I recently attended a seminar where I was talking to another attorney about whether more marriages are ending because one or the other spouse is involved in an extra-marital affair. It was her position that she sees almost all of her clients coming in to seek a divorce based upon one or the other spouses' infidelity. I thought about this for awhile. My response was that I have seen every possible reason for a divorce imaginable. There are possibly more affairs now, but I still see a lot of marriages ending for many other reasons.
Her position was that the internet has had a tremendous impact upon relationships. I believe it has. Twenty or thirty years ago, when people would have an affair, it would often evolve gradually over many weeks and months -- sometimes years. Co-workers would often become involved starting with chats over coffee, or at the water cooler, and then going to lunches and gradually going from talking to something more. With the rise of instant communication, the attorney I was speaking to believes that things happen much faster. Rather than relationships gradually evolving over many months, people today text, e-mail, and communicate at a much more rapid pace. This enhances and speeds up the romance and expectations. Everything is intensified with the click of a computer key. People used to get to know one another gradually over months. Now people think that they know one another in hours or days, especially with our high-speed technology that increases the need for instant gratification. Just like everything else, relationships seem to speed up in our fast-paced cyber society. With the stroke of a key, or by touching the send button, things can evolve almost instantaneously.
After thinking about it for awhile, there is no question that e-mail, texting, Twitter, and perhaps sexting -- along with phone sex and every other high-tech convenience -- has not only sped up our daily life and peoples' expectations, but has also led to quicker encounters. This means more affairs, and perhaps an increased number of marriages breaking up due to technology.
I believe that human frailties are the same, but the temptations and the speed at which everything happens is clearly far greater than it was before the rapid changes in our means of communication. Perhaps people are more easily tempted and get into trouble more quickly than they used to. What do you think?
By: HENRY S. GORNBEIN
Family Law Attorney & Legal Correspondent
40900 Woodward Avenue, Ste. 111
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304-5116
248/594-3444; Fax 248/594-3222