In 2012, divorce lawyers surveyed by Divorce-Online UK said that the social network, Facebook, was implicated in a third of all divorce filings the previous year. Internet use in general has made infidelity much easier and online cheating is on the rise. Online users find many opportunities to connect across the web anonymously, leading individuals to share more about themselves and developing relationships as a result.
In a study conducted by the University of Florida on Internet infidelity, researchers found that many cyber-cheaters started online relationships as curious friendships, but eventually went on to cheat. Some men and women in the study used chat-rooms specifically geared toward ‘married-but-searching’, where a third of the study participants went on to meet the person with whom they made contact.
More men than women were found to explore online chat rooms, but women are catching up according to Katherine Hertlein, a licensed marriage and family therapist and assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She blames the growth in female infidelity on social sites because of the anonymity and the popularity among women.
With online cheating on the rise, many counselors now recommend transparency and communication between couples as the remedy. They believe couples should have total access to each other’s social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter to build accountability. Discussing the Internet just as seriously as they discuss whether or not to have children before they marry is also encouraged. To prevent future problems, young couples and those in long-term commitments, need to talk about the role the Internet will play in their relationship because it is here to stay.
Source: USA Today, “Preventing Online Infidelity”, by Kim Komando, 03/29/2012