Is Facebook Causing Divorce?

Survey raises tough questions for couples

woman mad at guy on computer

A recent survey in the UK blames Facebook for nearly one-third of all divorces. While this may or may not be valid, more couples point to what they see on their spouse’s profile page as evidence.

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Scott Bea, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist in Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, says, “I think social media really draws people to give too much information, and until people experience the consequences of this, it may be hard for some people to really pull back.”

The UK survey found about 20 percent of divorce petitions contained references to Facebook. The most common complaint seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats. One woman even found out her husband was planning to actually divorce her via Facebook.

Dr. Bea says social media can make once private relationship issues very public. “It’s hard for people, I think. Our shame and humiliation now can be publicized,” he says.

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He adds, “One statistic says 20 percent of people think it’s OK just to change your relationship status in order to create the break-up. So break-ups may be occurring in cold and callous ways, but in very public and humiliating ways as well.”

Perhaps technology is simply moving faster than our ability to adjust to it socially. Dr. Bea believes that over time, people will learn from others’ mistakes and tone down the way they use social media. Like anything else, we learn through experience.

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