up your marriage!

14 05 2009

Oh, the things people say…

An Oklahoma news station has a recent story about how online social networking sites (case in point: Facebook) can be “hazardous to marriages”:

“We see about 40 percent of the couples coming in, there is a link to Facebook or to MySpace that has caused a breach in their marriage,” said licensed marriage and family therapist Tara Fritsch.

So, out of all possible other reasons why a marriage would fall apart, Facebook or MySpace seem to be a primary culprit.  How so?

The Edmond therapist said most connections start off innocently enough.

“An ex-love, an old flame — there’s a nostalgia there. There’s memory of the simple days or maybe excitement of new romance,” she said.

Your significant other on Facebook is a threat to your relationship.  What if your partner’s Facebook friends are people s/he went to high school, college, or grad school with?  What if your partner realizes from looking at one of their friend’s pictures that so-and-so from way back when is attractive now and decide to ditch you to pursue him/her instead?

Fritsch says that couples should establish guidelines to monitor their use of online social networking sites:

“If it’s not something you want your spouse to know about, don’t do it. Have open communication with your spouse. Share your Facebook or MySpace sites. Have one another’s passwords. Talk regularly about who you are chatting with,” Fritsch said.

Come on now, is this really necessary?  Have each other’s passwords?  Talk regularly about who you are chatting with?  Adults, especially ones in relationships, do not need to  be monitored like they are children.  People are entitled to privacy and if the relationship is founded on trust and open communication then there is no need to be paranoid about whether or not your partner is going to cheat on you with a Facebook friend.  You can’t wall off your partner’s exposure to and communication with other people, you shouldn’t have access to his/her Facebook (just like you shouldn’t have access to his/her email or text messages), and you shouldn’t be policing who your partner communicates with on or off-line.  That’s just ridiculous and controlling.

Of course it’s easier and much more of an oversimplification to blame social networking sites for cheating and failed marriages.  And also, I love how the article seems to put marriage on a pedestal – it’s so crucial that people remain married at all costs, even if their relationship is already on the rocks.  So, if you want to save your relationship (or if it doesn’t quite need saving yet, just make sure it lasts), get rid of your Facebook or Myspace account if you haven’t already!



One response

14 05 2009

Oh man, I’ve seen so many articles and op-eds about Facebook and MySpace ruining relationships because people are discovering that their SOs are cheating “emotionally.”

I’m not claiming that you can’t emotionally cheat on someone. It would be crushing to find that your loved one is messaging his or her high school sweetheart and telling him or her about lingering feelings. But what we see with all this, “BOO FACEBOOK IS BAD” bull is failing to recognize where responsibility lies.

For example, if you find yourself in a serious relationship, and yet you’re still communicating with an old ex and you’re all, “Oh my God, I still love you,” or flirting with other people, maybe you’re having doubts about your current relationship which you need to work through with your partner, or perhaps you’re afraid that by committing, you won’t be able to have fun any more. NEITHER of these things is solved by sharing passwords, or regularly talking about who you chat with. After all, if you think that your SO is going to be upset about something, maybe you won’t tell them anyway.

Oy. This is like when people say Facebook causes cyberstalking, or that Craig’s List causes BU medical students to murder and rob people …

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