Can social media addiction cause a divorce?

Over the past two decades, users have seen an explosion of popularity around a broad range of social networking sites. Whether it is maintaining professional relationships through LinkedIn, sharing photos on Instagram or voicing opinions on Facebook, people the world over have grown accustomed to visiting these sites dozens if not hundreds of times each day. Unfortunately, social media addiction can cause cracks in an otherwise solid marriage foundation.

For many, social media has taken the place of the common phone call. It is easier to share information, thoughts, photos and videos on these various sites. Unfortunately, this open forum also allows couples to share information that either should have remained private or could easily be misunderstood. For numerous reasons, social media addiction can erode a marriage:

  • Jealousy: When one partner interacts with a former significant other or has a discussion with an individual perceived as competition, jealousy often overcomes the husband or wife. For many, Facebook status updates, conversations and Messenger communications often represent cheating or the potential for extramarital affairs.
  • Secrets: Many individuals consider interactions on social media akin to friendly conversations that would otherwise be private. It is a place to share information with friends, personal thoughts and worries for the future. For this reason, many spouses keep their passwords, login information and communications private from loved ones. Unfortunately, this can lead to mistrust and the general worry that something insidious is happening behind their backs.
  • False evidence: Like many scenarios in life, individuals often seek evidence that supports their own concerns or initial hypotheses. This can be especially dangerous in the realm of social media sites since there is so much content to examine. Throwaway “likes,” comments made in anger or unflattering photos shared can all trigger an incorrect response. Many spouses use this data to support their own insecurities or worries about the strength – or lack thereof – in the marriage.

Unfortunately, these feelings of insecurity, jealousy and mistrust can all contribute to a failing marriage. If the couple is already facing difficult times, the use of social media as an emotional outlet can only seem to make things worse. With divorce on the horizon, it is best to limit the use of all but the most essential social media outlets as your spouse could use posts for negotiations in their favor. From property division to a parenting plan, an experienced attorney can often cast social media posts to favor their client no matter the original intent.

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