Would you give your spouse the password to your Facebook site? To save marriages, that’s what a New Jersey pastor will be preaching this  Sunday. Why? Nearly a third of today’s divorces are “internet assisted.”

According to a recent Huffington Post  Digital Drama — Is Facebook to Blame?:

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says 81 percent of its members have used or been faced with evidence plucked from Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking sites in divorce cases over the last five years.

About one in five adults uses Facebook for flirting, according to a 2008 report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. And a do-it-yourself divorce site in the United Kingdom, Divorce-Online, reported late last year that the word “Facebook” was appearing in about one in five of the petitions it was handling.

What do you think?

(Oh, and a word to the wise. Lawyers love Facebook. Disable it now if divorce is in your future.)


Impossible... unless s/he takes on the responsibility to make the change you are wishing for. Today I received a heart-wrenching email from a  young man asking me how he can help his girlfriend change so they can save their relationship. He totally loves her and she can’t see it. I had to email back sorry, but unless she chooses to change, there is very little you can do.

Trust me, I know. My therapist was a saint, for nearly a year listening to me and all my attempts to get my then husband to change. I’d grasp at tiny signs telling her “I think I can save our marriage. Things are looking better.” Finally one day she looked me in the eye and said, “What’s it going to take? Is he going to  have to kill you?”  That one stopped me in my tracks.

There’d been all kinds of abuse from physical, to emotional to financial. Yet I was still holding on.  My stance had been it’s not his fault, he’s got a mental illness and if he just gets on meds he’ll once again become the man I thought I’d married. Besides, I wouldn’t leave him if he had brain cancer. I’d agreed to in sickness & health on our wedding day. And we had 2 beautiful daughters I didn’t want to abandon for a full time job, especially since I’d been out of the workforce for quite some time.

But the truth was, I was killing myself trying to pretend that if I only did “xyz” the happily-ever-after dream would become a reality. The stress at home was so bad I developed TMJ, a painful jaw condition that got so debilitating I couldn’t even open my mouth when I tried to order my kids food at McDonalds. My jaw had locked shut. Totally.

Yes, it was a nightmare but I kept looking for every flicker of light. I believed my husband when he said he’d given up his mistress and she was just using their baby as a way to get his money. Divorce simply wasn’t in the cards for me and I believed I could make my marriage work.

The next pearl of wisdom my therapist shared was: I couldn’t save our relationship all by myself. Despite all my efforts, nothing could change unless my husband faced his issues and took on the responsibility to change. I could not do that for him. He was making choices that suited him and making it loud and clear that his needs were way more important than our relationship and family life.

For a few more months I tried to prove my therapist wrong, but in the end she was right.

Kids’ Questions

October 25, 2010

This morning I stumbled upon Debra Gettleman’s blog post Honesty…Is Usually the Best Policy. It gave me a chuckle and jogged my memory.

If you have kids, you know the car is where all great conversations happen. Once upon a time, my husband’s mistress unexpectedly showed up at our doorstep with a toddler in the car. As you might guess, a slightly emotional scene occurred.

The next day, as my daughters and I were heading out for ice cream, my 6 year-old asked:

Mommy, is Connie’s son Daddy’s too?

My heart stopped. I’d been dreading the day that question was asked.  Inwardly I was still raw from the news myself and furious that I, not my husband, had to deal with the big question. I’d been scouring books, unsuccessfully, to learn the best way to handle the inevitable. The closest I come to an answer was that mental health experts deemed family secrets a huge, unhealthy burden for families, and that kids instinctively know the truth.

So, with all the non-judgmental feelings I could muster, I answered “Yes.”  My heart was pounding dreading the questions to follow and wondering if I’d just ruined her life…

After a moment my daughter simply grumbled, “That’s not fair, I don’t want to share any of my things with him.

My 3 year-old, excitedly kicking her car seat, chimed in “Me too!”

I couldn’t have agreed more.

Infidelity Trends & Solutions

September 29, 2010

It could happen to you, and it did happen to me. My spouse cheated … and had a child with his lover way before I was clued in.

Affairs aren’t necessarily the kiss of death for a marriage, but when discovered (or suspected) it can tear everyone’s world apart. Although I was clueless, statistics say that 85% of women who think their spouse is cheating are spot on, whereas only 50% of men who suspect a cheating spouse are right.

According to infidelity expert Ruth Houston:

  • Infidelity has increased 50% among women and it’s rapidly approaching the male infidelity rate. Solution: Guys, pay attention to your partner and don’t dismiss their needs lightly.
  • Thanks to the internet, more than a 1/3 of all divorces are “internet assisted”. Solution: Know what your spouse is doing online… personally, I hope this doesn’t lead to “spousal controls”.
  • Emotional infidelity and cyber affairs need to be addressed because ignored it can lead to sexual encounters. Solution: If you suspect your spouse of this, take action before it’s too late.
  • Workplace infidelity destroys many marriages and relationships. Solution: Keep each other in the loop about your workplace and do not cultivate an “emotional partner” at work.
  • Given so many of us are naive about the signs of infidelity, many affairs aren’t discovered until it’s too late. Solution: Knowing the signs is key, so educate yourself, but don’t become paranoid.

Why am I telling you all this? Infidelity is on my mind as we have a panel of Private Eyes speaking at our Oct 9, 2010 Second Saturday program. Proving adultery, uncovering assets, and computer surveillance is part of their job. So this coming week, I’ll be blogging about these issues and hoping… you aren’t touched by any of it.

But if you are, consider joining us to get some answers and insight.

Your gut says your partner is cheating. Or hiding assets. It’s a terrible place to be and sadly statistics show women’s intuition is often right. Men’s suspicions are more often wrong.

Suspecting infidelity is not a fun place to be, believe me I know. Try to stay calm, as unemotional as possible (like that’s easy) and take time to gather the information you need before you confront your partner.

Where do you begin? The video below has good tips to get you started. On Saturday (April 9, 2011) we have a private eye ready to share his expertise at our monthly Second Saturday workshop. Consider joining us to learn all you can. More info and registration.

Even if you plan to use a private investigator, to keep costs down and get results, it’s best to do some snooping of your own so you have leads and patterns to guide the private investigator. For example: Is your partner suddenly working late Tues eves? Do your credit card bills have charges that can’t be explained? Are you getting hang-up calls at home?

Good luck and I hope you find out your suspicions are  wrong. If that’s not the case, there are many good books and support groups out there to help you through it all.

I found such resources comforting as the main message is: Affairs are the the cheater’s immature way of handling issues in your relationship. If s/he can own up to his/her behavior, stop the cheating, make amends, and be committed to working with you on your relationship you can save your marriage/relationship and even enhance it.

But it takes hard work, honesty and commitment on both your parts. You can’t do it alone.

Despite its title, the video below is informative for both men and women.