catch their spouse in the act of sending flirty emails or messages
and decide to call it quits. Some are turning to a growing
market of software that helps suspicious husbands or wives track
their spouse's online activity.
In other cases the divorce
was happening with or without the site, but partners are being
shocked to find out online that their partner plans on divorcing
them. Emma Brady, who works as a conference organizer, only
found out that her husband was planning on ditching her after he
posted a Facebook profile change and she received a status update
informing her that "Neil Brady has ended his marriage to Emma
The lawyers' statements are supported by a recent
study by social psychologists at the University of Guelph in
Ontario. In the study, entitled "More
Information than You Ever Wanted: Does Facebook Bring Out the
Green-Eyed Monster of Jealousy?", they discovered that
Facebook leads to increased suspicion and distrust in relationships.
They also found that users get in a feedback loop where their
increased surveillance leads to them discovering suspicious looking
activity, which in turn leads to more surveillance. Some users
used the word "addiction" to describe how they felt about
their compulsive monitoring of their lovers' pages.
isn't the only site or service that's involved in marriage problems.
Other social networks like Bebo and MySpace are causing similar
problems. And online games such as Second Life and World of
Warcraft are also posing a problem as people try to decide the
acceptability of their spouse engaging in a virtual
Amy Taylor, 28, split up with her husband David
Pollard after she found that he was frequenting a Second Life
Another growing trend is infidelity arising from
reunion websites. Sites like Classmates.com and Friends
Reunited are helping people get back in contact with old friends --
and sometimes former flames.
There's approximately 105
million Facebook users in the U.S. (about 1 in 3 people has a
Facebook account) and MySpace has about 50.2
million regular visitors. In the UK there's 14 million
active social networking users. Worldwide, there's over
11 million World of Warcraft users and Second Life boasts
over 7 million unique users with repeated logins.
divorce rates have dipped slightly from record highs, currently
standing at about 40 percent in the U.S. and the UK. Marriage
rates as a whole, though, have dropped, which may help explain why
the divorce rate has also dropped.