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Facebook Linked To One In Five Divorces In US 292

Posted by samzenpus
from the sanctity-of-a-friend-request dept.
An anonymous reader writes "yes, in theory if you're single, Facebook can help you meet that special someone. But for those in even the healthiest of marriages, improper use can quickly devolve into a marital disaster. A recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that Facebook is cited in one in five divorces in the United States. Also, more than 80 percent of divorce lawyers reported a rising number of people are using social media to engage in extramarital affairs."

*

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Facebook Linked To One In Five Divorces In US

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @12:07PM (#35348538)

    Saying that divorces are linked to Facebook is like saying car purchases are linked to internet usage.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      120% of studies that are designed to be misleading end up with 250% bogus numbers.

      • by jhoegl (638955)
        Statistics can be used to prove anything Kent, 15% of all people know that - Homer Simpson.
    • by sorak (246725) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @01:57PM (#35349852)

      A better analogy is that divorces are linked to facebook in the same way divorces are linked to the telephone, or to strip clubs.

  • by dmomo (256005) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @12:10PM (#35348558) Homepage

    This is a common way for people to communicate. Facebook is going to be "linked to" everything as long as this is a fact.

    In other news:
    Facebook is linked to 50% of parties. Facebook is linked to 80% of weddings. Facebook is linked to 100% of political. Facebook is linked to 65% of friendships. Facebook is linked to 90% of people liking stuff.

  • And this is news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timholman (71886) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @12:10PM (#35348572)

    I'd be willing to bet that the use of the telephone (one of the greatest social inventions of all time) is linked to just about 100% of all divorces, as well.

    What is it with everyone trying to blame Facebook and Craigslist for all the ills of the world? They are tools, and nothing more. But they are new, and so I guess that makes them suspicious, doesn't it?

    • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @12:29PM (#35348792) Homepage

      What is it with everyone trying to blame Facebook and Craigslist for all the ills of the world? They are tools, and nothing more. But they are new, and so I guess that makes them suspicious, doesn't it?

      I'd have thought people interested in technology would be interested in examining how that technology interacts in the real world. I mean, you don't find it interesting that social media is so widely implicated and in what that implies for it's impact on society and the changes as the wired generation reaches adulthood? The positive effects of social media on the current Jasmine Revolution(s) are widely examined and praised here on Slashdot, one would think that the negative effects would be equally interesting.

      • Things are only interesting as long as they're surprising.

        “Look at the population of the people who are your online friends,” Kimmons said. “Is it a good mixture of men and women? Do you spend more time talking to females versus males or do you favor a certain type of friend over another? That can tell you something about how you’re using social networks. You may not even be aware that you’re heading down a road that can get quickly get pretty dangerous, pretty fast to your marriage.”

        Another safeguard is to spell out from the beginning with your online contacts what your expectations are of social networking relationships. Also, it’s a good idea to not engage in intimate conversation with someone who is not your spouse.

        “If you’re doing this at 2 o’clock in the morning with no one watching because you don’t want anyone else to know about it, that should be a signal to you that this is something approaching a boundary line or you’re at least moving in that direction,” Kimmons said.

        Do they really think they have to spell this stuff out to people? The only way relationships can get "dangerous" to your marriage is if you let them, whether online or not.

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          Agreed. "It just happened" is the biggest cop out for cheating out there. It NEVER "just happens".
        • by SpecBear (769433)

          Do they really think they have to spell this stuff out to people? The only way relationships can get "dangerous" to your marriage is if you let them, whether online or not.

          Yes, and no. Yes, in that there are a whole lot of people out there that who really believe that such things "just happen". No, in that the people who need to be told that there's a broad danger zone that you have to travel through before you cross the line into cheating are also the people who are least likely to listen.

          You're absolutely correct in that relationships can only get dangerous if you let them. I've seen this far too many times. I tried to counsel a friend who was able to rationalize all

    • by JSBiff (87824)

      "What is it with everyone trying to blame Facebook and Craigslist for all the ills of the world? They are tools, and nothing more."

