Facebook and Divorce
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Facebook and Divorce

Facebook and Divorce

How Facebook can destroy your marriage.

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A new survey conducted by U.K. divorce website found that 33 percent of divorce petitions in 2011 contained references to Facebook. Another survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that “Facebook holds the distinction of being the unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence with 66% citing it as the primary source.” Also, more than 80 percent of divorce lawyers stated they “have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence” during the past few years.

What’s so bad about Facebook and why is it playing a role in destroying marriages? While there are many benefits of Facebook, there are a few points to be aware of when it comes to getting between you and your spouse.

1. Keeping up with the Joneses

Today our lives are an open book. Login to your Facebook account and you can learn just about every intimate detail of your friends’ existence. Even if you think you feel secure in your relationship, you may begin to discover that your marriage is not as exciting as you thought it was. Facebook has given new meaning to the term, “keeping up with the Joneses.”

Take one wife who read about the multiple family vacations of her acquaintance. Why couldn’t her husband take her and the kids camping too? A huge fight ensued and although he agreed to go camping, they realized afterwards that no two families are created equal, despite the acquaintance’s romanticized postings of being “camp mommy.”

It is easy to view the lives of others and want the same for ourselves. This often creates an underlying anxiety which can lead to tension at home and unreasonable demands. That Facebook friend may look like she’s having the time of her life traveling and buying new clothes, don’t lose sight that her husband may have a multimillion dollar business. Don’t lose perspective when being bombarded with the outer (and often false) grandeur of other people’s lives.

2. Relationships with the Opposite Gender

If you are in a relationship where you feel unloved or disregarded, a little bit of attention from the opposite gender can be tempting. The ease of causal comments on Facebook can lead to a slippery slope where we can find ourselves becoming increasingly attached to someone other than our spouse. A nice comment here, a little chat there, and next thing you know you’re emotionally invested in a relationship.

If you think I am exaggerating, Drs Pat Love and Steve Stosny write in How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It (p.89) that even if you are happily married, spending enough private time with someone you are attracted to can turn that chemistry into infatuation. All the more so, if you have an unfulfilling marriage. Chatting on Facebook or instant messenging when no one is around can add the thrill of privacy to the conversation. Pretty soon you could find yourself in a compromised situation that you don’t want to be in.

Related Article Emotional Infidelity

3. Airing Your Dirty Laundry in Public

If you are feeling frustrated with your spouse it is only natural to want to confide in a friend. Yet, unfortunately it is not always a smart decision. Ideally one should learn appropriate relationship tools to be able to communicate directly with their spouse. This keeps the relationship where it needs to be, between husband and wife. If this is not possible, then an unbiased third party who will just let you vent is the next best option. The problem arises when you begin talking about your spouse with friends who may influence your relationship in a negative way.

Take for example a woman who posted a derogatory story about her husband on Facebook. A friend commented, “Only your husband would do that.” This affirmation of her husband’s shortcomings was surely not a positive contribution or encouragement of her relationship. Furthermore, many of our friends may have bad marriages themselves and would love someone else to commiserate with. Facebook can serve as an easy way for a chat which may offer free advice and discouraging feelings about our spouse. As we sink further into negativity, we forget about the possibility of trying to make the relationship work.

While studies may not always be fully accurate, as a marriage counselor, I have seen the negative effects that jealousy, relationships with the opposite sex, and discussing your marriage with friends, can have on a relationship. While Facebook can be a great way to keep in touch, it also can provide much easier access for these outside forces to enter your relationship and wreck it.

