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Facebook can have harmful effects on some relationships

Susan Kim, Stephanie Graham

Facebook can have harmful effects on some relationships

CREATED Dec. 20, 2012

It's a disturbing statistic: A U.K. study found 1/3 of all divorce filings mention the word Facebook.

Constant connections at our fingertips--Facebook brings our friends to our screen, but it is possible to over-connect.

It's a place where beauty comes to life, and gossip comes out. The salon--these days the chat on the chair often involves Facebook, and what we say or vent about online.

Barbara Cole is a therapist. She says, "They're getting sympathy, getting validation, getting support instead of keeping it here in the couple relationship where the actual relationships can be resolved."

She says Facebook doesn't cause marital problems, but for couples already on the edge, it can push them over. We spend too much time surfing statuses, we overshare, or we see an ex pop up and think, why can't we be friends?

"I hear this one a lot, where they thought it would be innocent, they thought it would not be a problem, they find themselves interacting more and more, old feelings are rekindled, and they opened a door they wish they had kept shut," Cole explains.

Angela Dunne is a divorce attorney. She says divorce and affairs aren't any more common these days, but Facebook-fueled inappropriate relationships certainly are.

"They come in, they've reconnected or rekindled and the other, the aggrieved spouse who was the victim to a connection being made and they were out left in the cold," Dunne warns.

Dunne says Facebook has also changed how she does her job. If a client decides to go through with a divorce, she advises them to watch their online behavior.

Facebook can be an endless supply of information for divorce attorneys when it comes to alimony, child support, and child custody. Your image online better match up to your appearance in court.

"We've had guys where they like to take pictures of their cash and put that on Facebook. Probably not smart if you're going to claim you're not making any income for child support purposes," Dunne says.

It's not just you. Your family and your friends can paint you in a bad light with their posts.

Experts suggests limiting your Facebook time to no more than a half hour a day.

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