Published on Thursday, 24 July 2014 18:46
Social media is everywhere. From Twitter to Facebook, social media is touted as the ultimate means of bringing people together. For some couples, however, social media is the force that is driving them apart. In fact, more marriage therapists say they are seeing an increasing number of couples who choose to divorce over issues stemming from social media.
Social Media - Good or Bad?
Why are social media websites and text messages causing so much discord within marriages? Some spouses feel like they must compete with technology for their partner's attention. When a spouse is always sending text messages or messaging on Facebook, the other spouse can feel ignored and, even worse, suspicious.
Unfortunately, the suspicions might not always be unfounded. According to Bob Rosenwein of Lehigh University, people chatting online frequently fall for each other in one week's time. Compared to those who date in person, online relationships move two to three times as fast.
According to Rosenwein, this is because there is less inhibition in online relationships. As these relationships are based on verbal communication, the individuals are more likely to disclose more personal information. This makes the relationship feel intimate in a short period of time.
Even when these relationships never become physical, they can be devastating to a marriage. The emotional betrayal the spouse experiences can often be just as powerful as if there was a physical affair.
Online Infidelity - Possible Causes
What is causing this increase in online infidelity? Social media provides people with more opportunities to cheat, as they can tweet or message someone privately at any time of the day.
For example, before social media, people had to be more intrusive to connect with others. They would have to call them at home or seek them out personally. Now, you can send a co-worker or an ex a private message at any time. While most of these connections start out innocently, they can escalate quickly.
So, what can you do if you and your spouse use social media and want to protect your marriage?
First, if you want to stay connected by using social media tools and websites, one option is to share your accounts and profiles with your spouse. If this is not an option you prefer, some therapists suggest both spouses provide the other with the passwords for their accounts. Fritsch emphasizes that this practice does not mean the couple does not trust each other. Rather, sharing passwords facilitates open and honest communication.
Second, spouses should always consider how the actions they take using social media would make their partners feel. For example, if an ex requests to be your friend on Facebook, how would your partner feel if you accepted the request? While many spouses will not mind if their partner is friends with their exes on Facebook, they will still appreciate the information. If a spouse feels uncomfortable with the situation, this will allow the parties to discuss a solution.
Finally, remember to trust your instincts. If you are sending texts or emails that you would not want your spouse to see, you are probably crossing a line.
And remember, it is better to prevent the issue before it errupts. If you find yourself in a hard situation, seek a help of a qualified divorce attorney.