Aug 5, 2010

Not happily ever after: Lynn France on her wedding day to husband John
Lynn and John France at their Italian wedding in 2005.
 
Dread of the unknown hung in the air as Lynn France typed two words into the search box on Facebook: the name of the woman with whom she believed her husband was having an affair.

Click. And there it was, the stuff of nightmares for any spouse, cuckolded or not. Wedding photos. At Walt Disney World, no less, featuring her husband literally dressed as Prince Charming. His new wife, a pretty blonde, was a glowing Sleeping Beauty, surrounded by footmen.

"I was numb with shock, to tell you the truth," says France, an occupational therapist from Westlake, a Cleveland suburb. "There was like an album of 200 pictures on there. Their whole wedding."

Affairs were once shadowy matters, illicit encounters whispered about and often difficult to prove. But in the age of Facebook and Twitter and lightning-fast communication, the notion of privacy is fast becoming obsolete. From flirtatious text messages to incriminating e-mails, marital indiscretions are much easier to track — especially if potentially damaging photographic evidence is posted online.

"All of these things are just a trail of cyber breadcrumbs that are easily tracked by good divorce lawyers," says Parry Aftab, an expert on Internet safety and privacy laws.

France, 41, was not completely blindsided by her Facebook discovery, which happened in January 2009. That fall, she had grown suspicious when her husband began taking frequent business trips, even leaving the day the couple's newborn son came home from the hospital. Once, she found his passport at home when he was supposed to be in China for business.

In October, before leaving for another trip, her husband left a hotel website up on the couple's computer screen.

"So I actually went there with a girlfriend, just to see for myself for sure," France says. "He was there with this girlfriend. I said, 'Hey, I'm his wife. We've got a baby.'"

The woman told France that she was engaged to France's husband.

"Sure enough, they were registered for a wedding at Target," France says.

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