      I concur, people trying to blame websites for their failed marriages really are tools, and nothing more. Oh, wait. . . you were talking about the websites. . .

      Ambiguous pronouns are SO much FUN. . .

    • What is it with everyone trying to blame Facebook and Craigslist for all the ills of the world? They are tools, and nothing more.

      Because the alternative is to admit that the real moral culpability is with the user of said tool and our society can't stand the idea of actually being "judgmental" toward someone who actually cheats on their spouse. Even that is asking too much since many Americans now stridently denounce you for being "judgmental" for even saying that you have to be a pile of dog $H%& as a

      • by cayenne8 (626475)

        "and then wonders why many men are turning to pickup artists and douchebaggery instead of emulating Ward Cleaver..."

        Because acting that way seems to vastly improve your chances of getting laid?

    • A set of eyes large enough to roll at this story and anyone who's blaming Facebook for the dissolution of their marriage doesn't exist.

    • by ScentCone (795499)

      What is it with everyone trying to blame Facebook and Craigslist for all the ills of the world? They are tools, and nothing more.

      It's the same disengenuous strategy that makes them blame baseball bats, knives, guns, or cars for murder. Lots of people like to avoid standing in judgement of another person's choices and actions, because that means they have to sort through their value system, deal with philosophical contradictions, face down their own hypocrisies, and all of that other annoying stuff that requires a dash of intellectual honesty and integrity. It's so so much simpler to blame the tools. And, of course, it increases the

  • by KublaiKhan (522918) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @12:11PM (#35348576) Homepage Journal
    I'm fairly sure there were stories like this going around when email became popular, and people started using it to, y'know, communicate with each other.

    Before that, cellphones--telephones--hell, I bet even the telegraph was implicated in adultery.

    (WHAT.ARE.YOU.WEARING.STOP
    SIX.SKIRTS.HOOPS.CRINOLINE.BUSTLE.CHEMISE.HAT.STOP
    NO.GLOVES.YOU.NAUGHTY.WENCH.STOP)

    And back before that, it was letters.

    Anything people have ever used to communicate has been implicated in adultery, because that's sort of how to set up a liason, ain't it?
    • It's little known that many of the walls of hieroglyphs in Egyptian ruins are just smutty notes people left one another. They were pretty much the Craigslist "adult services" section of their day.

      This, for example: http://humanpast.net/images/hieroglyphics.jpg [humanpast.net]

      Translates to "For a hot time contact Lusty Isis in the main market square, next to jewelry vendor. 300 papyrus scrolls for complete experience. 50 scrolls extra for Anubis costume."

      • by corbettw (214229)

        You've got your translations mixed up. That's an ad for a new work-at-home business plan, and it only takes 300 scrolls to start.

        It actually looks promising, I'm gonna go see if it's still available.

    • by sorak (246725)

      And all sexting sounded non-consensual.

  • by dmomo (256005) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @12:11PM (#35348578) Homepage

    [thumbs up icon]

  • by adonoman (624929) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @12:12PM (#35348588)
    If you're in one of the "healthiest of marriages", you're not going to be doing anything on facebook or elsewhere that's going to jeopardize your marriage. I'm not going to be an asshole in person, or online. If you think that something is OK online, but not in real life, then you've got problems.
    • by Anonymous Monkey (795756) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @12:38PM (#35348868)
      It's not quite that simple. Adults tend to become attached to the person of the opposite sex that they spend the most time with. Before facebook and e-mail it was fairly obvious to see who you were spending time with. Now we have tools that make it unnecessary to be physically with some one to feel like you are with them. This can be deceptive for everyone involved. It starts with "I'm not cheating on my wife, I'm must checking an old girlfriends facebook page." But ends up with more personal conversations being had over facebook than in real life with your wife. And it's more deceptive than letters, because if you are writing letters you must get out paper, a pen, an envelope and a stamp, sit down and write, making it obvious how much time you are investing. However, for many people facebook is only as far away as alt-tab, so the amount of time you spend on it isn't as obvious.
      • by maxume (22995)

        It still seems fairly simple, the Facebook just happens to make the infidelity a little easier.

