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.