As social media continues to change relationships, new data has come out which shows that Facebook now plays a role in 1 of 5 American divorces. From ZDNet:
Facebook is cited in 1 out of every 5 divorces in the United States, according to the Loyola University Health System. Furthermore, 81 percent of the country’s top divorce attorneys say they have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence during the past five years, according to a recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). Last but not least, Facebook is the unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence with 66 percent citing it as the primary source, the AAML said.
Of course, this data isn’t all that surprising when you consider that Facebook is the leading social networking site. By virtue of being the biggest, with the largest user base, it’s certain to take a lion’s share of online evidence used in divorces.
Dr. Steven Kimmons, a clinical psychologist with Loyola University Medical Center, describes the role of Facebook in affairs as a natural progression. He describes a scenario where two people meet or reconnect after years of estrangement, and begin sharing friendly messages back and forth. The exchange becomes more personal and emotional, leading to a “deeper sense of intimacy” and possibly an affair. In such terms, his description does make Facebook sound like some kind of infidelity-singularity, that once entered gives no means of escape. However, Kimmons point is that most people don’t intend to start affairs on Facebook, but that it can facilitate one.
Humans are, after all, a social species, which probably explains our fascination with social networks and how they’ve integrated thmselves into nearly ever facet of our lives. You can almost see a progression from the early days, where Facebook and other services “brought us together” and “reconnected” us with lost friends. Now the stories on social networking have moved all the way through to the bitter, sad endings. The anger. The reprisals. The inevitable appearance on TLC’s The Divorce Horse.
With sex workers doing much of their business on Facebook, and now this new data on Facebook’s role on the end of relationships, it’s probably time that we own up to the fact that all of these services are no longer a pleasant distraction, but as much a part of our social lives as saying hello on the street. The line has blurred, and vanished entirely.
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