        (You seem to be saying that the Facebook activity seems harmless at first and then the person doing it ends up somewhere they didn't see themselves going; that's probably true, but I think the fact that they let it happen probably says more about how ready they were to get married than it says about Facebook)

      • Aaaaannnnd...I'm calling bullshit.

        It's dead simple. There is a huge leap between looking at a facebook page of old girlfriends and moving on versus opening your heart up to someone behind your wife's back. A good rule of thumb is that if you can't admit something to your spouse, you're probably doing something that isn't healthy for your relationship. It's not the length of time you spend writing or chatting, it's the context and the circumstances.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          "There is a huge leap between looking at a facebook page of old girlfriends and moving on versus opening your heart up to someone behind your wife's back. "

          true, but BOTH cause divorce.

          And the more time you spend with someone, the more attached you become to them.

          " good rule of thumb is that if you can't admit something to your spouse, you're probably doing something that isn't healthy for your relationship."

          No, not really, its hugely more complex then that. So do you mean "can't" as in I will get into trou

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        I don't know if you are correct about being attracted to people you are around or not. You are correct about communications with ex's. On of my ex's contacted me when my mother died. My mother helped her out a lot with financial stuff when her father died 10 years ago. She sent me a very heart felt message and then told me about all the issues she was having in her life.
        I really felt bad for her. But knowing her I also knew that she could get the wrong idea if I spent too much time consoling her. Part of

    • I believe Penny Arcade [penny-arcade.com] said it correctly. Anonymity + Audience.

      In this case, people are getting hit with the reality that they aren't really that anonymous (or private) on the internet.

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @12:12PM (#35348592)

    Facebook Linked To One In Five Divorces In US

    And how many are linked to cars (*), another tool used by those who have decided to be unfaithful?

    Yet another time for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation [wikipedia.org].

    (*) Hey, dumb stories demand a car analogy. :-)

    • by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @12:47PM (#35349012)

      My wife signed up to facebook breifly, "friended" a few friends and family, and within a day or two had old boyfriends and male acquaintances trying to get in touch with her to chat etc... it was vaguely unsettling really. I'm sure some were happily adjusted in their own lives and were just interested in catching up... but it was pretty clear some of them were looking to hook up.

      Its pretty easy to see how that can get out of hand.

      It even seems to be a likely outcome of joining facebook from what I've seen.

      And to rebutt your car analogy -- nothing like that happens you buy a new car. I'll concede that cars are also tools that are used by the unfaithful, but the car doesn't have all your exboyfriends in the backseat when you buy it.

      • by perpenso (1613749)

        ... and within a day or two had old boyfriends and male acquaintances trying to get in touch with her to chat etc... it was vaguely unsettling really. I'm sure some were happily adjusted in their own lives and were just interested in catching up... but it was pretty clear some of them were looking to hook up ...

        I guess my point is that such contact does not create the urge to cheat. It merely facilitates an existing urge. So I'm still leaning towards facebook, like a car, just being a tool that facilitates cheating.

    • by sorak (246725)

      Another way to read this:

      20% of men dumb enough to cheat via facebook.

  • by NevarMore (248971) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @12:16PM (#35348632) Homepage Journal

    I thought it was the homosexuals that were a threat to my marriage? You can't possibly get me to accept that now its the Internet and the Facebook that are the real barrier to matrimonial bliss.

    Lets be honest, the usual cause of most divorces is the two people in the marriage.

  • Outside influences (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morcego (260031) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @12:18PM (#35348666)

    Shouldn't people at some point stop blaming outside influences for their own failings ?

