Facebook blamed for 1 in 5 divorces in the US

Facebook blamed for 1 in 5 divorces in the US

Summary: Facebook is cited in 1 in 5 divorces in the United States. When it comes to online divorce evidence, 66 percent refer to the social network as the primary source.

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TOPICS: Networking
26

Update: the "1 in 5 divorces in the US" statistic is from December 2009 and has simply been pushed to the top again by a new press release. All the other statistics in the original story (below) are new:

Facebook is cited in 1 out of every 5 divorces in the United States, according to the Loyola University Health System. Furthermore, 81 percent of the country's top divorce attorneys say they have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence during the past five years, according to a recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). Last but not least, Facebook is the unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence with 66 percent citing it as the primary source, the AAML said.

It's not that Facebook is solely to blame: already-strained marriages are bound to break with or without the service. Still, a couple doesn't have to be experiencing marital difficulties for an online relationship to develop from mere online chatting into a full-fledged affair.

In the end, Facebook is a social tool. For single people, social networks can help them meet that special someone. Even for marriages, social networks can help further along a relationship. Just like with any other social medium, however, even the most innocent of intentions can turn ugly with improper use.

You don't need to be a psychologist to realize that Facebook can accelerate the process. Stories of people whose marriages were destroyed by affairs that began on social networks abound on the Internet.

Remind yourself why you're using a given service and regularly assess your intentions with the people you're frequently communicating with. Facebook may not call itself a dating website, but hundreds of millions use it to connect on varying levels. Intimate conversations, even online ones, should only be reserved for your significant other.

"We're coming across it more and more," licensed clinical psychologist Steven Kimmons, PhD, of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois, said in a statement. "One spouse connects online with someone they knew from high school. The person is emotionally available and they start communicating through Facebook. Within a short amount of time, the sharing of personal stories can lead to a deepened sense of intimacy, which in turn can point the couple in the direction of physical contact. I don't think these people typically set out to have affairs. A lot of it is curiosity. They see an old friend or someone they dated and decide to say 'hello' and catch up on where that person is and how they're doing."

Topic: Networking

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

26 comments
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  • Perhaps

    Marriage is to blame, people want to experience and variety is the spice of life! swingers got it right LOL
    Hasam1991
  • Blame

    I blame the gays!!11



    /sarcasm
    toadlife
  • Sounds like divorce couples will blame anyone but themselve

    when their marriage falls apart
    iPad-awan
    • RE: Facebook to blame for 1 in 5 divorces in the US

      @iPad-awan EXACTLY!!
      t0mmyt
  • No Facebook is NOT to blame

    People are to blame for their own actions. Facebook - much like e-mail, smartphones, text messaging, and chatrooms - are nothing more than the next step in social networking and communication, in other words simply a new tool to communicate. If someone is that stupid as to communicate their dirty laundry on Facebook or any other social networking site or in writing is simply asking for trouble.

    This is like blaming the gun for killing someone. The gun is NOT the root cause, it is the tool used.
    athynz
    • RE: Facebook to blame for 1 in 5 divorces in the US

      @athynz
      Exactly, the next 2/5 will probably be attributed to workplace and the rest 'social interactions' :P
      kevintxu
  • RE: Facebook to blame for 1 in 5 divorces in the US

    Just blogged about this myself...
    http://www.datingmryuck.com/blog/
    DatingMrYuck
  • Not to defend Facebook ... but a webpage does not force people to cheat

    So how is Facebook to blame?<br><br>You can blame Facebook for identity theft and for making it easy to find victims for sexual predators. But when it comes to marriages, the only person to blame is the cheater. Nobody forces anybody to cheat. You do that on your own.
    wackoae
    • RE: Facebook to blame for 1 in 5 divorces in the US

      @wackoae 100% agreed. Now, if only ZDNet had a "thumbs up" box.
      tora201
  • Avoid Facebook

    Breaking up is never painless, and the healing time may be long and hard.

    Question we need to ask is Facebook increasing the Divorce rate. When you leave massages or share photos on Facebook for everyone can see, including your spouse. It would be better to avoid those comments rather than had to discuss that with your spouse.

