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Another marriage ends…thanks facebook April 4, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 8:29 AM
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A friend’s marriage broke up recently, her husband left her. I was shocked. On the surface the couple had it all. At the very least they were kind, caring, normal people who seemed so happy.

“He must have cheated.” I announced to my husband.

“You’re so bitter,” he said, “You always think the worst of the husband.”

“I’m not bitter, I’m realistic.” I assured him.

I don’t want to think that way. I want to believe that sometimes normal, loving couples just grow apart. But, the thing is, deep down I don’t believe it. I believe women get sick of it all and leave to finally be alone, and men leave for other women.

Okay, maybe I am bitter. I don’t want to have such little faith in men. I have wonderful, loving influences in my life: my father, my husband, my brother-in-law law, my son. They’re the reason I can write male characters in my novels that have some redeeming qualities. I have male friends who are decent, loyal men, and I have relatives who are wonderful husbands and partners as well. Many of my closest female friends have great husbands too.

So what’s with the man-hating theory that men only leave for other women? I don’t really know. After all, women cheat too. Men don’t own the market on being cheating horn-dogs. But I don’t think it’s the cheating in question, it’s the leaving. I just haven’t met a man who left a marriage or long-term relationship without another woman lurking on the horizon, or already in his bed.

I guess I need to be proven wrong. Like perhaps if I had run into this friend and she’d said that she’d met someone else, or that it had ended just because they decided they were better off as friends than lovers. But of course, that isn’t what she told me when I ran into her this weekend.

She told me he’d been conversing with an old high school sweetheart for the last year on Facebook. He left after she gave him the ultimatum to stop all correspondence with her, and he refused. I guess you can’t blame him, he’d already booked the trip out west to meet up with her and his ticket was probably non-refundable. And of course, the woman had likely already arranged childcare for her kids, so what is a cheating couple to do other than move ahead with the deceitful fornication?

I felt terrible for this friend. Her family life was abruptly altered based on the man she trusted for 15 years getting a friend request over Facebook that spiralled into a life altering relationship. Years ago, a spouse would have to get out of the house to cheat. Leave the family at home to go out for drinks, or away on business and happen to run into an old flame, or meet a new one.

But in the world of social media, we have instant reconnection powers at our fingertips. He was able to forge that relationship while he was at work, while his wife was reading in the next room, and while his daughter was watching her favourite show. The problem with this wonderful technology is that it’s so easy – his ass doesn’t even need to leave the chair, and the next thing you know he’s got a plane ticket in his hand and on his way to extramarital sex. Casual banter and reminiscing can move into intimate conversation, which can lead to a warped sense of thinking you know a person you really don’t know anymore. To leave your family for a Facebook friend, no matter how many virtual “pokes” you’ve shared, is pathetic and sad for everyone involved.

So thanks to the ease and accessibility of social networking creeping into marriages….another one bites the dust. Women leave to be alone, men leave for other women. I hate that I always seem to be right on this one.

My dear male blog readers: feel free to try to bring me into the light on this, but you better make it good. I’m a hard nut to crack, and bitter too, apparently.


28 Responses to “Another marriage ends…thanks facebook”

  1. James Says:

    What an indicator for our times! I was reading in Digital Journal about a month ago that a recent article by the largest organization of lawyers in the USA said that 20% of the marital breakups involved the use of social media of some kind. That still leaves 80% from the usual sources – office romances and other places people are put together under stressful conditions.

    (For the sake of this argument I’m going to leave out the men and women who use sex to achieve their ends because they are in their own prurient class and reap what they sow eventually. Let’s keep it to the vast majority of people who want a loving, close relationship in their lives.) I worked for almost 25 years in a high pressure corporate environment. The number of marriages and relationships that I saw deteriorate before my eyes almost always started the same way: the transfer of trust.

    There comes that moment in a relationship between two people (who are not lovers) when one of them shares a confidence or expresses a disappointment involving the behaviour of their current love partner. The willingness to share this feeling/information, as insignificant as it seems at the time, is the beginning of the transfer of trust from the person who is loved to the person who is about to be loved. In the workplace this takes many months and is based on mutual respect as co-workers before it morphs into lust/love or whatever it becomes.