    I'm happily married. I'm a hardcore gamer, who spend a lot of time online. My wife hates computer games. We make it work fine.
    My daughter owns a notebook, spends a lot of time online. I don't have any kind of "network nanny" on her computer. So far, she hasn't committed mass murder in her school.

    Go be a husband/wife and a parent. Stop blaming outside influences, computers, games, TV etc for your own failings. Own up to it.

    Facebook don't force people to commit adultery. Videogames don't brainwash kids to murder other people. Deal with it.

    • My daughter owns a notebook, spends a lot of time online. I don't have any kind of "network nanny" on her computer. So far, she hasn't committed mass murder in her school.

      No, but she has been instrumental in toppling several African governments this month. The consequences will never be the same.

    • by migla (1099771)

      >>Facebook don't force people to commit adultery.

      True that. But it sure can probably present the opportunity for someone who's a potential cheater, without which they might have just been married happ... well, ever after, at least.

      Not being in contact with other people through facebook or whatever could be likened to security through obscurity, which is *not* the way to go with computers or with relationships.

  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @12:20PM (#35348700)
    Do you wish to install?
    [Yes] [No]

    .
  • We hate social services that require having friends. We love arguing about correlation and causation. Slashdot serves ads.

  • I'm too smart to ever have a Facebook account, and my wife is too stupid to set up a Facebook account without assistance...
    • my wife is too stupid

      Uh.. yeah. This makes me wonder how many divorces have been instigated by Slashdot posts..

      • It's not so much Slashdot itself; more like people who describe themselves as "nerd" not only have bad personalities, but a loathing of women.

      • by Locke2005 (849178)
        I'm pretty certain she doesn't read slashdot...

        Also, dude, it's a joke! Did Henny Youngman's wife file for divorce when he said, "Take my wife... please!"? Did Rodney Dangerfield's wife file when he said, "I haven't spoken to my wife in years. I didn't want to interrupt her!"?
      • by corbettw (214229)

        Well, one was started with one...

  • At first I thought it was basically saying that 20% of all facebook users get a divorce and facebook was the culprit. Now I realize its saying that out of all the divorces, 20% of them claim its due to a connection they made with someone on facebook. I would like to know what percentage these 20% contribute to the entire demographic of married couples on facebook (if both spouses on facebook count as 1). That would give a better perspective on how much an impact facebook has IMO. Whatever the results, I wou
  • In other news, lawyers are linked to 100% of divorces.

    In a controversial finding, "Cow Clicker" was directly implicated in 87% of the divorces in the more rural states, and "why can't mah lazy bum hubby git out dere make a billion like that jew kid?" was cited in over 62% of divorces involving blood relatives.

    • by corbettw (214229)

      In other news, lawyers are linked to 100% of divorces.

      Not true, unless you count the judge who signs off on the divorce. My current wife and her ex-husband (or as she likes to say, her "first ex-husband") got a divorce without having any lawyers involved. Of course, they were both civil adults about the whole thing, and really a model for how to get a divorce. As opposed to my ex-wife and myself, who fought over everything and helped several lawyers pay off their cars early.

  • So what they're saying is that, when it comes to divorce, facebook has now made it up to the point where it's 20% as bad for marriage as lawyers?

  • My wife started using facebook because her coworkers were using it. She was working with them in close quarters all day and then she would come home and talk to them on facebook most of the evening. Its been a year since it ended and I don't yet know if this is going to end in divorce. What I can tell you is that we as people were never evolved to have someone whispering in our ear all day. What makes Facebook in particular and social networking in general dangerous is that you used to have to be close

    • by geekoid (135745)

      " I am saying that we aren't wired for and we aren't prepared for this kind of connectivity."

      based on....?

