How do you handle your relationship in a world of Facebook and other social sites?
First consider Facebook has over 901 million monthly active users. Over 526 million of those people use Facebook every single day.
What does that tell you?
It tells you that TONS of people are using Facebook to communicate, interact, and engage with other people. This site and others like it, have changed the face of how we connect .
Had it not been for Facebook I would have never reconnected with old high school friends I haven’t seen in 15 years or more.
Facebook makes it fast and easy to find people and engage with them.
You don’t have to sit on the phone for an hour catching up. You can catch up with people on your own time. For goodness sake, you can even be a voyeur of sorts because you can watch and never interact.
That’s kind of SCARY at the same time.
This connection engine has also created an ability to meet new people faster than ever before. You have the ability to find people who like the same things. It’s pretty easy to use Facebook to find your next fling or business relationship.
And that’s what some people are doing. They’re sexting, emailing, and engaging in fantasies outside of their marriage or relationship with others using the inner workings of the biggest social site in the world.
Facebook isn’t the only site that allows you to do this, there are others out there. It’s just that Facebook is the biggest.
Either way, if you want to meet people there is no shortage of ability.
How could Facebook impact your relationship or marriage?
It’s much easier to connect with old girlfriends, boyfriends, and partners. You can sneak peeks of what those people are doing in their lives and then engage them. It gives you the ability to rekindle old flames, even if you didn’t intend to.
It can definitely cause jealousy like you’ve never seen before. Consider that you have the ability to have conversations in front of all your friends and many others. If someone wants to post something about you that could impact your relationship, you don’t have much control over it and you’ll have some explaining to do.
Then again, much of it can be hidden through the email system inside of Facebook. So then all you need is a password.
But it’s the public arena that can impact your relationship the most. With digital photos and the ability to post them almost instantly you could be looking at problems.
You can be tagged in photos that you’re not interested in others knowing about. You and some friends are out at a festival. You’re dancing and having a good time while some woman you don’t know comes over and starts dancing with you and calling you the “King”. She tries to get all up in your grill.
Just as she bumps up against you someone in your group takes a picture. That picture gets posted to Facebook and you’re tagged. The problem is the woman in the picture doing the grinding isn’t your wife. And the picture doesn’t let everyone know that you pushed her way 0.3 seconds later.
You can control what you post but you can’t control what other people post and in what context. That leaves everyone else to make their own decisions. And these things can happen to both men and women.
Can you see the impact of our digital world. Here’s a glimpse of the impact:
It turns out the kiss of death for marriages might be more like a poke.
A third of all divorce filings in 2011 contained the word “Facebook,” according to Divorce Online. And more than 80 percent of U.S. divorce attorneys say social networking in divorce proceedings is on the rise, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
Divorce lawyer Marian Rosen, who practices in Houston, said she’s increasingly seen social media cited in divorce proceedings and child custody battles.
“We’ve had instances where they pull up Facebook in the course of a deposition,” Rosen told ABC News, adding that in addition to proving infidelity, she’s seen cases in which children’s profiles are cited as evidence to suggest bad parenting. “Once it’s out there for the world, it’s very difficult … to erase from the past. There are going to be trails that can be followed.”
That should give you a taste of what’s going on.
How do you handle it if you see messages to your spouse or partner from someone you don’t know?
First don’t come to any conclusions. You’ve just found something that has triggered emotions and right now you only have the context that YOU are making up.
You have no idea what the situation is so the first thing you should do is talk to your spouse or partner. Find out what he’s thinking, what the message is all about, and what it means to him.
You also may want to come to terms with how you got the information. Where you spying on him? Did you already suspect him of something. You may have to answer to him.
Conversation is going to be the fastest way to diffuse any Facebook or social media related blunders.
It requires keeping cool and understanding the full situation. Remember, you can only control YOU and how you’re acting in the situation. When we get emotional we tend to let our brain fill in any blanks (Our brain already does that fine on its own, let alone in emotional situations.)
Either way, you can see how messages through Facebook or any other digital media can cause an impact on your relationship. It’s important to keep the conversation open and understand the ground rules for each other.
Which brings me to a question that has come up recently…
Is sexting considered being unfaithful or grounds for divorce?
I guess that depends on your definition of ‘being unfaithful’. It makes me think of the Clinton era… “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
I know that walks the fence but some people are ok with a relationship that involves digital flirting, sexting, and online adult play. While others would find even a digital relationship as adultery.
Sexting and engaging in digital relationships can get you in trouble if it’s secretive and hasn’t been discussed in your relationship.
Do I think it would be the only reason to cause a divorce?
Of course not. But I do think it can be used as evidence.
Here’s an excerpt from an attorney:
Silvana D. Raso, a New Jersey divorce attorney, says that “most courts will recognize this as a form of being unfaithful through an outside romantic relationship, ” adding that, “most people do set forth why they are getting a divorce and can use this as the reason.”
Read more: Fox News
None of this is new. It’s just taking a different media that allows for it to GO VIRAL. Before the internet it was letters, phone calls, and visits. It was harder to hide.
Now with the internet and all of these social sites, it’s easier than ever to meet people and later hide the romance. If that’s your thing, great. Make sure it’s part of the conversation in your relationship.
Otherwise you may be in for a rude awakening.
What does all this mean to you?
It means we’re friggin human. It means our brains act the same for all of us. We fill in blanks we don’t know. And the blanks we fill in seem to come from our survival mechanism. We want to be right, protect our emotions, and prevent a horrible outcome.
In the process, if we act on these survival emotions, we may cause more harm than good.
What you should be doing is having an open and truthful conversation with your husband, boyfriend, or partner. You should be talking about all the things that you DON’T want to discuss.
If it makes your stomach turn because you don’t know how the conversation will go, then THAT IS the conversation to have. It will allow both of you to get to the core of the issue, get each other’s take and come to an agreement.
Maybe Facebook’ing with people of the opposite sex is ok but not flirting. Maybe flirting is ok but not sexting.
I don’t know because each situation is different for every person. I don’t expect you to tell me what to do in my bedroom and I won’t tell you what to do in yours.
The one thing that should be consistent is the communication between you. But only if you want your relationship to last.
I want to get the conversation going on this topic.
Have you had Facebook situations in your relationship? Have you found your husband or boyfriend flirting or having a digital romance? I’d love to hear the story.
Till next time, I look forward to hearing from you.
PS- I want to note that it doesn’t matter if you’re man or women, heterosexual, bi-sexual, or homosexual these things can happen to you.