Facebook Ruined Your Marriage? No, You Did

by Erik Sass

(Note: Taken from MediaPost’s “The Social Graf” on February  7th.)

Well, I guess it was inevitable. With millions of bored people whiling away the empty hours on Facebook, reconnecting with old friends and stalking their ex’s, there was going to be some hanky panky — and some relationships were going to be ruined, and some marriages were going to end in divorce. And then someone was going to start a Facebook page (or actually, a bunch of pages) about it.

Variations on the theme include “Facebook Ruined My Marriage!!!!!” and “Facebook Ruined my relationship,” but they all have two things in common: they all blame Facebook for wreaking emotional chaos in their lives, and as I have noted in previous columns, they are all wrong.

I’m not trying to minimize or make light of the distress that results from a bad breakup; most of us have been there, and needless to say it really sucks. So it’s not really surprising that individuals suffering from the ensuing emotional turmoil go looking for culprits — and what better villain than the medium which made it all possible? It was Facebook, see, Facebook all along!

Sorry, folks, but that dog don’t hunt. I know it’s hard to think rationally when you are drowning your sorrows in a bottle of merlot, but let’s try to be logical here: first of all, what about the tens, nay, hundreds of millions of people who are simultaneously in relationships and on Facebook, without adverse effect? And what of the fact that infidelity is older than the human race (indeed, probably older than mammals), practiced by birds and even barnacles?

No, the fact is that people ruin their marriages and relationships by cheating. While one might reasonably argue that Facebook increases the sources of temptation and makes it easier to be unfaithful, this is at most a sad comment on the character of the individuals involved: basically you’re saying they were always open to the idea of cheating, but simply too lazy to act on their impulses before online social networks came along. This is just latent infidelity, waiting to be exposed. Anyway, by this reasoning (“technology made it easier”) the victims should also be saying “The telephone, internal combustion engine, and contraception ruined my marriage!”



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