According to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 80 percent of divorce lawyers report a dramatic increase in the number of cases that use evidence drawn from social media sites like Facebook. A number of high-asset divorce cases, such as that of Eva Longoria and Tony Parker, have included evidence from Facebook.
In fact, the phenomenon has become so common that there’s a website dedicated to supporting people who have discovered or are seeking evidence of a spouse’s adultery via Facebook.
Facebook and other social media outlets are an easy way to connect with old friends — and former lovers. A number of people have started to wonder whether social media itself is increasing the rate of infidelity and ruining otherwise solid marriages.
Does Facebook Ruin Marriages?
“Facebook has ruined my marriage of almost 20 years,” one man writes on the website marriagehelper.com. “My wife ‘reconnected’ with old boy friends and even started innocently flirting with a stranger.”
Eva Longoria of “Desperate Housewives” fame has claimed that her now-estranged husband, San Antonio Spurs player Tony Parker, cheated with a Facebook friend he had gotten in touch with early in their marriage. She may use Facebook evidence of that relationship in the couple’s high-asset divorce.
So, does Facebook encourage infidelity?
According to marriage counselor Terry Real, social media sites may encourage or facilitate infidelity, but they aren’t the reason for it.
“There is nothing more seductive than the ‘one that got away’ fantasy [it] is always better than someone who’s up to her eyeballs in bills and diapers,” he told ABC News.
People often make connections with long-lost friends and loves, assuming they will be simply platonic. Sometimes they do turn into something more, but that can’t be blamed on Facebook.
“Before it was e-mail, then before that it was the phone,” Real said. “The problem is not Facebook, it is the loss of love in your marriage.”
Source: ABC News, “Facebook Infidelity: Cheating Spouses Go Online,” Juju Chang, November 30, 2010