    Social networking allows/encourages this kind of interaction because it is a slow development in most cases.

    The larger question in all of this is why did he transfer his trust to this new person from his existing love partner? And why did she wait a year to give him the ultimatum? My advice to anyone in a relationship is to identify that sense of intimacy that should be at the heart of any healthy relationship, and work diligently together to keep it that way. Trust each other.

    • Well leave it to my favourite poet to come up with such an eloquent reply.

      James – you bring up a very valid point – the transfer of trust is exactly where it begins. It happens in any working environment, because let’s face it – your partner doesn’t always want to hear it, and they often don’t really get it because they don’t know the players involved. Sometimes it’s just easier to talk to someone who does get it. But BLAMO! That is where the breach begins…or can begin. God, love is scary.

      PS – just a note, she waited or debated what to do for 2 days after finding the FB correspondence, but she knew it had went on for a year (because he was stupid enough to keep all the FB emails in his inbox….duh). Cheaters never use their heads.

  2. Scot Says:

    Dear hard and bitter nut 🙂

    Blaming social media for the failure of a marriage in 2011 is like blaming bars for divorce in 1999; it simply doesn’t stand up to the acid test of reality. Marriages fail for a host of reasons, and I submit that the mouse will not play while the cat is away if the union is a strong one. Millions of people reconnect with old friends online and if easy access to the opposite sex were all that it took, we would all be footloose and fancy-free. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the marital discord in this particular story started long before the online dalliance; social media, while new, is a symptom of an age-old disease: Not the disease itself.

    Your Honour … I rest my case.


    • Leza Says:

      Noelle, I am also a bitter hard nut when it comes to this topic (as you know).
      I have yet to see a man leave his wife who doesn’t have some lovin’ arms to run to.
      I completely agree that women leave when they have had enough and men leave once they meet someone who seems to “get” them.
      I have known as many women who have cheated as men, but I know more women who have just plainly left without a certain someone to fall back on.
      Like you said facebook just makes it easier.
      It is a shame that marriage is so disposable these days. I always feel the worst for the children. They always seem to suffer the most…

      • Leza – we always have seen eye to eye.

        For ages I made fun of William because he isn’t on facebook. With his job, he’d have all crazies contacting him and dropping poo bags on our porch. But quite honestly, there is a part of me, that hearing this, says thank god.

        We can’t always be on top of “relationship TLC”. You try your best to stay connected with your partner, but with kids and jobs, and life in general – sometimes you forget to “date” your husband. I’m just glad he’ll have to do it the hard way and haul his ass out of the house to find someone else.


    • LOL…I love that you replied. I have a feeling that the men that do will all be my fellow writers, who by nature, just have a more enlightened view of the world in my opinion.

      So let’s look at this. First of all – LOL.

      Second – I agree, life was obviously not as peachy as it looked from the outside (it never is), but if he didn’t have FB as a forum to reconnect, it would never have gotten to the place of intimacy that it did. He may have run into her at a bar, but the likelihood that it would have turned into an emotional affair is not very probable. It’s the emotional part that really damages. Not that I want my husband screwing anybody either, but it’s the intimacy, the trust, the emotional connection that would hurt more.

      Last little thing, Mr. Magnish…you didn’t comment on whether you think my theory that women leave to be alone and men leave for other women is valid…hmmmm…do tell.

      Please don’t let my FB ranting stop you from connecting with me…lol. I still owe you a call, apologies, I’m way behind the 8-ball. Talk soon.

      • Scot Says:

        Touche, Noelle! And I agree up to a point; social media does allow intimacy to build, sometimes innocently. But. BUT! I think the crux of the argument still stands; if it wasn’t her via social media, it would have been someone else – at the bar, the grocery store, the hot yoga class … because the problem was the marriage.

        As for women leaving to be alone and men leaving for other women … I can only speak for the people I know. Virtually all of my male friends are divorced; none of us left for other women, or even had one conveniently standing by. Damn! Coulda’ woulda’ shoulda’. The same can’t be said about at least two of our spouses, however … but I’m not as sure of myself on this particular sheet of thin ice …. can’t we talk about politics or religion or something?

        Anyhow. Call soon; it’s lonely here in prison.

