Facebook Cheating Can Lead to Divorce
Affairs and Cheating Spouses Using Facebook
Facebook and cheating are in the news...
Rise in Social Media Evidence in Divorce Cases
Do Facebook and other social media lead to infidelity and cheating, and afterwards divorce?
For part of the answer, we turn to a report on social media and divorce by the The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML).
In February, 2010, the AAML announced the results of their membership survey on the use of social media evidence in divorce cases. Eighty-one percent of the divorce lawyers surveyed said that the use of social media evidence in divorce cases has increased significantly during the past five years. Facebook led the pack, followed by MySpace and Twitter.
Facebook and Social Media Cheating
Facebook and other social media is often brought into counseling. In my own practice, when infidelity or cheating is involved, almost every couple wants to bring in information from text messages, Facebook, telephone records, Twitter or other electronic social media. The electronic age is truly upon us.
Online Cheating is at times an Early Stage of Infidelity
Sometimes social media can be used to help develop a relationship that is just beginning. For example, two people meet at work and agree to Tweet each other.
Other times it is used for trolling. For example, someone is searching particular keywords on a social media site and checking out people of interest. The keywords might be true hobbies like fishing or old cars. Or, the person might be searching provocative keywords like affair, infidelity, or troubled marriage. Or, more directly, the married person could be trolling dating sites using an alias or even a partially-true identity.
My daughter-in-law has a friend who dated a man who she met online, only to find out (thankfully before marriage and other serious life-commitments) that he was already married with no plans of leaving his current spouse.
Facebook Cheating May Seem Innocent
Suppose someone is not initially interested in an affair. That person has a private Facebook account and an opposite-sex high-school classmate finds the page and writes on the wall.
This person was not looking for anyone, but in the communication starts to fantasize about the classmate. They take it off of public view. The exchanges become more interesting and personal. At some point they want to meet, "just to catch up," and the next thing you know there's full-blown cheating and infidelity.
Hiding Infidelity is Like Creative Accounting
Cheating spouses find creative ways to hide the truth of what is happening. The unfaithful spouse usually tries to maintain a trail of innocence.
An example of this might be explaining the time, texting, or Facebook interaction as helping out a friend with _____, and just fill in the blank with almost anything.
Can You Catch a Cheating Spouse?
Based on the couples I have worked with, the spouse suffering from the discovery of the marital affair can be relentless in discovering hidden tracks. This often takes creativity that any professional detective would be proud to claim.
What really amazes me is when the cheating spouse lies even in the face of the electronic evidence, as if the betrayed spouse were stupid.
For example, the suffering spouse opens up the Facebook page or shows printouts of emails, or asks the spouse to open texting history, and the evidence is right there in the session, and still the unfaithful spouse tries to talk it away.
Evidence of Cheating is Now Common
Go back twenty years and perhaps once in a while someone would bring in evidence of marital infidelity, such as a love letter or gift or something. But now it is so common that I am almost surprised when there is no evidence. We leave electronic footprints everywhere.
Cultural Influences on Cheating, Infidelity and Divorce
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that tries to normalize cheating, infidelity and divorce. On the internet, there are articles on how to manage your social media accounts without getting caught in your marital affair. So not only are people cheating using social media but there are online instructions on how to be unfaithful in a secretive way.
Protect Your Marriage
Take the necessary steps to protect your marriage. You can create a wonderful marriage. There is no reason to look outside of your marriage. By taking the proper steps, you can find everything you want and need within your own marriage if you and your spouse are willing to make the effort.
Wishing you all success in creating a wonderful marriage,
If you and your spouse find it difficult to work through these things without any help, I have marriage self-help programs, and I offer personalized marriage counseling and marriage retreats, both in Maryland, to couples from all over the world.
I work privately with couples at the rate of $260 per 60 minutes, whether you are in Maryland or nearby or choose to travel here for a marriage retreat.
Call me at 410-654-1300 or toll-free at 866-654-1300 to schedule an appointment, or to get more information.