We heard stories of couples experiencing challenging situations and even go to the extreme point of separating or divorcing all just because of the influence of social media. For real? Yes. This is actually happening today and this article will try to elaborate further on how social media can destroy marriage and will also look into the strategies to prevent it from happening.
No lengthy conversations about having kids, what neighborhood to live in, whether to commingle finances, and if we really wanted to commit to each other in this way. — Robert Weiss Ph.D., MSW
The mainstream activities of everyone nowadays will involve getting connected through any social media platform. The initial greeting next to “Hi” and “Hello” is perhaps a question “Are you on Facebook?” or “What’s your Twitter account?”. With the introduction of social media into our lives and our involvement in making new friends or keeping old ones, it has also taken a new level of conflict among couples. Despite the benefits of social media brings, it can also pose negative setbacks in one’s marriage. The following are some counts of incidences that were implicated to affect the relationship.
- Increased access to social media or the internet can create less communication between partners. Checking your messages or online activities are not bad, but if you are doing this inappropriately like constantly taking out your phone and actually responding to messages while on a date with your partner, or still checking on your Facebook posts before going to sleep, then this is something to be alarmed of.
Strategy: Make an effort to be there for your partner — physically and emotionally. You may be together but you are distracted or more involved with your smartphone rather than listening and interacting with your spouse. Find an appropriate time to check your social media accounts in a way that this cannot hinder your togetherness. Limit internet access when you are on a date or spending quality time together.
- Meeting “old flames” and ex-relationships online. Now this will require a very mature person to handle and understand the situation why your partner suddenly accepted a friend request coming from an ex-. Jealousy sets in especially if the act will be kept as a secret and will continue to do so until the other half will discover that you are engaging in a covert communication with each other.
In an average divorce group I run, as many as 70% of the participants were dumped by their spouse without prior warning. — Susan Pease Gadoua L.C.S.W.
Strategy: One response that was suggested was to know each other’s passwords and be open about their social media accounts. This may work for some, but it would also mean taking the right of privacy of your partner. Yes, you may be married now and do things together as married couples, but this does not mean that you have to snoop around on their personal accounts. The best way to approach this is, to be honest about the situation. Tell your partner about it, “Hey, Marg just sent me a friend request. Is it okay with you?” If your partner is not comfortable about this then don’t pursue accepting the friend request. Always think about this — respect and commitment, and you will never go wrong.
- Watch out for what you post or comment. Sometimes disagreement or misunderstandings can become a full-blown fight over a Facebook post or comments being made.
Strategy: Both of you have different opinions and views of the subject matter. You can debate on topics and argue with each other, but do it privately and not on the social media platforms. You are each other’s support and you should remain as one. To the reading public, a negative post about your partner or disagreeing with each other will show your relationship’s vulnerability and this is not acceptable in social media etiquette. Keep your problems and solve them in the confines of your home never on social media.
- Chat rooms are no longer safe for married couples. Don’t get me wrong here. There are chat rooms that concern important topics like support groups, online therapy, hobbies, or special interests. These are healthy interactions and can help the person in so many ways. However, if you care still involve with stranger chats like online dating or looking for someone to talk just for the sake of talking, then this can be a problem in your relationship later on. Of course, something that is new to this entire conversation is using technology and the internet to speak with licensed psychologists online (as discussed here) that can sometimes be misunderstood as forming an inappropriate relationship with someone other than a spouse.
A relationship can be a lonely place, and that can be confusing because we’re not alone; we may even spend a lot of time with our partner. We may not recognize the signs of emotional abandonment. — Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT
Strategy: Try to limit your conversations with persons not known to you or get involved in chat rooms that can lead to illicit affairs. This is called digital infidelity and can be grounds for divorce. It is not always safe to speak with someone online and talk about your personal problems. If you need someone to talk to about your problem, the best person to talk with is your spouse. Or bring the matter to a marriage counselor or therapist that can professionally help your marital concerns.
The internet and social media are wonderful innovations of our time. It made our lives much easier in so many ways but be cautious of your acts and dealings once you involved with it. Your marriage takes number one priority and if social media is replacing this, then you need to take a break and find help to save it.