The Impact of Technology on Marriages

February 19, 2014 by

  1. Technology has transformed the way people relate. As fun as social networking and texting can be, they can be damaging to your relationship.
  2. Individuals who use Facebook excessively are far more likely to experience Facebook-related conflict, which can then lead to emotional and physical cheating and breakups.
  3. The same is true of texting. It is another easy means of socializing. Couples increasingly blame affairs that began through texting a colleague, as the reason for their divorce.

So what is the problem with social media sites and texting?

Facebook: One in five divorces involve the social networking site Facebook. The sense of anonymity online makes it possible for people to flirt and act on romantic fantasies without thinking that they are putting their marriages at risk.

Many breakups involve social media users who get back in touch with past partners. There is nothing more seductive that the ‘one that got away’ fantasy. It is easy for that fantasy to become something you want to test out in real time.

Here’s a frightening statistic… people communicating online often fall for each other in about a week! That's two or three times as those courting face-to-face. Even if you never have an affair, social media sites compete for your attention. If your attention is going toward a screen, it is not going toward your partner.

Texting: It's a good feeling to have attention coming your direction. At first it can feel harmless to banter with someone from work. The rush from the excitement and intrigue is so addictive, that people will sit next to their spouses and text flirtatious, and intimate communications.

Before texting most married people wouldn’t call a colleague at home to say “Hey what’s up?” You would worry what they would think or how their spouse would respond if they answered. Now people text one another about work at all times of the day. It is easy for personal and intimate communication to slip in.

Facebook and texting don’t break up a marriage, people do. But opportunity is a key predictor of infidelity, and technology allows multiple opportunities for exiting the tension of the marriage, versus dealing with the issues.

Therapists' Tips

Keeping Marriages Facebook-Fight and Text-Affair Free

  • Limit Screen Time: Never check your texts, or Facebook, or emails when you are on a date or having conversational time with your partner.
  • Know Each Other’s Passwords. If you and your spouse don't have a joint Facebook account, then share passwords to each other's account. This also goes for cell phone and email passwords.
  • Pay Honest Attention to Your Feelings. Don’t write any texts that you would want your partner to read. Do not text colleagues after hours about anything that can wait until tomorrow and do not mention anything personal.
  • When An Ex Resurfaces. If you get a "friend" request from an old flame, talk with your spouse about whether you should reply and how that will make your spouse feel.
  • Text Your Partner Regularly. Say sweet, suggestive and spicy words to the one with whom you have a commitment.
  • Deal With the Problems in Your Marriage.  Stay current in dealing with marriage issues so that your bond is rock solid.