    For all of us who are concerned about Facebook issues we have created the website called Avoid Facebook @ www.AvoidFacebook.com
    Avoid Facebook
    • RE: Facebook to blame for 1 in 5 divorces in the US

      @Avoid Facebook
      Sometimes people find out that their partners are cheating by checking their phones. That, by your logic, would be mobile phones "increasing the divorce rate". Are you going to start campaigning for phones to be banned?
      Facebook is only a tool and sadly some of the people who use it are "tools" as well...
      steve_jonesuk
  • That's right, people are responsible

    The guy who said that PEOPLE are responsible was 100% correct. It goes all the way back to why the couple first got married, how they maintained it, where the communication between the couple was lost, and why the sexual needs are not being satisfied. When you lose a need being satisfied from the source you rely on, you naturally tend to go somewhere else. "I got a headache" can only go so far before it leads to the partner cheating. It goes way deeper. If a man is engaging in sex with women other than his wife, obviously the wife isn't fulfilling his needs anymore (either selfishness or other issues) and she needs to realize that with us men, it's more physical than emotion bonding. We please women emotionally, they please us physically. That's the formula. Now, if he wants to try to be a player - he needs to get divorced first. But the cost to the kids will be WAY greater. That's why people need to take marriage more seriously. We wouldn't need phone tracking, GPS, etc. if couples could TRUST each other. Marriage is much like a lifetime contract; you break the contract, there are heavy consequences. Don't sign the contract if you can't deal with the termination fees. It has nothing to do with Facebook, Twitter, cell phones/smartphones, etc.
    ryeckley82
  • RE: Facebook to blame for 1 in 5 divorces in the US

    This headline should read "unhappy couples use Facebook too" ... of course that wouldn't attract as many readers, but it would be a more honest presentation of the "article" that follows. All too typical of ZDNet these days ... sensational headlines backed with pointless non-stories.
    Trep Ford
  • RE: Facebook to blame for 1 in 5 divorces in the US

    This goes all the way back to AOL messenger and online chatrooms, long before Facebook was even an idea and Zuckerberg was barely in grade school.
    I like and drink beer but many a drunk does it make. Each individual is accountable for their own actions no matter the tools they use or how easy it is.
    xzone9
  • Read the fine print

    In simple terms, read the find print before you sign a paper. That contract may be very hard to get out of if not impossible.
    ryeckley82
  • Facebook my a_ _ ! .......

    divorce is still caused by exactly what it always has been....
    lieing, cheating, selfish, self-serving, assholes ......male and female.......it's just that simple. Facebook doesn't create a cheater, it may provide a vehicle to assist a cheater, but it's the person that makes the decision. Why does everyone want to rush to blame technology for human failures ?
    steveparamore
  • RE: Facebook to blame for 1 in 5 divorces in the US

    Thanks for the focus on Facebook?s impact on marriages. We noticed you used the ?1 in 5 divorces involve Facebook? stat. The ?stats? around this issue have gotten so loose and messy that we investigated the 14-month history of this stat and put the findings on our blog, Techlationships.com. We encourage you to read ?Debunking the 1-in-5 Divorces Linked to Facebook Stat? at http://bit.ly/1in5FB and maybe do a story on it.

    Let us know if you have any questions! K Jason and Kelli Krafsky (The Social Media Couple)
    techlationships
  • RE: Facebook to blame for 1 in 5 divorces in the US

    Thanks for the focus on Facebook?s impact on marriages. We noticed you used the ?1 in 5 divorces involve Facebook? stat. The ?stats? around this issue have gotten so loose and messy that we investigated the 14-month history of this stat and put the findings on our blog, Techlationships.com. We encourage you to read ?Debunking the 1-in-5 Divorces Linked to Facebook Stat? at http://bit.ly/1in5FB and maybe do a story on it.

    Let us know if you have any questions! K Jason and Kelli Krafsky (The Social Media Couple/Co-Authors of "Facebook and Your Marriage")
    techlationships
  • RE: Facebook to blame for 1 in 5 divorces in the US

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