      • God, you make me laugh…I forgot that about you. It’s been too long. My life eases up next week – so we’ll connect. Hope the warden lets you out. 🙂

  3. Cathy Picco Says:

    Male vs Female infidelity, I love this discussion Noelle! Although I am not a male blogger, here goes from one Gemini to another…

    Subject for Debate: Men more often then women only leave an unhappy situation when they have found a better bed? This may be true statistically, and I tend to agree; however, does it really matter what the circumstances are of the leaver once they are gone? They are still leaving or “quitting” for a better description of the situation. Why is it better for a woman to quit because she wants to be alone?

    I guess my belief after years of practice (and yes I have had my share of relationships) is that accountability is an important factor in a successful happy relationship. It always takes two. It takes two to find each other, takes two to determine if this person is the one that shares similar values, and takes two to keep the trust and love alive. We are not victims in relationship success or failure. It happens because we choose to be, or not to be present, accountable and aware of what our relationship needs are. If I am in a happy healthy relationship there is not an old flame out there that could turn my head at the corner store or on Facebook. My happiness is not solely dependant on my partner fulfilling all my endless needs either. My happiness is a result of my thoughts, feelings and daily actions toward the love of my life, my family, friends and myself.

    For those unfortunate souls who are feeling lost, unappreciated, judged and unloved, that TRUST link is weakend and their resolve may not be as strong. If they want out because they don’t think there is any other way to improve the situation, every cell in their body will scream HELP…and the Universe will always deliver a temptation, an easy exit.

    We all have the power to choose our thoughts and if we are thinking quit instead of practice and repair we will loose the opportunity to strenthen our relationship muscle. We choose how to fix our situations and we choose our thoughts. Relationship patterns will repeat themselves no matter who or where we find ourselves until we wake up and take accountability. Where ever we go there we are! In my opinion Facebook is not to blame, it is just another way out for the lazy and weak at heart.

    • I didn’t want to leave the women out…I just figured they all agreed with me…lol!

      Cathy – you gave me my biggest moment of hmmmmm…. today. When you asked why it was better for a woman to leave to be alone, it made me stop and think. But only for a moment. I would rather have my husband leave me because it was done, over, roommate status…whatever, than leave me because he wanted another person. It is salt on the wound.

      I won’t say that I didn’t hurt people by falling out of love and leaving (because I have) but I can say I never cheated. That’s a lie. I cheated once. But we were on a break (no lie, although I know it was also a “Friends” episode).

      I do think you are bang-on right about one thing…the universe does deliver temptation. And the weak spirit will grab onto it like a life preserver. We all do sometimes.

      Fellow Gemini and old friend…I’m so glad you have found happiness. You both deserve it. Sounds like he got the very best you…once it was all sorted out! One advantage of being 40 instead of 20! Well said, and thanks for the reply Cathy!

      • Cathy Picco Says:

        You got that right Noelle, Steve most certainly got the best me! In my prime and all!! Wink Wink! I can honestly say that I am the happiest I have ever been in all aspects of life. Life experience puts the small things in perspective and taught me where and how to apply my energy to the more important things in life. I may not have had the best role models on how to love but when I learned how to be happy instead of “needing” to be right, peace followed. I find that the people who I would consider relationship mentors all nuture a solid relationship with themselves. The old saying “take your own oxygen mask first” is so important otherwise we only give what we have and it can be very disfunctional.

        I have spent some time reading your blogs and you inspire me. I wrote a childrens book just for fun and started some fiction but never finished. I may have to get some tips!! Anyway keep poking people, it is good to challenge the mind!! Wish you were going to the reunion 🙂 ! You are definitly one of my dear friends I would love to visit with!!

      • Hi Cathy – I would love to see you come out to one of our monthly breakfast meetings. The Writers Community of Durham Region is almost 400 strong and is filled with writers that encourage and inspire.

        We meet once a month for a breakfast meeting in Ajax. you have to RSVP by tomorrow morning for this month (it is Saturday), but we have one every month. If you decide to go – email me and we can sit together and do coffee afterwards. Here’s the link – let me know if you ever feel like checking it out!


