FACEBOOK AND MARITAL HAPPINESS

Divorce attorneys reported that social media has skyrocketed as a leading factor of marital problems over the last few years. In fact, recent studies have shown that one-third of divorces in 2011 were “caused or influenced” by Facebook. But, after doing some Facebook surveys and study on the matter, I attest that Facebook does not cause divorce. Other factors are always to blame. Facebook is just the convenient culprit.

Now as a newlywed myself, naturally I was very interested in any tips or information on how to keep my marriage strong and alive. But, when I heard about couples “joining” their Facebook accounts after saying “I do,” I thought it was the most ridiculous and extreme thing that I had ever heard of. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about bonding and having a close connection with my spouse. But we are still separate people with different friends, interests and personalities.

I was baffled and puzzled and so I asked a few friends who had joined Facebook accounts with their spouses why they had made that change. For the sake of anonymity, names have been withheld. One friend said, “We did it because we felt uncomfortable that the other person could talk to any of their exes or old crushes. It just made us feel better to have no contact at all, because I won’t lie, I am a jealous person. It had nothing to do with not trusting each other though.”

I am not trying to be critical of married people and their preferences of how to interact with others after they are married, but doesn’t that paragraph sound like a complete contradiction? How can you say that you are uncomfortable with your spouse talking to their “ex” but also say in the same sentence that it isn’t because you don’t trust each other? If that were the case, then what would be the problem with them talking to their ex? You honestly wouldn’t care who your spouse talked to if you were secure about your relationship.

If you are uncomfortable with your spouse keeping tabs on their ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, it just reeks of insecurity and mistrust to me. Sure, you probably wouldn’t want your spouse to hang out with that person everyday, but what is the harm in them catching up every once in awhile? If you are really that worried about those old sparks flaring up again even after you are married, then perhaps you weren’t ready to get married, and just joining Facebook accounts isn’t going to stabilize your marriage.

I dated a lot of people before I got married and even had quite a serious relationship prior to meeting my husband. Call me naïve, but I still maintain good friendships with all of those individuals. I made sure that I was completely over all of them and that I had moved on before I married my husband, and honestly keeping in touch with many of them via Facebook or mutual friends has really helped me to realize how much better off I am with the man I chose. I am 100 percent honest with my husband about all my communication and he is totally at peace with it. We have kept both of our own Facebook accounts because we trust each other and don’t feel a reason to be insecure about who each other talks to on Facebook or through texting.

Many other studies and friends suggested to me that combining Facebook accounts with your spouse is safer and eliminates the temptation that might come from communicating with an old fling. Another of my friends said, “Fidelity on many levels for us was the motivator. Infidelity is not just a sexual act, but can be verbal or emotional. My husband and I have no secrets from each other. Sharing an account removes the temptation of creating any triangles in our relationship. The most destructive thing you can do to a marriage is to talk to someone else about your personal struggles as a couple.”

One of the arguments that I have with this statement is that it is so biased. So, if you wanted to be “safe” and remove all your “temptations,” then why is Facebook the only target? That should mean that you would also remove or combine you and your spouse’s cellphones, emails, work environments and anywhere that you might possibly have contact with an old fling or where you could possibly be entranced by a new fling.

Basically, Facebook is not the culprit of divorce or people’s relationship problems. The main problems are insecurity, mistrust and not being fully committed to your relationship. Even without a Facebook account, anyone who wants to keep in contact with an old fling or develop a new relationship is going to find a way to do so. A joined Facebook account will not save your marriage, nor will Facebook destroy your marriage. It is all up to you.

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