Some of the ideas in this article are based on Rabbi Slatkin’s new book Is My Marriage Over: The Five Step Action Plan to Saving Your Marriage, available for download at http://www.therelationshiprabbi.com/is-my-marriage-over

Published: March 10, 2012


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Visitor Comments: 34

(24) Dvorah, April 29, 2013 4:17 PM

Facebook can be a place of lashon ha ra But like everything is in our hands how to use it for hood or bad. The problem is how attached and addicted people become to Facebook, and other and more than anything tis the urgency to check and check phones and email all the time. If everyone if us invest all that time to enrich our relationship with our family face to face life will be better. Next time that you find yourself checking your phone or iPad Don't do it leave it alone and talk with your family or do something for them. Emails, Facebook , and text can wait. Is very sad to see people having a coffee and they don't talk they only watch their phones Technology is at our service But we need to learn not became the servants of the technology Addicted people don't see when they are falling into the addiction May Hasem help us everyday with our challenges

(23) Anonymous, January 9, 2013 3:12 PM

Facebook is NOT the enemy here. We need to use common sense and intelligence in the way we approach FB. Also, it is crucial to remember that once a week we have the beauty of disconnecting ourselves from FB and related technology for 25 hours.

(22) disgruntled, July 21, 2012 9:57 AM

intrusive addiction

I am absolutley disgusted by facebook and skype. The impact of separations and divorces is increasing. There was a reason we as humans were not born with technological devices, because it is not natural! For realtionships to exist facebook and skype and other social media needs to be abolished. This is a way of escapism from emotion and responsibility, as long as it is accepted then so is bad behaviour and morals. Now my question is why is it being allowed if the negatives outway the positives? In queensland alone there has been suicides, bullying, infidelity, irresponsible behavoiur, and people being hit by cars and buses because there too focused on their facebook via mobile device. How much destruction does there have to be before something is done about it? You dont need to be on facebook to play games, remember this. It doesn't stop there we as humans are not going to evolve effectively if we are not met with our needs- emotional and psycologically, relationships in a physical social setting acheives this, this is how our brain works. I am disgusted to read the above comments as to what a repulsive and disgraceful species humans are becoming. Also I really feel for all of you out that have been affected I really do. The only way it can change is if someone does something about it, it only takes one man or woman to create a new trend, this is what I think it would take to abolish social media. We need to think outside the square and make a difference. As I said before I feel really compassionate to you all who have affected, but like any other addiction it is the same steps for complete detox and I am sorry. Please if anyone would like to comment on my comments please do I am interested to know what you are all thinking about this.

(21) Anonymous, May 24, 2012 5:06 AM

yep, i got divorced bcuz of facebook

yes. it haopenned top me. my wife whom i loved VERY MUCH was spending time on facebook dissecting all my sins and reconnecting with old boyfriends. she insisted it is nothing wrong cuz she feels nothing for the guy. but she refused to de-friend him... saying i have no right to tell her who to be friends with. my privacy meant nothing to her. my most personal information was discussed with her friends or acuaintances... she insisted being friends on facebook with people who belittled me and put me down. finally i decided that i'm better off alone , without her trampling my every emotion. There is lots of good on facebook, but marriage must come first! in my case, i wasnt FIRST to my wife , but last :-( it may seem petty or childish, but we get married for friendship and companionship and emotional support. if a spouse sees nothing wrong in belittling their partner to others, something is seriously wrong. (of course facebook wasnt the real reason, but it was a symptom of the sickness of the marriage) BE VERY CAREFUL AND SENSITIVE TO THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN UR LIFE!

(20) SusanE, March 24, 2012 7:54 PM

FaceBook is people - Millions of them.

If she is in a Starbucks at 9 am and sees a super guy getting his coffee. If a man is in a store and the clerk is friendly and pretty. If you are at a weekly meeting and the woman in the 2nd row smiles. If I am at a club and the owner is a hunk. If you run into an old flame, or see a classmate all grown up at a reunion, if you see your neighbor jogging past your house at the same time each evening....... AND if you plan on going back to any of these places or keeping in touch, you have already made up your mind, and are open for an affair. - - - - - - - FaceBook isn't any different than real time except that it is very public.. It is easier to connect with people on there but it still takes that next step to physically get together and form a relationship with another person. It would have happened anyway but so many people wouldn't know about it. Just like if 'she' went back to Starbucks at 9 the next morning and the next ...... I'll bet she looked her best, and didn't really go for the coffee.

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