  4. Dennis Says:

    I hope im the brother- in-law your talking about. I think the pain we feel when someone close to us splits up is the plain truth that if it could happen to them it could happen to me or Us. It scares us. I know the feeling of someone close splitting up. It was the mans fault. he hooked up with a woman from Germany. I watched as this mans attitude changed over the summer. We new somthing was up and it was. He left his wife and 2 kids for a yonger woman. I dont get it he is now a father again with the new wife. I wonder how long before he leaves her. Bottom line is. If things are not happy on the home front one or the other will move on In one way or another. Sad but true.

    • Of course…duh! I actually feel bad for you, because you would have worse than a Bickle girl mad at you…you’d have to deal with 2 of us! Scary, right? That alone is enough to keep you on the straight and narrow!

      It is awful when you are watching it happen. You just want to shake the person. The thing is, unless there is abuse happening…one person has as many faults as another. You might as well get into therapy and fight like hell to make it work.

      That’s what marriage is after all, work. But its work that is worth it.

  5. Lisa Says:

    I don’t think it’s fair to blame Facebook. Marriage was disposable long before social media ever existed. When I was in high school, we were told more than half of marriages end in divorce and that was even before e-mail.

    I can say that my father left my mother without another woman to go to. He found one in short order, but he didn’t leave her for someone else.

    When a relationship breaks up, it’s never one person’s fault. There were obviously long-standing problems or he wouldn’t have been open to the possibility of cheating. Ultimately, though, we are all responsible for our own actions. They could have, for example, identified the problem areas and talked it over, made some kind of effort to build the relationship instead of destroy it. The cheating was entirely his choice, and a pretty despicable one, but it was only a symptom of the problem and Facebook only a convenience.

    • Okay, I admit…things must not have been paradise in their marriage. But T-H-E-R-A-P-Y people, ever heard of therapy? I just don’t understand why marriage is dispensable. It seriously scares the hell out of me.
      This marriage is about #12 on my list of friends/acquaintances who have had problem with facebook issues. Again, I guess the problems would have found their way to the surface anyway, but social media does allow it right in your home, 24-7. And it’s a bit like murder – shooting someone would be easier than stabbing someone, because your hand doesn’t touch them. You kill from a distance. Facebook is distance, but it lends to intimacy very easily, especially when the door is already open a crack.

      I love when I blog and it gets everyone all riled up…lol. Good discussions!

  6. Harry Says:

    I could say alot to this …. But I will just say, It Is NOT always the man who is a cheater… …. I love the way the MAN is always to blame! pisses me off to be honest with you… woman are not all that trustworthy..

    • Harry…of course, it would get under your skin…you are a special man.

      The men who have replied to my post are the “good guys” out there, the ones who don’t need the rant. But that’s always the way…those that are enlightened keep getting the message and those who need it don’t listen.

      I’ll agree with you about the cheating…I don’t think men cheat more than women, my issue really is the element of why they leave. Meaning – men stay in relationships, even when they are toxic. Men seem to need a warm body waiting in order to leave. I don’t understand it, but I do know it to be true in most relationships I’ve seen.

      Of course, like all my rants…it doesn’t always apply to all people. Let’s face it…human being are essentially flawed. We fumble throughout life and hope to learn enough to stop making the same stupid mistakes over and over again. Sadly, we all just want to be loved, but sometimes life makes it damn hard.

      Of all the people to have feel pissed by my blog post…not my dear old Harry! Fear not, I think some men are wonderful…you included.

  7. It used to be you had to go looking for an affair. With social sites like Facebook now, it comes looking for you. Men cheat more than women, simply because I think men are much more immediately sexual beings. Women, conversely, are more emotional. It’s been my experience that both sides of the sexes stay in a relationship that is not satisfying until someone new comes along. But, women are as dramatic as men are sexual. Let’s face it, staying in the same relationship over a number of years is difficult. And, then it become equally difficult to leave. That is, unless you have someone to inspire you to change. For the most part, I don’t either sex has much of idea of an inner life as they grow older. And, how can you know what’s going on inside of someone else when you don’t even know what’s going on inside of you.

    • This brings me back to therapy. I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t go get some.

      We have a rule in our household – we fight more than three times about the same thing, and we go see our marriage counsellor. It doesn’t get better otherwise; it just gets buried and rehashed six months later when we are fighting about something else. We have gone years without seeing him or sometimes hang out there a lot. Regardless, having to speak your issues to a sane, impartial person in the room makes things a whole lot clearer.

