Indiana Daily Student

400 million users have never been so tempting

Using Facebook is simple. One registers and has millions of other users to communicate with right at his fingertips.

However, the relative ease of the social networking site has become a significant problem for a much more complex undertaking: marriage. The temptation and subsequent risks caused by the social networking giant are testing marriages nationwide.

“The issue is really so gigantic it’s unbelievable,” said Jason Krafsky, a marriage blogger and author.

Krafsky penned an upcoming book, “Facebook And Your Marriage,” with his wife Kelli when the two of them realized how little information there was about the problems the site could cause for married couples available online. The three stories on his blog about the topic have been his three most-read stories of all time.

Dr. David Crane, a Bloomington physician and attorney who specializes in psychiatry, said he’s seen a growing number of cases where couples have cited Facebook as a problem.

“I’ve seen a lot of different cases, more often than not people contacting old flames to chat,” he said. “They’re fantasizing about the past and Facebook allows that feeling to expand.”

According to analytics company iStrategyLabs, the number of users on Facebook between the ages of 35 and 54 has increased by 190.2 percent within the past year, totaling more than 20 million adults, many of whom are entirely new to social networking.

Krafsky said the real problem is a lack of understanding about Facebook. He said people are quick to share and learn with others, not realizing how well they can really get to know someone.

“People don’t realize what they’re doing,” he said. “An affair is a four- to six-step process, and by contacting someone on Facebook a person may have just taken the first two steps without even realizing it.”

Krafsky retells a story about a friend who contacted him about a woman who rekindled an old flame and left her husband and children after being married for 20 years. Another man left his marriage and then tried to return home after five days, but his wife did not take him back.

“What may have only been a chance encounter on the street is now more; it doesn’t just happen and end,” Krafsky said. “Facebook always has updates and it surrounds you with them.”

Krafsky said people like this feeling of excitement from an old flame of the past, and nurturing that excitement is what gets them into trouble.

Trey Morgan is a Texas minister and blogger who has a wife and four boys. Morgan is on Facebook and sees many problems with it through his church.

“It’s just like planting a seed. You find someone you get close to and it escalates,” he said.

A self-described family man above all else, Morgan has been married for 21 years and takes steps with his wife to minimize their own opportunities for problems.

The two have complete access to one another’s Facebook accounts, which helps to increase accountability, the main problem in Morgan’s eyes.

“You’re finding that it’s more about not being open with your spouse,” he said.

Krafsky said setting up boundaries is the most important step a couple can take. He published a list of one dozen rules on his blog with “do’s” and “don’ts” of married Facebooking.

“We got here because we came to understand the potential threat and the consequences,” Krafsky said. “And that makes us prepared.”

Both Krafsky and Morgan, however, are quick to point out the positive qualities in the site as well.

“Facebook is one of the most amazing Web sites I’ve ever been on,” Krafsky said. “I keep in touch with people I never would have otherwise, but I’m informed about what I’m doing.”

Morgan echoes the sentiment, pointing out what a wonderful site Facebook is for friends, but he never forgets the temptations.

“People do things they would never do if that wasn’t private or that person lived in the same town,” he said.

There is growing awareness about problems related to married Facebooking, as indicated by books like Krafsky’s, but the issue is still running rampant.

“It’s one of the biggest problems I see and it’s only getting bigger,” Crane said.

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