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Can Rising Divorce Rates be Attributed to New Technology?

Most people use social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace. Even more have phone plans that allow them to text to their hearts' content. This type of communication can connect the user with anyone at anytime, making it easy for people to get to know one another.

But all this new communication technology has become a problem for some couples, resulting in divorce in some cases. They are finding that things like texting can actually cause their partners to be unfaithful. It becomes easy to conceal relationships that take place online or over text.

For some, texting has played a role in breaking up a relationship, even a marriage. One man discovered that his wife had been having an affair with a man from work; their relationship began through text conversations. He just thought she loved texting. Eventually she left him for the man she was having the affair with.

Another woman had a similar experience. She had no idea that while she was with her boyfriend he was texting another woman. Even though he wasn't necessarily physically having an affair with her, the emotional attachment was still there.

With a rising divorce rate in America, can we blame social media for being one of the catalysts for broken relationships? No doubt that it is not the sole reason why divorces and separation continue to occur. But does it make it easier for people to have affairs?

Research has shown that online communication actually speeds up the relationship process and can create intimacy much quicker than in-person interaction. Forms of communication such as texting can create uninhibited conversation, increasing vulnerability between the two people.

When a texting affair begins, the individuals involved may not realize that it could lead to a messy divorce. If there are children involved, the couple will have to determine child custody and visitation while also dealing with the emotional piece of divorce. Because of this, something seemingly harmless can quickly escalate into a bigger, unanticipated problem.

Source: NPR online, "Can Social Media Break Up a Marriage," Jennifer Ludden, 02 November 2010

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