Does Facebook put marriages in jeopardy? This question came up recently on Twitter and has been on my mind ever since. While I’d agree that the ease of getting back in touch with old flames and the temptation to participate in mild flirtations could pose a risk, I also think there are things couples can do to safeguard their unions in the face of these social media seductions.
For instance, my husband and I share all our passwords. We didn’t start out doing that as a safeguard—we simply rely on one another to access our respective personal accounts once in a while to do something or another—but I definitely think it’s helpful. It demonstrates trust and transparency; both of which are crucial to a healthy marriage.
I’m not sure which article promoted the Twitter discussion I mentioned, but I thought this article did a pretty good job of examining the issue fairly. A few excerpts:
“Clearly, one online divorce service’s observation doesn’t mean that one in five divorces is Facebook-aided, a stat that has been spreading virally with little regard to accuracy. But no doubt Facebook can be a hazard to many marriages. If a spouse isn’t busy fanning an old flame or engaging in Facebook flirtations with new “friends,” something as simple as the amount of time some spouses spend on social networking sites can hurt relationships and intimacy…
Setting up boundaries to protect your marriage in life and online doesn’t mean you’re an untrusting or jealous person. It means you recognize that even people with the best of intentions can compromise themselves.”
Setting up boundaries. Yes. Absolutely. But where exactly do we place the boundary lines? I’m curious to hear your thoughts. If I may present a few questions…
1. What would you do if a friend of the opposite sex dropped by around noon to pick something up while everyone else is out of the house. Would you invite him/her in? Would it make a difference if your children were at home with you?
2. What would you do if a married person of the opposite gender wanted to have lengthy and private discussions about personal matters with you via email? What about on the phone or in person?
3. What would you do if faced with the opportunity to go on an out-of-town business trip with someone your age of the opposite sex if it were going to be just the two of you? Would you go?
4. What would you do if you encountered an old flame on the Internet? Is it ever appropriate for spouses to maintain friendships with ex-girlfriends/boyfriends with whom they were physically intimate?
5. Do you and your spouse share passwords? Is it ever appropriate for spouses to withhold email or social media passwords from one another?
6. What would you do if a stay-at-home parent of the opposite gender invited you to a playdate where you two would be the only adults present?
What say you? I look forward to reading your responses!