Well, some people would like to claim that it is a leading cause of affairs. The truth is that a social media platform cannot take the blame for the poor choices that people make in relationships. What causes people to cheat emotionally and physically is their free will to step outside of their marriage - social media is a symptom. Granted it makes it easier, but fidelity and taking a vow seriously tells us not to message that old flame.
Generally, when I see Facebook cheater memes floating around the internet, they also speak to communication, trust and faithfulness. While those are all necessary pieces in a long-term and stable relationship, so is basic human goodness. A cheater is still the same person with or without the added benefit of social media. They have a choice to lie and cheat over being faithful and trustworthy. Free will makes someone seek out an affair on Facebook or anywhere else. End of story.
"Didn't you see it on Facebook?"
That is the single worst question of the 21st century! We are gluttons for gossip, instant news and what the hot girl we crushed on in high school ate for breakfast. Mirror, mirror on the wall, Facebook isn't to blame at all! You are the one who eats it up and checks the notifications every five minutes.
You are the one who makes assumptions based off of a single photo or status update. You are the one who uses social media to stalk a crush or an ex. So knock the blame game off already and take responsibility for your actions. For someone like me, there is no escape from social media. It is a vital tool in promotion and client outreach. I have a message to share with people because helping people is what I do for a living. What is your excuse?
It used to be that there were two sides to every story. His and hers, as it were, with the actual truth somewhere in between. Now we have "versions." His version, her version, what each of you puts on social media and the gossip it generates. The internet is like the old game of telephone, but on steroids. Honestly, people, we're grownups and most of us can remember a time before Facebook. Certainly gossip happened, but our every move was not played out for 450 of our closest and not-so-closest friends to see.
Not everything on the internet is true - just in case you were wondering. But research has shown that keep your ex in your newsfeed is stunting your ability to grow as a human being. I've always thought that surveillance was for the FBI, but clearly there's some stage-five social media clinging being researched.
Research has found that Facebook does indeed impact relationships, relationship patterns, and even how people break up. According to Tara C. Marshall, a psychologist that has studied Facebook break-up behavior:
Analysis of the data provided by 464 participants revealed that Facebook surveillance was associated with greater current distress over the breakup, more negative feelings, sexual desire, and longing for the ex-partner, and lower personal growth. Participants who remained Facebook friends with the ex-partner, relative to those who did not remain Facebook friends, reported less negative feelings, sexual desire, and longing for the former partner, but lower personal growth.
To put it more plainly: if you partake in this behavior or acknowledge/engage in it with others, you are stunting your emotional growth and future relationship potential. While research shows distress and negativity associated with Facebook, it doesn't excuse personal behavior. In the end it is up to the individual to involve themselves or walk away.
Cheating, lies, poor choices, people incapable of monogamy and so on, are the reason(s) that your marriage failed. And 100 percent of the time, you are partially responsible for the marriage ending. Before you lose it, no, I am not lumping in abusive spouses here. That's a totally different animal altogether.
It takes two to make a vow. It takes two to honor it. It takes two, working at their full potential, to make it last and stay on purpose. People always get mad when I tell them they are also at fault. Sorry, not sorry -- you are and the sooner you take responsibility for your behavior too, the sooner we can have a sensible conversation about the "effects of social media."
Marriage is not a crock pot. You can't set it and forget it. Lifting the lid to check the temperature is a must. So before you check Facebook today, check in with your spouse. What's on their mind today?