Facebook and Relationships: It's Complicated
A study done in the United Kingdom says more than a third of divorce filings mention the word Facebook. We asked a local attorney and a therapist to weigh in on how this social medium is affecting our relationships.
Barbara Cole who is a licensed mental health counselor at Great Oaks Counseling says Facebook doesn't cause marital problems, but if issues exist, behavior on Facebook may exasperate the problems.
She says people may spend too much time on Facebook which can detach them to in-person relationships. Also, some people feel the need to vent about their spouse or significant other online which can be hurtful and damaging. Cole says the most serious offense though, is when people "friend" their exes and open a door to an inappropriate relationship.
Angela Dunne is an attorney with Koenig Dunne Divorce Law. She doesn't believe there are any more divorces now than in the recent past. However, she does think people who are willing to cheat now have easier access to "the other man" or "the other woman."
She says Facebook has also changed how attorneys do their jobs.
Dunne says, "I usually tell my clients, be mindful, God, the judge and me are all going to be reading anything that transpires."
Dunne says attorneys often use material posted on Facebook in cases regarding alimony, child support and child custody cases.
Barbara Cole says she advises spouses to keep their online behavior open with each other which includes sharing passwords.