Did you see that article in Forbes that said 1 in 3 divorces are due to FACEBOOK FLIRTING?!?!?! (Thank you, Jordan Ferney, for passing along!)
SICK! I have been hearing more and more that it was indeed a huge problem and know of several affairs/divorces that started because of it. But 1 in 3 divorces??? This is just outrageous!!! This really does fire me up & makes me want to do something about it!
I will have a few posts dedicated to the internet & marriage because Facebook & who knows what else has been mucking up our lives & families, yet I don't really hear enough chatter regarding what we can do about it.
For starters, I am so, so excited to open with this Facebook story, told to me in person by my dear friend in Brooklyn, Shiloh Donkin. I was dying when she told me. It displays the perfect example of what an honorable/heroic/faithful husband should do in the face of a solicited affair. I am so happy that my friend agreed to write out the story for you all. And I hope this can inspire us all to be honorable to our husbands, wives, children & to ourselves.
The First Time I Met Andy...
The first time I met Andy, I thought nothing of it. The second time I met Andy, I thought he was cute and funny. The third time I met Andy, I never thought of anything else but him! It's been that way ever since. I remember when we had been dating about 4 months, right before our summer break in college (in which I would be going home to Texas and Andy would be going home to Portland), Andy's older brother Sam pulled me aside and in private told me I didn't have to worry about being away from Andy for 3 months. Andy is a one woman kind of guy. Always has been, always will be. He won't even look at another woman while he was with me. I took great comfort in that, I believed it, and I held to it.
When we were married, I felt like the luckiest woman in the world. I had just married the funniest, best the looking bearded mountain man accountant ever. It wouldn't be until 5 years later that I would realize how lucky I really was at the time.
Occasionally during Andy's busy seasons (when he works 80 hour weeks), I fly down to Texas to visit my parent for a couple weeks. During one such occasion, right after our 5 year anniversary, Andy started to receive Facebook messages from an old girlfriend in high school. They started out innocent enough. She was mostly just inquiring about how he was doing, how he liked NYC, how his family was doing, etc. He thought nothing of it, just catching up with an old friend. Then the messages began to get weird. They quickly went from friendly inquiries to confessions of love and pleadings to leave his life, wife, and son to be with her.
This was completely out of the blue and Andy didn't know what to do. And the good man that he is, he turned to me. He was open and straight forward. He told me about the messages he had received and told me to log onto his Facebook account so I could read them (our passwords to each other's accounts are an open book, we have no secrets between us). He said he wasn't sure whether to bother me with it or not since there was no way he returned her feelings. But he didn't want to hide anything from me. He kindly told this woman that they were not the same people they were in high school and that he was happily married and loved me and his son and that was the most important thing to him in the whole world. Nothing, NOTHING, would change that or make him act contrary to those promises and covenants he had made to us and God. He wished her the best in her life but said what she was doing was very inappropriate and it needed to stop immediately. Sadly, she continued to pursue him via Facebook and Andy ended up blocking messages from her and "de-friending" her.
It seems easy, maybe even innocent to carry on a "virtual affair". No one knows about it, there is nothing physical taking place. But all actions are a result of a single thought. Thoughts eventually turn into action of one kind or another. Andy knew this. He could have easily carried on a virtual affair with this woman if that was something he wanted or was tempted by and I possibly would have never known. But a mental departure from our marriage is just as damaging as a physical departure, and if a mental departure goes unchecked, it almost always leads to a physical departure. Sadly, Andy and I know at least two couples personally that have lost their spouse because of a Facebook (or other internet venue) affair.
The whole experience only brought Andy and I closer together as a married couple. I now not only believed but KNEW that Andy was utterly and completely faithful to me and that he ever would be. He had made a decision early on in life what his values were, what was most important to him and never let anything change the course he had chosen.
The experience also gave Andy and I an opportunity to think differently about people who might be considered an "enemy". Instead of anger at this woman, we felt sorrow. What state of life, what state of unhappiness must she find herself in to think that the only way she can be happy is by causing another to leave his family. We were sad for her, for her situation, for whatever trials she was facing, for the decisions she was making. I didn't want to tell her off; I didn't want to send a strongly worded message telling her to "stay away from my man". If anything, I wanted her to get help, to talk to someone, to get help working through whatever depression she had found herself in. It was a humbling experience for me to feel compassion for one who is trying to steal my husband. It was also exalting to realize that the good man I married was completely faithful, trustworthy, devoted, and quite simply pure gold. I only hope that I can show him through my actions that my thoughts never leave him, just as his thoughts have never strayed from me.
Dear readers - have you or your spouse faced an online encounter that was inappropriate? Anything you can pass along regarding what you learned, or what you should have done, or what you did do successfully? Obviously, anonymous comments welcome!
P.S. If you want to share your story on the blog about how to face the challenges that the internet brings into your marriage, please email me at mara@ablogaboutlove dot com. (Yes, I'm talking to you, Mac ;)