Facebook is the self-control killer, as many of us already know. But will it end your relationship? Some UK-based law firms believe the popular social networking site plays an increasing role in petitions for divorce.
Interestingly, it isn't the oft-touted boogeyman of digital disconnection that is the source of all these failed relationships. Social networking technology has made it possible to keep in touch with more people, coordinate hook ups - and to leave little cookie crumbs trails to our bad behavior that are easily traceable. The Telegraph reports:
Mark Keenan, Managing Director of Divorce-Online said: "I had heard from my staff that there were a lot of people saying they had found out things about their partners on Facebook and I decided to see how prevalent it was I was really surprised to see 20 per cent of all the petitions containing references to Facebook.
"The most common reason seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to."
Flirty emails and messages found on Facebook pages are increasingly being cited as evidence of unreasonable behaviour.
In addition to virtual affairs, sometimes, the cruelest cut is the result of a simple profile change:
One 35-year-old woman even discovered her husband was divorcing her via Facebook.
Conference organiser Emma Brady was distraught to read that her marriage was over when he updated his status on the site to read: "Neil Brady has ended his marriage to Emma Brady."
While adults are grappling with the brave new world of online communication and infidelity, teenagers coming of age in the Facebook era are struggling to learn how to unplug. Since Facebook can take obsessiveness to all new heights, many teens are forming pacts to wean themselves off the site, doing everything from forming support groups to deactivating their accounts on the site all together. A New York Times article exploring Facebook and teens quoted Odd Girl Out author Rachel Simmons, who explained how Facebook is just a new, faster version of old dynamics:
"You're getting a feed of everything everyone is doing and saying," Ms. Simmons said. "You're literally watching the social landscape on the screen, and if you're obsessed with your position in that landscape, it's very hard to look away."