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How the Internet is contributing to divorce

According to the Pew Research Center, a whopping 74 percent of U.S. adults use at least one social networking website. The popularity of social websites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are proof that, whether we like it or not, we live in a world that is increasingly becoming virtual in nature. While social media websites have been credited with everything from reconnecting old friends to encouraging political uprisings against totalitarian regimes, there is another and more negative side to these websites and the Internet in general.

A recent British survey conducted by researchers at The Open University found that, increasingly, social media websites and numerous other dating-related websites have made it much easier for individuals to cheat on their husbands and wives.

Among survey respondents, many spoke to the excitement and thrill associated with being able to take on a new persona and essentially become a new person in the virtual world. However, the thrill and excitement can have devastating repercussions with regard to an individual's real life and marriage.

As evidence of just how damaging virtual infidelity and affairs can be, a 2011 Divorce-Online study found that Facebook was cited in "over one-third of divorce petitions." The Facebook-related grievances ranged from a husband or wife complaining about an inappropriate message a spouse sent to someone else to disparaging comments an angry spouse posted about or on a husband's or wife's page.

While the study found that women, more than men, are likely to take virtual flirting and cheating more seriously; there's no doubt that virtual infidelity can erode trust between spouses and serve as a catalyst for a couple's separation or divorce.

Source: Bustle, "The Internet Has Made Infidelity Easier And Addictive, Says New Study," Kristine Fellizar, Oct. 28, 2015

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