Facebook use is involved in up to one-third of divorces. In cases where it has been involved with destroying a marriage, its records are used as evidence in divorce court against the cheating spouse. While it is not a dating site, like Tinder or Plenty of Fish, Facebook can be used in similar ways by someone who is tempted to cheat on his or her spouse.
Divorce Does Not Always Involve Physical Cheating
Social media sites like Facebook allow users to reconnect with people from their past and new people that they would not ordinarily meet. Online contact can eventually lead to in-person meetings. But it is not always physical cheating breaking up marriages. The use of Facebook could also lead to what is known as an emotional affair. This type of relationship goes much further than a casual friendship.
An emotional affair drains energy from the marriage. It involves sexual chemistry between its participants, even though they have not acted on those feelings. Flirty texts are exchanged, fantasizing occurs, and things are shared that would normally be shared between intimate partners. In some cases, one or both participants may share unflattering details about their real-life partners.
Frequent Facebook Use Leads to Conflict
A study published in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behaving and Network revealed that people who utilize Facebook more than once an hour are headed for trouble. These users are at a higher risk of experiencing “Facebook-related conflict with their romantic partners” that could lead to a divorce.
Feelings of jealousy and misunderstandings can arise between partners because of Facebook use. This leads to instability of the marriage relationship. The partner who is feeling left out could begin to monitor the other’s social media use and attempt to snoop into his or her online activities.
When the Damage is Already Done
A survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) found that four out of five divorce lawyers included evidence obtained from Facebook and other social networking websites in court. Evidence such as photos or posts showing excessive alcohol use or other behaviors that a judge might consider objectionable, could affect the partner’s interests going into a divorce with negotiating:
- Child custody and parenting time
- Division of assets
In cases where divorce is imminent and social media is involved, users should learn to censor themselves on platforms like Facebook.