    • by nelsonal (549144)
      Also people tend to be considerably more frank and open when they percieve themselves to be alone in front of a computer rather than talking to someone face to face. Thus, /b/ and divorces.
  • Well for some stupid reason my GF once read my emails.
    And found a naked picture of woman I happen to know.
    That was a great outrage :D
    We did not divorce, though.
    I don't really get why "researchers" waste their time with such bullshit research. As if the couples had not divorced if there was no facebook, lol.
    Hm, perhaps to buy advertizing space for layers specialized into divorces?

    angel'o'sphere

  • Sure, Facebook is cited. Did facebook CAUSE the divorce? No. Stupid people who a) are not properly honoring their marriage vows and b) post about it to FB or provider other clues of the infidelity are.

    It's time to quit blaming the technology... if you cheat on your spouse... the one to blame is the dummy in the mirror, not the blog you crapped on them with.

    E

  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @01:13PM (#35349292) Homepage Journal
    My Grandma got married a few months back (yes, you read that right). I was talking to one of the ministers at the service, and he was commenting on how he does fewer weddings these days than he used to. I asked him if he thought it might be because people are having more odd-ball weddings, rather than typical church related services. He said he had worried about that at first, but after doing some digging, it just seemed like fewer people were actually interested in marriage. This trend seemed particularly true in younger adults like myself.

    That kind of discussion, plus this kind of news, plus my own personal experiences talking to folks makes me wonder if the institution is simply being questioned on a more fundamental level. It always seemed a bit odd to me (though not completely unreasonable) to commit oneself to the company of another single person for the entirety of one's remaining life. I think a lot of younger folks are starting to question that paradigm as well. As such, I think this particular 'study' might just be revealing a symptom of a deeper topic. I think the traditional institution of marriage is on the verge of slipping from being the formal definition. I don't think as many people in the free (kinda) world today are as interested or intrigued by the idea of spending the rest of their lives with one person. One of the great things the internet has done is that it has opened many people to new perspectives and new ideas. There is a lot to learn out there, and there are millions of beautiful people to meet and get to know on whatever level one may desire. I think, in light of these revelations, folks are starting to see that binding oneself to a single mate for the rest of their lives seems a bit, well, boring. If you marry someone when you are, say 22, and after ten years or so, you two have had a good run, and some good times, but things have stagnated, why not let good memories remain good memories, quit while you're ahead, and go meet someone new (if that's what you both want)?

    Of course, these are just the musings of my own mind, but it's something to think about. I'd wager that over the next few decades, we are going to see the traditional institution of marriage start to fall from its place as the accepted standard.
    • by nelsonal (549144)
      You're right. If you want to see the result, just take a look at the black inner cities of the US, they're trend downward for marriage started in the 60s rather than the 80s.
    • by boristdog (133725)

      Because we HAVE to stick to every tradition that is thousands of years old or civilization will collapse!

      Now, where is my favorite concubine...

    • by corbettw (214229)

      I think the better solution to the problem you're posing (the number of people in the world to meet and know) is to become a swinger. My wife and I don't play with everyone we meet, but we've had a chance to meet lots of really interesting people and have a lot of fun with them. It's also allowed us to explore aspects of our relationship that were taboo to our parents' generation.

      At the same time, we still have a partner we can depend on, and someone we can plan a future and raise children with. It's a win-

  • It's no longer necessary to hit the bar every night for a month to maybe find someone you're compatible enough to sleep with. This will ruin some marriages because sex can be just a click away, and all it takes is someone feeling scorned or lonely because their significant other went to bed early one night to sew the seeds of infidelity. People are petty, petty creatures. The smallest slight can lead to a major affair down the road.
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @02:44PM (#35350288)

    There was a story a few months ago about a preacher warning his congregation about Facebook infidelity. While the his comments were of course hyperbolic, there's some truth at the core. It's not blaming Facebook, but it facilitates people looking up old relationships which could lead to problems.

  • by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday March 01, 2011 @03:58PM (#35351074)

    Of those involving Facebook, 100% involved Farmville.

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