Keeping a marriage alive and well has always been an ongoing challenge for couples. In the good old days, the “mother-in-law” was always blamed for interfering with the marriage. But today, social networking is the hurdle putting marriages to the test. According to Divorce-Online, a British legal service, more than a third of divorces implicate Facebook. And, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports that more than 80% of the divorce attorneys in the U.S. see an increase in divorce actions involving social networking. So, with social media becoming a universal form of communication, what can you and your spouse do to protect your relationship?
It’s very tempting in the heat of a marital spat to want to vent. Before the internet, you would confide in your best friend over a cup of coffee. No big deal if you said some things you regret – it was just one person after all. But social media is real time and it’s not just one person you are sharing with … it’s the world. While you may be looking for an appreciative audience to validate your grievances, friends and family don’t want to be put in the middle – and it’s likely to back fire on you.
A good example of sharing too much information is a woman who posted complaints about her spouse every day on Facebook. At first, her friends thought she was just prone to drama or she and her spouse might be going through a rough patch. But as time went on, the posts became more toxic and her friends became more uncomfortable. One by one, they started to defriend her, and ultimately the couple divorced.
Regardless of the nature of your marital problems, sharing these matters on social networks leads to feelings of betrayal and lack of trust. And, hurtful posts can reduce your chances of working out problems.
If negative postings make adults uncomfortable, just think how they affect children who may have access to their Mom or Dad’s Facebook page? It can be very embarrassing for children, force them to choose sides and foster feeling of insecurity. Kids should never be a part of your marital fights … on line or off.
Just as you monitor your children’s use of social media, you and your spouse need to set rules for yourselves. Nothing should be shared with the outside world unless you’re both in agreement … even good positive moments. Not everyone wants the intimate details of their lives out on the web, or pictures posted that they feel uncomfortable with others seeing.
Be cautious and considerate about whom you befriend. How secure do either of you feel with befriending people from past relationships? Refrain from posting comments to others that could be misconstrued as suggestive or flirting. And, come to an agreement on time spent networking before it becomes an issue.
By sharing your Facebook passwords with each other, you can build trust and help keep yourselves within your agreed boundaries. Remember that openness and honesty helps build the foundation for a good marriage. And, if you cannot post something nice … don’t post anything at all!
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