Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Does Facebook wreck your marriage?

In a recent news report it was stated that "more than a third of divorce filings last year contained the word Facebook, according to a survey by Divorce Online, a UK-based legal services firm. And over 80% of U.S. divorce attorneys say they've seen a rise in the number of cases using social networking, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers" (Quentin Fottrell, Wall Street Journal).

SERIOUSLY!? Come on people. Can we get a grip on reality for a moment here. This is not the first time we have heard this as a society. The divorce rate in our country has been floating between 41% to 51% for a long time. The usual reason cited for the split has been "irreconcible differences" which can sometimes be ambiguous and all encompassing, but it is what it is.

According to  the age at marriage for those who divorce in America
Under 20 years old27.6%11.7%
20 to 24 years old36.6%38.8%
25 to 29 years old16.4%22.3%
30 to 34 years old8.5%11.6%
35 to 39 years old5.1%6.5%
So, according to the above numbers, the younger you are when you marry, the more likely you are to divorce. Okay---no suprises there. I heard this college and I teach that in my sociology class when we cover marriage and family. But I am curious to know if the recent influx of divorce petitions citing social media includes more young adults or more middle aged adults?

Are people so starved for attention and emotional connection that the spend a superfluous amount of time online and on social media websites? Here's a thought, get off the computer, put the laptop away, delete the apps off of your phones and ask yourself, "what are my children going to learn from me/us about men? About women? About conflict resolution? About marriage? About divorce? About life?"

I am not saying that every marriage will work out or even that everyone should stay together. I mean, my parents have been seperated for over a year now and I whole heartedly feel that they are better apart than they were together. What I am trying to say is don't hide behind a computer and complain about your spouse/partner or attempt to emotionally connect with someone else via emails, posts, or IMs. Put that effort into your marriage first! If you need counseling or mediators, seek out those people who can help you face to face. Don't give away pieces of you self online or hide behind it. No excuses. Take time to repair and reconnect. It is a simple, but significant choice. It won't be easy, but it might be worth it (for both people) because if it doesn't challenge you it doesn't change you.

Articles referenced in this post:

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