Personal relationships have always been a hard job. In the world of humans, “dog eat dog” when their interests collide. Whether a couple was still dating, married, or getting divorced, it would take a lot of effort to make things work in the best interests of both parties involved.
Things have gotten even more complex when social media meddled into the equation. Along with all their positive contribution, they also brought no less harmful impact into the relationships. As much as single people appreciate open access to the larger number of contacts and higher opportunities to meet someone you like, it is destructive for marrieds and divorcees.
Over the past years, there have been numerous studies related to social media influence on the quality of marriage relationships. Each time, researchers reported an increased number of conflicts in the families where at least one spouse was spending too much time in social networks. They also noticed a rapid decline in their quality of life, communication downgrade, loss of intimacy and connection with each other, as well as higher divorce rates.
Due to social media, divorce proceedings have gone through serious changes too. For the past few years, a number of divorce cases using social media as evidence have skyrocketed, and many less cautious divorcees have learned this lesson the hard way.
To cut the long story short, active social media life can often do your marriage – or divorce process – more harm than good. And here is why:
Social Media in Marriage
Excessive screen time is often a top reason why many marriages fall apart. Even more often, people prefer to stare at their smartphones rather than share the here and now with their significant others. For many individuals, stalking friends, colleagues, and exes on Instagram or Facebook is a part of a daily routine – a habit carefully nurtured and cultivated for years.
This frequently leads to the other spouse feeling lonely and unappreciated, removes communication and quality time together from the relationships, and makes two people strangers to each other. Furthermore, a heightened interest in someone else’s life often opens the door to a bunch of other problems, such as lack of confidence, passive attitude to life, uncontrolled aggression bursts, or depression. Not only can they ruin the existing marriage, but also bury any further relationship for many years forward.
Dishonesty is another reason why many couples choose to call it quits. Virtual experience can be tempting, especially when real life is an all-ground-hog day. So many fascinating people can come your way on social media, and you can be whomever you want.
First, it starts with harmless discussions. Then it may grow into serious feelings, secrets, and intimate messages one may want to hide from the other spouse. What’s worse, this can lead to aversion with the partner, groundless complaints and conflicts, or even infidelity. So when social media connect some, they can break apart the others.
Finally, social networks are a fertile ground to giving old relationships a new start. It’s a common thing when reconnecting with an ex online grows into an offline experience and destroys two marriages with one shot. And while it may be a good thing for a newly born family, two other people will have to live with broken hearts. Perhaps, some contacts are better to stay lost?
Social Media during Divorce
However, when it comes to divorce, things may heat up to the limit. Lawyers and the parties themselves fight like crazy to find discrediting information that could help them out in winning the case. Any incautious word on Twitter, or a revealing picture on Instagram, and this information will play against you.
How social media can set you up during the divorce process, let’s find out:
When it comes to divorce, photographs can be very strong evidence. They hold information about your social company, location, the time when the picture was posted, and a lot of other data that may not seem obvious but can work against you in court. And the worst here: on the internet, your personal carefulness might not be enough.
Social networks are thousands and millions of invisible threads leading from one person to another, connected with friendships, followings, hashtags, and location marks. This may be your friend, your neighbor, or even a passer-by tourist on vacation who accidentally captures a picture of you with your lover in Barcelona.
There may be proof of your embarrassing behavior. So what if it happened only once? It’s just a matter of proper seasoning. And be sure that a fierce lawyer of your spouse will dig this out.
Social media hold tons of information. Once there, forever there. You may not even realize how important it is until you end up in court fighting with your spouse upon the divorce conditions. Friend lists, location marks, suspicious phrases – all this can do you a disservice once the hatchet is dug out and ready to be used.
Sharing sensitive information may serve as evidence of where you were, who you were with, as well as your spending habits, moral principles, attitude to your ex-to-be, and many other details you don’t want the court to know.
The social media feature of messaging is a great way to keep in touch with your contacts in the distance, vent your feelings to a friend when you need it most, or even spice up marriage relationships with your spouse. It can also be strong evidence in the court – if by accident you spiced up the wrong relationship, for instance. And this won’t be in your favor. The judge may order to disclose information from the messages, so it’s a matter of time when the details of your social media conversations become vivid.
How to Protect Yourself from Social Media Impact During Divorce?
Ideally, be the person with a flawless reputation or one of the few who don’t have social media profiles and have no idea what Instagram is.
Realistically, take all necessary precautions. Not only will this help you out during divorce, but can also protect your personal data and life from stalkers, frauds, and other social media offenders who wish you harm.
First and foremost, take care of your privacy and security settings. Take some time to make necessary arrangements as to who can see your friends, posts, pictures, personal data, and other important details. Be careful about who you make friends with on social networks. Perhaps, establishing friendships with people you don’t know is not a good idea, especially when you like posting something personal for your friends to see.
Second, censor the content your post and repost on your page, including embarrassing pictures or statements that can put you in the wrong light during a divorce. Avoid photos and talks where your politeness with a colleague may be taken for affection, as well as where you are drinking alcohol or taking some prohibited substances. If there is such content on your friends’ pages, ask them to delete it. And don’t give them an occasion to post something similar in the future.
Try not to use social media for venting your feelings or splashing out aggression, neither in posting nor in personal messages. You know who your true friends are, and nothing can replace live communication with them, especially when it leaves no “paper trail”.
It logically follows that you have to know who your true friends are. Divorce often splits an old group of friends in half – on those who stay with one spouse, and those who support the other party. You don’t want to spill something important to a person who will eagerly throw you under the bus – not on social media.
Finally, realize that the world of online – although appealing and so realistic – often has nothing to do with reality and it’s not worth living there. Get out from the screen and have an open conversation with your partner. Sometimes it is enough to save the marriage. But if divorce is still a pressing issue, try to reach it peacefully, without exhuming all filthy ins and outs kept carefully under wraps in your online social channels.
Elizabeth Vincento is a lawyer-to-be holding a J.D. degree from the George Washington University Law School where alternative dispute resolution was one of her majors. As a writer by design, she also helps couples to solve their divorce issues peacefully and with respect to each other at https://onlinedivorcer.com – both with her professional activity and expert word. With this initiative, she and two of her colleagues strive to remove pain points and huge, unreasonable expenses from the process and help couples out to get the well-timed and hassle-free divorce they deserve.