In ironic recognition of the recent marriage of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, a study was released this week showing that Facebook is either responsible for or involved in approximately 1/3 of divorces in the UK. You can bet the number is just as high in social networking-obsessed North America, and maybe even higher. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers confirmed that the number of divorces where Facebook was a factor has shot up in the last few years.

How has Facebook become such a huge contributing factor to the breakdown of marriage?

The main reason is the fact that Facebook accelerates the development of relationships by providing extensive personal information about and an outlet through which individuals can communicate publicly or privately. K Jason Krafsky, co-author of the book “Facebook and Your Marriage,” found that Facebook is the perfect opportunity to connect with new love interests or even old flames. Furthermore, Krafsky says that adulterous relationships, such as office romances or out-of-town affairs, which may have historically taken years to develop, are happening at lightning-speed thanks to Facebook. This is largely due to the fact that it has become the norm to “friend” someone you’ve met only once, or even not at all. It creates a venue through which individuals can get to know each other very well, very quickly, with merely the click of a mouse.

Even in cases where affairs develop offline, Facebook interactions have been shown to ignite suspicion amongst spouses, either through flirty messages, photos or cryptic comments made to or by mutual friends.

Facebook has made personal information far too accessible. It has completely changed the way we interact with friends, family, and acquaintances. People who haven’t seen or spoken to each other for 20 years can still know intimate details of each others lives, which makes re-connecting all too easy.

If you use Facebook, be careful what kind of personal information you offer up to virtual strangers. If you aren’t happy in your marriage, work on it. If you can’t fix it, get out. Don’t become part of the 33% of marriages destroyed by Facebook.

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