Blog 2: Why not just have an affair?

As I searched for an interesting article on interpersonal relationships and social media, I came across too many of the same problems. Man leaves wife for Internet “friend.” Child is molested because of social media networking pedophiles on Myspace and the list goes on and on. Are there ever any positive stories about social media on the news and online? Doesn’t really seem like it. So to follow the negativity, I chose an article title “Can Social Media Break Up A Marriage?” written by Jennifer Ludden. Can social media break up a relationship or do people break up their relationships?

Mike Green, a typical married man who completely trusted his wife and lost all of that love and trust after her affair with her coworker. Seems like an ordinary everyday problem, right? No. In this modern age of social media, her outlets for having an affair increased tremendously through her use of texting, Myspace, and Facebook. Back in 2005, Mike’s wife asked to get texting on her phone and her husband paid no interest and added texting to their phone service plan. Mike soon noticed she seemed to text all the time because he came home late from work almost every night. He noticed a phone bill and saw hundreds upon hundreds of texts from particularly one number. Mike eventually realized it was his wife started to have an affair with her colleague and whom she left him for. She used Myspace and Facebook to talk to him all the time. Poor Mike, right? Maybe not.

The article continues to state “when you don’t have nonverbal communication, the likelihood of being able to disclose at a deeper level is greater, because there’s less inhibition, so it’s going to feel like a more intimate relationship.” This can be why Mike’s wife moved on so quickly with a mere coworker. Later when Mike made his own social media connections and started texting he realized how easy and addictive it was. Was he starting to sympathize with his ex-wife? “I find myself still loving to get texts from females, and I text, text, text, back and forth,” says Mike. I don’t know whether I should be mad Mike is doing exactly what his ex wife did to cheat on him or happy that he’s finally accepting social media? Oh… the confusions of SMN.

Donath and boyd might explain this as “seeing someone within the context of their connections provides the viewer with information about them,” which later makes them feel a closer connection with that person faster. In the fascinating documentary Life 2.0, Amy and Steven have extramarital affairs through their use of Second Life. Their uniquely created Avatars on the site allowed them to meet online and eventually in “real life.” They both separated from their spouses and tried living with each other. “In the pseudonymous dating scene, a frequent complaint is that people act rudely towards each other in ways that they would not do to people they knew in a more integrated social environment.” At first it seemed like Amy and Seven were crazy in love after meeting in real life, but later the documentary goes to show Amy as the victim and Steven as a fake that left her for India. Was Amy really a victim or was Amy’s ex husband the victim of her affair with Steven? I choose her ex husband.

Ludden ends up portraying Mike’s ex wife as a “not so bad kind of a person because everyone does this kind of stuff.” He is a victim to a certain extent, but could he have been that naïve? No one deserves to be cheated on. I mean if you’re not happy, just leave? Why have an affair with your coworker? I just have a whole lot of unanswered questions after reading this article. Will Mike be able to fully trust a woman again? I wouldn’t. Texting, Facebook, and Myspace doesn’t necessarily lead to an affair or ultimately divorce, but it does give people a way to get more intimate with others fairly quickly. In the past, Facebook has caused me to have confusions and suspicions about a boyfriend or best friend, but it hasn’t been the sole reason of a “break up.” Loyola University issued a press release warning married couples to protect their marriages from Facebook. Studies say that 1 in every 5 marriages are ruined by Facebook. I don’t blame Facebook. I blame it on the cheating spouse. Connections formed on social networking sites aren’t simple at all and a spouse should know when they are crossing the line with the interactions they are having with friends, old lovers, etc. Communicate effectively not deceivingly.

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3 Comments

  1. sn1014

     /  February 22, 2012

    The effects of social media networking on spouse-to-spouse relationships has acquired a poor reputation. It is evident that many relationships have ended because of jealousy and cheating that were blamed on the use of social networks.
    We all wonder, is it really the social networks that destruct the relationships, or have the users chosen to act immorally upon the options given to them. It seems clear in your blog that you blame then cheating spouse rather than the social network itself.
    I do not disagree that the cheating spouse is to be blamed. I also do not believe in pointing fingers at the social network because everyone has a choice to do as they please. I was even going to reply to a different post commending it’s positive attitude toward the connection between social networks and relationships. I myself have actually experienced a successful relationship with a person I met on Facebook (which is why I disagree slightly with Donath and Boyd that most relationships on Facebook are preexisting and taken to the online world to be strengthened…) Can’t blame the keyboard for the message you type..
    However, a part of me does have to admit that social networks do take part in the act of cheating or creating jealousy. Why? Because these social networks do provide access to people that would otherwise be more difficult to reach. For example, say you and your spouse are already having at home (if the relationship was already going wrong, than it relates to the idea that strong social ties are not affected by social networking, but may instead affect the way one will use the networks.) Recently, a co-worker has caught your eye. Facebook messaging can be a private way to reach them without your spouse seeing the text on your phone or bill.
    Another example. Facebook provides an extremely easy to make an ex, a spouse, or even a friend jealous. It’s just too easy! The temptation of uploading a photo that will guarantee an instant effect is at the fingertips of the public!
    Again, I am not agreeing that the cheater is not to blame, nor do I believe that the social network is fully at fault. Surely, if a non-social network user wanted to cheat on his wife, I’m sure he’d find a way. My end note is that social networking has made it easier to conduct the act of cheating secretly or cause jealousy (And other feelings) to another.

    Reply
  2. danirait

     /  February 23, 2012

    Hey Tahmina,
    Great post! A topic brought up in your article that I wish you talked a little bit more about in your post was the actual idea of social media bringing people closer together. The article says, “people communicating online often fall for each other in about a week. That’s two or three times as fast — on average — as those courting face-to-face.” I think this quote touches on a question that we have repeatedly referred back to throughout the semester—does social media allow people to be more or less intimate with one another? One side of this argument is that social media prohibits people from having “real” face-to-face interaction, which would in turn forbid or at least slow down the process of making a true connection. On the other hand, as this article points out, there is less inhibition, which allows people, “to disclose at a deeper level.” The discourse of this article definitely credits social media with establishing emotional connections between people. What do you think?

    Reply

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