Lately, there have been a flood of studies suggesting how social media is bad for us, but now it appears it’s actually breaking up marriages. According to research that was commissioned by a law firm, social media, especially Facebook, is a factor in one out of seven divorces. That puts all those engagement announcements and wedding pictures that pop up in your feed into perspective, doesn’t it?
Social media is a veritable breeding ground for competition and jealousy among friends and random acquaintances, so it would only make sense that it would spark similar feelings among couples. If there are already problems in a marriage, it’s simply too easy to read into a harmless interaction between your spouse and a friend, and turn it into a reason to have it out with them.
While it’s understandable that a couple’s online social behavior would cause the occasional tiff, it’s hard to believe it could lead to divorce in a number of cases. That in essence is why the firm of Slater and Gordon set out to determine its actual effect on the divorces they handle. They were noticing a significant rise in how often social media was mentioned as a trigger for divorce by their clients, especially considering it was not a factor at all just five years ago.
According to Andrew Newbury, a lawyer at Slater and Gordon, “Social media is the new marriage minefield. Social media, specifically pictures and posts on Facebook, are now being routinely raised in divorces.”
Snapchat is also a big Pandora’s box for couples, because its design is already secretive. You could potentially be sending tons of sexy photos to someone, and your spouse can never find the evidence, because it just disappears. One self-proclaimed cheating expert says Snapchat is the best way to cover your tracks, but that in turn makes partners even more suspicious of it.
It all seems to come down to trust, or rather lack of trust in unstable marriages. If these unstable couples have access to each other’s social media accounts, it’s too much of a temptation not to go rooting around, searching for a partner’s guilty secrets. Even if a couple is relatively happy, sometimes curiosity gets the better of someone, and they open up a can of worms (aka the private message box).
According to a survey conducted by Censuswide which polled 2,011 husbands and wives, the most common reason married people check their spouse’s social media accounts is to find out whether or not they’re talking to a “marriage threat.”
Moreover, on a less devious note, the research conducted by the law firm found one in five couples fight over something that showed up on social media every day. No wonder divorce rates are on the rise! It’s like a constant stream of ammunition that couples can easily use against each other, if they so choose.
These fights most often come out of contact with an ex, secret private messages and posting “inappropriate” photos. It all just feels like a vicious cycle to me. If one person gets irked by a comment (regardless of whether or not it means anything) and then goes searching for more evidence of infidelity, it starts a snowball effect of sneaky behavior. If their partner gets wise to the snooping, they’ll probably change their password, which will in turn make the snooper even more suspicious of them. My motto is, if you’re looking for something, you’ll likely find it, and that can never lead anywhere good.
Just like how the tone of text messages can get misconstrued, so can anything you find on your spouse’s Facebook wall. So do yourself a favor — if you’re overall happy in your relationship, but you see something that makes you second-guess it, talk it out rather than play detective. It might save you from having to explain how a winky face emoji led to you filing for divorce in front of a judge.