Like many people, reality shows are my guilty pleasure. Real Housewives of Atlanta, Basketball Wives, Flavor Of Love, I Love New York…I’m here for all of them. I used to really love watching Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey’s show, Newlywed’s, when they were still together. Then, I looked up one day and it was announced that they were getting a divorce. Huh? But they looked and acted so in love on their show. Then, I found another couple to fall in love with- Porsha Williams and Kordell Stewart when they came onto the Atlanta Housewives. Although I immediately saw straight through Kordell and saw him for the control freak he is, I still liked them as a couple. Before I could get used to them on the show, they were divorced.
It’s often been said that reality tv is the place where marriages go to die, that no matter how much in love a couple seems, there’s always a storm brewing off-camera that viewers aren’t aware of until it’s brought to light, by way of a divorce announcement. So, that got me to thinking, is Facebook the equivalent to reality tv shows for normal, everyday couples, who’s lives and marriages aren’t put on display for the entire world to see?
I’ll admit, I am a bit of a Facebook junkie. I’m a homebody, I have no man, and aside from my two kids- who are both at the age where they don’t have time for their mom anymore- I often have nobody to entertain me. So, I spend a lot of time on my phone, scrolling down my Facebook timeline. One of the things I see often is that Facebook is the leading cause for many marriages ending in divorce. Huffington Post posted an article that said: One in seven people said they’d considered divorce because of their spouses’ questionable activity on Facebook, Skype, Snapchat, Twitter or What’sApp, a recent survey of 2,000 married Brits found.
So, I sat and I thought about the responses to this survey. Couples are separating and divorcing because of their spouses ‘activity.’ Meaning, the spouse in question is engaging in conversations that are inappropriate, privately messaging other people, and posting and/or liking photos that offends their spouse and makes them feel jealous and insecure. All of this requires ACTION. In order for a spouse to offend, they must make the decision to log into their account and engage other people, whether innocently or not so innocently. So, Facebook isn’t causing the problems in your marriage, the actions of the offending spouse are. The same goes for reality tv couples. The allure of instant fame and recognition that some of these people didn’t get before, the money, and/or the thought of becoming an even bigger tv star is what causes our favorite reality couples to break up. I’ve seen for myself how most of the men really don’t seem all too interested in having cameras thrust in their faces everyday, but the wife is too busy soaking up all the attention she’s getting from everybody else (fans) to realize that her husband is miserable…until it’s too late.
Look at it this way. People often say guns are dangerous, but that’s not true. A loaded handgun lying on a table is no more dangerous to you than an infant child. It takes a person to pick up that gun, load it, and pull the trigger in order for it to become dangerous and do damage. The same is true of relationships, on or off social media. One person in the relationship has to log onto these sites and engage other people inappropriately in order for their relationship to be threatened. Nobody on Facebook can cause problems in your marriage unless YOU allow them to…by constantly talking (flirting) with people other than your spouse; by going to Facebook every time you have a problem and posting about it, rather than privately talking with your spouse to work it out.
And I will be the first person to say that I was guilty of some of these things as well. Some of us just really need to vent sometimes, so we will unconsciously post about what we’re going through on Facebook, not necessarily to get responses from other people, but just to…vent. We all do it- whether it’s about work, our kids, neighbors, or whatever. The problem is, there’s always someone out there just watching and waiting for you to express that you’re unhappy…because misery loves company. If your spouse is the reason for your unhappiness at that particular moment, it’s easy to get caught up inappropriate conversation. One minute, someone is saying, “Oh, sorry you’re having a bad day,” the next minute, they’ve sent you a private inbox message, which opens the doors to flirting and eventually cheating and sharing things that should only be shared with your spouse. Again, all of this only happens because one person in the relationship chooses to allow it to happen.
So, Facebook is not the reason for so many marriages ending in divorce, the people using Facebook to cheat and engage in behavior they know they shouldn’t, are. The easy way to solve this problem is to stop putting your private business out there for everybody to read it. Stop giving them ammunition to destroy the bond you have worked to build with your spouse. These are things I’ve learned from my marriage and divorce. Keep some things sacred, between you and your mate, whether it’s good or bad. Facebook can be fun and it’s what you make it, but everybody over-shares these days, married or not. Whatever is happening in our lives, the first thing we want to do is post it on Facebook. But look at it this way- I’ve often heard women say they wouldn’t trust a female (family or not) around their man when she’s not home, and you should never tell your girlfriends everything that goes on between you and your man, because one day you’ll look up, and she’s moved in on your territory..wanting to walk in your shoes and see for herself. The same rule should apply to Facebook, where you have not only friends and family watching everything you post, but strangers and enemies as well. You’d be surprised at who watches your posts, even if they never click like or comment on a single one of them.
Ladies, don’t invite drama into your marriage by taking all of your dirty laundry to social media to air it out. Some of the main people who are constantly co-signing everything you say, are the same one’s hitting up your spouse in his inbox. And don’t think that because you’ve put him on a leash and made him have a joint page with you- so you can see everything he does- that you’re ensuring he won’t cheat..people make numerous pages and block certain people from them all the time. He could have another page and you’d never even know it. You’re not with him 24/7, not matter what measures you go to. If he wants to cheat, he’s going to do it, on or off Facebook. Also, Facebook is not the only social media site out there. It seems that every time I look up, there’s a new app (Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Tango) that allows people to interact with the world. At the end of the day, there’s no absolute way to guarantee your spouse won’t cheat. People were having affairs long before social media was invented. However, don’t help him out the door by oversharing your business on Facebook. You didn’t marry your followers, so stop giving them so much access into your private life. But don’t blame Facebook for ending your marriage if you’re letting it all hang out, for everybody to see. And that’s all I have to say about that.