Larry James' BLOG

Thursday, June 7, 2012

D-I-V-O-R-C-E – Facebook Users Beware…

Filed under: Relationships — Larry James @ 7:00 am

A recent survey by a British legal firm found that over a third of divorce filings in 2011 contained the word “Facebook.”

An Indian woman filed for divorce because her new husband took too long to change his Facebook relationship status to “married.” The couple had been married only two months, but the wife felt her husband’s slowness in updating his online profile meant he was probably cheating, leading to a breakdown in trust. The judge denied her request for a divorce, and ordered the couple to undergo six months of counseling.

FacebookHeartIn the U.S. one in five divorces involve the social networking site Facebook, according to a new survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. A staggering 80 per cent of divorce lawyers have also reported a spike in the number of cases that use social media for evidence of cheating. Facebook was by far the biggest offender, with 66 per cent of lawyers citing it as the primary source of evidence in a divorce case. MySpace followed with 15 per cent, Twitter at 5 per cent and other choices lumped together at 14 per cent.

“The most common reason [for divorce] seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to.” ~ Mark Keenan, managing director of Divorce-Online.

Former “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria recently split from her basketball player husband, Tony Parker, after alleging that he strayed with a woman he kept in touch with on Facebook.

Studies present evidence that social networking can also cause a slew of negative ramifications, including addictive behavior. Italian doctors reported the case of a young man who was suffering from asthma attacks that appeared to be triggered by looking at his ex-girlfriend’s profile on Facebook, which included numerous new male friends. The heartbroken teen began suffering difficult or labored breathing, known as dyspnea, every time he logged on to Facebook. When he quit using the social media site entirely, his asthma attacks stopped.

It’s important to remember that Facebook is supposed to be a fun way to connect with family and friends, however, sometimes, things go wrong. For example, Facebook was blamed for ending Thomas Crampton’s engagement. When the international tech journalist and his fiancé, Thuy-Tien Tran, wanted to make their “personal lives a little more private,” the happily engaged couple removed their relationship status from their profiles. Jumping to conclusions, Facebook’s News Feed quickly alerted their social network that the engagement was off, and the condolences started pouring in. The alleged break up of Facebook users Thomas Crampton and Thuy-Tien Tran was a false alarm. The online gaffe was resolved, and the pair married in 2007.

Facebook has become such an important part of many of our lives that we cannot imagine what life would ever look like without it. Our world has radically been changed by Facebook. It has had many benefits. It has enabled us to reconnect with old friends and maintain friendships when separated by distance. However, I urge you to use discretion when posting on Facebook.

“Facebook gives people access to information about their partner that may otherwise not be accessible,” said Amy Muise, a Ph.D. student in psychology who conducted the study with student colleague Emily Christofides. “This may include details about their partner’s friendships and social exchanges, especially interactions with previous romantic or sexual partners.”

ComputeFacebook“Social networking is usually a solitary sport. It’s something you do privately, just you and your computer, and therefore no one has to know. Yet social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn can serve as a vehicle to meet thousands of other people in a very short time, and at the touch of a keystroke you get to call them all “Friend.” It is this false sense of connection and the anonymous distance between you and your new “Friends” that actually creates the risk. It may be easier to reveal intimate details about one’s life and feelings when there is no physical proximity – and no eye contact.” ~ Dr. Tammy Nelson

A study released by the University of Guelph in Ontario shows that the Facebook social network increases jealousy in users’ romantic relationships. The study, which surveyed 308 Facebook users between the ages of 17 and 24, noted that most said they were aware that poking around their significant others Facebook page would increase their jealousy. However, the users also said that they simply couldn’t withstand the temptation. While the majority of Facebook’s mega-million registered users are happy to continue the affair while the site acquires better dating skills, some prefer to pull the plug.

“instead of debating whether technology is good or bad for human relationships, we should channel that energy into self-reflection. Stepping outside of our comfort zone is inevitably connected with improved intimacy and human connection.” ~ Dr. Austin Houghtaling, Ph.D

More and more of my coaching clients have a common theme: Facebook and how it has become an avenue to many problems in their relationships.

While I don’t believe that Facebook hurts relationships, we need to take a closer look. Facebook isn’t the problem. How you go about handling the stress in the relationship is the real issue. I believe that unfaithful spouses/partners ruin relationships. Flirty messages and photographs found on Facebook are increasingly being cited as proof of unreasonable behavior or irreconcilable differences. Using it can put pressure on your relationship depending on how you use it. Responsibility for the value of a relationship lies solely within a person or persons, not within any website.

Before it was e-mail, then before that it was the phone. The problem is not Facebook, it is the loss of love in your relationship. It depends on the level of trust in the relationship, but I have seen Facebook use increase jealousy, which hurts the relationship. It is true that couples who broadcast their relationships on social media may end up getting hurt. Keep personal matters, especially lover’s quarrels, offline, where they belong. Resist the urge to stray and blame it on Facebook.

In conclusion, there must be trust and balance. If you are a social addict, shame on you! If you are upstairs and your partner is downstairs and you are communicating by Facebook, stop it! Just suck it up and go downstairs and talk. If you spend more time on Facebook talking with your ex, you’re putting your own relationship at risk. The innocence of a friendship may bring up insecurities in your partner, or even create the possibility for a communication that can cross the line.

You may need to do a little “spring cleaning” on your friends list to weed out people you no longer care to be in touch with. In other words, “unfriend” the temptation. Err on the side of caution. If you are spending more time on Facebook than scheduling quality time with your partner, you are making a colossal mistake. Perhaps it’s time to break the Facebook addiction.

Is technology strengthening or weakening our relationships? Probably a bit of both. It’s all a matter of perspective.

BONUS Article: Relationship Problems and Facebook: How to keep Social Networking from Hurting your Relationship
Does Facebook Hurt Relationships?

internetHeartsCLoveLOGOCopyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact:, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – and

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