Till Facebook Do Us Part: Site Boosts Divorce Rate?

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Facebook friendships may be sending more married couples to divorce court. A survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers shows the social networking Web site can be a dangerous playground for spouses with wandering eyes.

With 400 million users and counting, Facebook is famous for allowing old friends to reconnect from nearly any place in the world -- and that includes old flames.

CBN News spoke with author and psychologist Dr. Linda Mintle about social networking sites and the window for indfidelity they can open.  Click play for her advice on how couples can manage their time online, and put safeguards in place.

Such connections may begin as innocent curiosity, but it doesn't always end harmlessly.

Terry Real, a marriage counselor, said that a Facebook poke, or status check, could lead to an affair.

"There is nothing more seductive than going back to the one that got away," Real said. "Fantasy figure is a lot harder to compete with than someone who is up to their eyes in bills and diapers."

People living the life others fantasize about aren't immune to the wiles of the social networking site either.

Actress Eva Longoria recently announced she was divorcing her basketball star husband Tony Parker. The reason? He strayed with a woman he kept in touch with on Facebook early in their marriage.

A recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers showed 20 percent of divorces involve Facebook. Also, 80 percent of divorce lawyers reported a spike in the number of cases that use social media for evidence.

"A connection is made and it starts out really platonically," said Rev. Cedric Miller of Living Word Christian Fellowship Church in Neptune, N.J. "'Hi, How are you? How are you doing?'"

Miller made headlines when he told church goers to delete their Facebook accounts after 20 couples confessed the site led them astray. He called Facebook a "portal to infidelity."

"Sooner or later, the other spouse finds out and it ends up in my office," Miller said.

Miller knows the pain of infidelity first hand. He's on a temporary leave from the pulpit after admitting to a sexual transgression that happened years ago. It became public after his stand against Facebook.

"The only real way to make your relationship affair proof is to make your relationship strong," Real said.

For some, making that relationship strong may mean spending less time on Facebook.

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Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

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Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.