Here’s a true story about the end of a friend’s marriage and whether Facebook had a role in ending it. Not! The first-person point of view all comes from her.
First of all, get those hands off your hips! Stop wagging that index finger! Don’t judge me because you don’t know my story, at least, not yet. In the words of Ricky Ricardo, I know I’ve got a lot of “splainin’ to do” as I desperately try to yank open those pearly gates but I’ll deal with it at that point. Meanwhile, I know there are a lot of you out there who view social networking forums like Facebook, infidelity sites, cybersex as divisive, home-wrecking systems that do nothing but foster extramarital connections and produce collateral damage (ruin the lives of children).
I’ve read the statistics that are floating around out there — four out of every five U.S. divorce lawyers obtain evidence from Facebook posts, according to a recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
Well, let me break it down: Facebook does not break up marriages. People do!
The blueprint for marriage begins with the foundation and if yours is shaky then you’ll just stumble along until it disintegrates. But oftentimes because of children, societal demands and expectations, or for business reasons, married folks decide to just stay in their unhappy relationship and mostly, to the detriment of themselves. Ergo, my situation to a fare-thee-well.
My husband and I were married when we were in our early twenties, a classic tale. I thought he would be a great provider and I would gain spiritual favor with my maker. Coming from a strong Christian background, getting married was the right thing to do and long courtships were frowned upon in my circle. I had convinced myself that I loved my husband so I kicked my misgivings to the curb and went through with the marriage thinking that I’d have no regrets.
I accepted my perfunctory role as a wife. Soon after the kids came and I tried my damndest to do the right thing, stay on course and strive to make my home a content one. On the surface, we were an exemplary pair but deep down I knew my heart did not fully belong to him.
Two years ago, I discovered Facebook. I had heard so much about it and curiosity led me down its path. I signed up and began my journey to find friends, acquaintances, former co-workers and family members, whom I’ve lost track of along the way. On one particular day and with much trepidation, I attempted to find my high school sweetheart and since he had an odd first name, I didn’t think that I would have to sift through too many. I found his name immediately and sent a message asking if he was the person whom I had been seeking. Two days later, bingo! He responded and our cyber relationship began.
Back in high school we were Frick and Frack–inseparable. We dated for two years and I envisioned my life with him by my side. Unfortunately, we parted ways when our educational ambitions placed us at different colleges, states apart. After a while, we tried to maintain our relationship but the attempts grew more and more difficult and we finally went our separate ways. He always remained in my heart and I pined for him through every one of my relationships.
Countless Facebook messages resorted to phone conversations and eventually, a face-to-face meeting. As soon as we met, we knew we had crossed those scary lines–sugar, honey, ice, tea, it was a done deal. I was 20 years into my marriage and he, 18. I had three children and he had 2. As our relationship progressed, we knew we were in it, do or die.
So many marriages have ended the way mine did, via infidelity. I don’t blame Facebook because in the words of the great Martha Stewart, “it was a good thing.” Facebook brought me the true love of my life and I back together. Granted my life has became the stuff of soap opera tragedy especially now during the divorce proceedings. Trying to get out of a long time union ain’t an easy feat but on the flip side, remaining in an emotionless marriage is so much more destructive not only to the people involved but to the children as well.
In this virtual and connected world, Facebook has been deemed a scapegoat, labeled a home-wrecker, it has even been referred to as “the highway to hell” by some fundamentalists. Just because some people aren’t secure enough in their relationships to use Facebook without cheating, doesn’t mean that everyone who is married will cave to the temptations that may be present. The popular social networking site is not the demise of marriage, simply put.