Facebook: The new marriage killer?
During my work over the last 13 years as a marriage and couple’s therapist, I have certainly run into a wide variety of issues and conflicts that threaten the success of marriages, but nothing can compare to what is now being called the new “marriage killer.”
The plague of Facebook has become such a rampant issue that I decided to do some research on the topic and my findings were shocking.
According to a recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Facebook is now the cause for one in five divorces and 80 percent of divorce lawyers state that social media sites like Facebook are cited as proof of unreasonable behavior or irreconcilable differences in marriages.
An American minister made headlines when he called Facebook a “portal to infidelity” and asked his congregation to delete their accounts after revealing that there were over 20 couples in his church that had been led astray through the site.
I have seen social media and technology be the cause of many conflicts and end more marriages than I’d care to count. These days, technology makes it easy to hide inappropriate relationships, and due to this, many may continue with these relationships far longer then they should.
It is common for casual chats through social media to slowly slip into the inappropriate realm as the excitement of those interactions keep people coming back. Facebook is such a culprit due to its ease of searching out just about anyone, from an old flame, a crush, a co-worker, a past schoolmate or anyone whose picture they happen to like, and just begin an interaction with them. Many of the couples find themselves in these situations without ever planning to be there.
Facebook creates a fantasy life for many people and there is nothing more seductive than the “one that got away” fantasy.
All that being said, I have come to understand that there is more to the problem than just Facebook. I have discovered that the couples who truly understand how damaging technology can be to their relationship are the couples who are able to make choices and decisions that are best for their marital success.
No one likes to compete with inanimate objects for the affections of the one they love. Many couples feel that anything — from video games, computers and cell phones to gaming, entertainment streaming, and the various other websites that are designed to keep our attention — can lead to the demise of their relationship.
The secret to success that I can pass on comes from those couples who are willing to shut down, turn off, disconnect and close accounts when their partner asks them to. The couples who are willing to do this when their partner feels neglected or threatened or just plain “doesn’t like” the competition almost always succeed compared to those who choose to defend their need to hold on to their social media connections, no matter what.
Sacrifice for the sake of your partner is the key to ending the marriage killer!
(Nikki Delaney is a licensed counselor and owner of A New You Counseling in Rio Rancho, which received the Marriage Counselor, Best of Rio Rancho Award in 2015. Nikki is the creator of the “Roommates to Romance” program, which transforms relationships by tailoring counseling to a couple’s specific needs. You can submit “Love Letter” questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or rioranchocouplescounseling.com)
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