As social media continues to have a greater influence on our lives it can also contribute to problems in our romantic relationships. More time spent online means fewer opportunities for face-to-face interactions with a partner. According to a study published in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, social media has become a serious threat to marriage and can contribute to divorce. The study found that people who use Facebook more than once an hour are more likely to face social media-related conflict with their spouses.
If you are going through a divorce, disagreements that spill out on social media can have serious consequences. Your posts can potentially cause negative outcomes if you’re negotiating high-conflict issues like spousal support or child custody. Even if your spouse isn’t on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram anyone can take a screenshot of your angry message or inappropriate photo and send it to them.
Sharing images of expensive purchases or lavish vacations can be used as evidence if you are arguing that you can’t afford to pay spousal support. The same is true if you are fighting for child custody and post photos of yourself partying with friends. Your words and photos can be used against you in court which can prolong the legal process.
Antagonizing your spouse during the divorce process will only make an already combative situation more stressful. An amicable divorce is typically the best for both parties by reducing tensions and legal fees.
Here are some tips on social media behavior to avoid during a divorce:
- Don’t discuss the divorce publicly
- Don’t talk about your spouse in a negative way
- Don’t share photos that show you spending excessive amounts of money
- Don’t change your Facebook status from “married” to “single” until the divorce is final
- Don’t share photos of you drinking, smoking, or partying
- Don’t share photos of your children
- Don’t announce you are dating someone new
- Don’t spy on your spouse by scrolling through their feeds
- Don’t block your spouse from your social media
If the temptation to engage in any of these behaviors is too great, it’s a good idea to put a freeze on your social media accounts until your divorce is done. If you can’t give up your social media habits, then try to limit your activity to only commenting on other people’s posts instead of publishing your own.
For someone going through a divorce, social media may feel like a place to vent and find community support to cope with the stress. But having an audience for this personal process will only increase the risk of creating more animosity with your spouse. While it’s normal to want to express your feelings and frustrations it’s wiser to join an online divorce support group or seek professional help from a family therapist or a marriage counselor. An experienced family law attorney can help guide you on how social media behavior may impact your divorce.
By Debra Schoenberg