I sat in a seminar about social media the other day. I consider myself fairly well versed in the topic, but it was nice to hear about many of the different forms out there and how they are used. I also learned about a couple I had never visited.
There is one thing that was mentioned that has stuck with me. The same social problems that have been around for years exist within the world of social media, and those problems can be magnified because of it.
The presenter told us that there have been studies done linking Facebook with the rising divorce rate. After attending the seminar I came home to see if I could find any articles that spoke on the subject. One writer estimated that within five years Facebook would be one of the largest outlets for infidelity that man has ever known. Who knows if that is true, but think of the implications.
As social networking grows, our ability to connect with people we haven’t seen in years increases. What about that boyfriend/girlfriend from high school? Or that summertime relationship from camp? Or the one you met your senior year spring break in Cancun? Fifteen years ago those connections would have been long lost. Now it is as easy as point and click. It is very easy to reconnect. And sometimes very dangerous.
I am an advocate for marriage. It drives me nuts when I hear people talking about how marriage isn’t what it used to be. I say that it is not marriage that has gone wrong. It is that person’s marriage. Marriage is comprised of two people who have vowed to walk with each other through all of life, the good and the bad. It is two individuals who have chosen to be one. Problems arise when one of the individuals (or both) start making choices that damage the union. It is not marriage that has gone wrong, but the individual that has chosen poorly.
When someone chooses to get online and reconnect with old love interests it can create tension and excitement. You were really into them at one point in time and you find that there is still electricity there. It is exciting, but oh so dangerous. If you are married, this is very thin ice to tread on. Why have you contacted them? What is to be gained by reconnecting? If you are just saying hello after many years (and your spouse is fully aware of the contact) I see no issue with it. However, if you start having deep conversations behind your spouses back it can lead to emotional infidelity, which can lead to full blown affairs.
I was discussing all of this the other night over dinner with friends. We all are very committed to our marriages and can see how social networking can facilitate inappropriate relationships. In the discussion I made a comment that seemed to fit. The grass is not only greenest on the side where you water, it is greenest on the side where there are difficulties. When we work through hard times together it fertilizes our relationships. We have the chance to grow together through the good times and bad. It isn’t easy, but it is worth it.
I love my wife with all that I am. I want my actions and words to reflect that. If that means that there are people I have to deny Facebook requests from then so be it. We have been married 11 years now and it has been the most rewarding time of my life. We have grown up a lot. She has helped shape me into a man that I am proud to be. I know I have been a positive influence on her as well. We have worked hard to be where we are. I would not for one moment want to throw it away for someone that I either dumped or got dumped by, or for anyone else for that matter.
Social problems are the same as they have always been. Social media has helped magnify them. If there are problems in your relationship, I doubt they will be fixed online talking to an ex.
Have you encountered this? Have you had Facebook requests from old flames? How have you responded?