Social Media and Divorce: The Grass is Always Greener

Social media websites are a great way to keep in touch in today’s modern cyber era. But have you ever thought of the ways these sites could be keeping you out of touch?

Numerous studies have been conducted analyzing social media usage and its connection with marital satisfaction and divorce. With over one billion people across the world using some type of social media website, it is highly probable that either one or both partners in a relationship find themselves emailing, texting, posting and updating on a regular basis.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tinder, among others, are gaining more users by the day, continuously spreading the web of potential suitors and available (but sometimes unavailable) love interests. Even professional networking websites such as LinkedIn can have both a positive and negative impact on relationships.

canstockphoto14113994On the positive side, social media sites can create meaningful relationships and connections. These sites help you keep in touch with family members and old friends with whom you may have lost contact.  They can also help you boost your self-esteem by uploading attractive pictures and posting about personal achievements or promotions in careers. It can be a fun form of entertainment to let others know you are enjoying a nice picnic under the St. Louis arch with a quick snap and upload of a perfectly filtered photo, or to let the world know you are in a new relationship by making it “Facebook Official” and waiting for a multitude of ‘likes’. Additionally, these sites can be used as aids in creating new relationships as well as employment and networking opportunities.

On the flip side to these uplifting possibilities come the potential negative consequences. Attending to your multiple social media sites can leave you focusing more energy on what others have and the exciting things they are doing with their lives that may make you insecure about your own possessions and accomplishments. Rather than putting the necessary time and effort into your own personal relationships in real life, you may unknowingly be focusing your attention on cyber relationships, spending less time on household duties and ultimately less time with your spouse.

Social media sites can easily and quite effectively be used to cause trouble in relationships, stirring up emotions of jealousy, resentment and regret. Users tend to readily believe what they read on the internet and on social media sites and can quickly jump to inaccurate conclusions. Many partners have mutual friends on Facebook and other social media sites, allowing rumors to spread quickly and creating even more turmoil when relationships have ended, leaving friends to take sides and shattered connections.  Finding out your spouse is using dating websites such as Match.com or Tinder may cause you to reconsider your relationship.  Knowing your spouse is able to unite with old friends, including old love interests, may lead you to act as your own private investigator.

In today’s media-overloaded era, physical face-to-face as well as emotional human interaction has been replaced by the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger. Smartphone applications providing cameras and internet connection at your fingertips make it easy, fun, useful and efficient to keep updated with the cyber world. But this efficiency can also be abused. In the past, before the surge of electronic communication, extra-marital affairs would take time to develop and may have been easier for a partner to hide. With Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and the like, temptation is literally at your fingertips, often leading to a “grass is greener” mentality.

To avoid trouble or relationship issues on social media, sidestep the urge to snap, share, tweet, or post anything that you wouldn’t want the world knowing. These sites are public and permanent. Additionally, social media has the potential for being used as evidence in a Family Law courtroom, leading to unforeseen consequences in a prospective divorce proceeding. Studies show that non-social media users are often happier.  If you plan on being in a serious, committed relationship, it may be best to limit your social media use.

Social media sites do, overall, have a correlation to higher divorce rates. Spouses who use social media websites on a regular basis wholly report being less happy and succumbing to lower marriage quality. It is important to remember that many factors contribute to divorce, and social media is only a small example. If you are contemplating filing for divorce or have questions about the process, contact an experienced family law attorney.  Kathleen Shaul and Valerie Craig are strong advocates for their clients in dissolution proceedings and give personal attention to each case.  Contact The Law Offices of Kathleen E. Shaul at 314.499.1476 to arrange for a confidential consultation.

About 

Kathleen E. Shaul concentrates her practice exclusively in family law with an emphasis in divorce litigation. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Shaul taught high school English in Chicago. She is a certified Guardian ad Litem and is passionate about children’s issues.

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