      There are no guarantees in life, I can’t say 100% that I will grow old with my husband, but I can say I will fight with all I’ve got to make it good. Life is too short to make it complicated.

  8. Dennis Says:

    I think your blog is great. It may very well save someone else’s marriage.
    If anyone was thinking about leaving or screwing around maybe this will open there eyes and they will get help ( THERAPY ). BTW it would not be just you and your sista. My sisters would Kill me Not to metion my Dad and your Mom and Dad. there would not be enough hiding places in the world. I have never felt as much Love.

    • LOL…yes, fear and love run parallel.

      I love when my blog gets people talking on here. Makes me want to rant about all kinds of things. But usually it’s an emotion (this time it was anger overlaying fear) that gets me going. And it’s usually emotional posts that get a dialogue going. Funny how that works. I almost wish I was more mentally unstable so I would go viral. 🙂

  9. Dale Long Says:

    I had a whole response typed out, but deleted it. Sorry. But I agree; Facebook isn’t the cause, merely the out door.

    Seems to me the ‘male stereotype’ is often swung around like a large metal ball on the end of a very flexible chain. And that’s all I have to say about that…

    • Wow – what an image! The old ball and chain.

      The interesting thing about this blog post, is that the men who responded (and took offense I might add) are the circle of men I have around me in varying degrees in my life. All of those men are good husbands, and strong men, who don’t need a lesson in loyalty or intregrity.

      If only the world could be filled with my small circle of men, the planet would be a better place. Sue is lucky to have you, I am lucky to have mine, but I can’t say the same for alot of women out there.

      I guess the arguement I’m hearing from the men out there is – it isn’t just women getting a raw deal. Fair enough, and I guess all is fair in love and war. Only, that’s a raw deal if I ever heard one…

      • Dale Long Says:

        There are indeed two sides to every story and neither side is ever clear. BUT, I guess that all depends on which side of the fence one is sitting.

        I’d like to think men are actually evolving, but if that’s the case, the neaderthals of our gender make their case louder as well.

        Good discussion, by the way, and great responses too! You’ve got a knack for this Noelle. Makes me jealous 😉

  10. Dave Says:

    My pet peeve is that women today by default are always the victim. I think this is a result of Women’s Liberation in the 60s / 70s where women’s worth finally began to be recognised as equal to that of men. Up to this time women felt they were ‘victimised’ by men (when in reality it may just have been the way society developed) and this notion hung on after the Women’s Lib revolution. To this end men now find themselves the automatic villain in any case between man and woman. (ie. wages, sexual assault, marriage breakdown).

    Now, I have to say that men are at fault many times in some of these situations and in others mostly all the time (ie. sexual assault) but it grinds my grits that men always get the short end of the stick. I think that more times than we are aware, women take advantage of this default victim situation. When falsely charged with rape it is next to impossible for a man not to be assumed guilty. In marriage, it is always the man’s fault because he has moved on to a new, younger lady. While this may be true in a number of cases, I also wonder why he had to find another partner. We automatically assume the wife was perfect but was she? And what about the ‘other woman’ who is there and is prepared to wait until her man bails? Why are these women not at fault. We view the ‘other woman’ as a victim too … a victim of a lying cheating bastard.

    So your friend’s marriage ended because of Facebook. I suppose Facebook is the today’s tech world version of lipstick on the collar. Fool around and you will eventually get burned except today it’s easier to fool around virtually. You’re pissed off for your friend and rightfully so but try to remember that there are two sides to every story.

  11. Mary Says:

    Just what I was looking for! Thanks so much. My husband had a facebook profile for a year and had me blocked. His reason?? “You will acuse me of having an affair” My answer?? “Guess you proveds youirself right” He filed for divorce…claims because I don’t clean the house. But I found the facebook girlfriend, and all the proof to go with the affair. This blog is totally acurate.

    • Sadly Mary – I agree, this blog is accurate. But hey – the good news for you is you don’t have a husband who validates your worth by the cleanliness of your house. Booo! I hate men like that. I wish you happiness and laughter in your new journey.

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