We live in the era of social media. Everything we do seems to find its way online. From selfies to snapshots of special moments to tweets and statuses about everyday events, all of this sharing is negative consequences on relationships.
According to a leading divorce lawyer in Los Angeles, CA, many marriages that end in divorce cite social media as the root of their problems. Many couples explain that social media led one of the partners being involved in infidelity or rumors of cheating. All of the drama led to a crumbling marriage.
But social media consequences doesn’t stop when the divorce papers are filed. Divorce proceedings can lead to more social media dirt being dug up. Many revengeful spouses will reveal social media activity to prove a number of accusations, from infidelity to financial matters.
A recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers shoed that more than 75 percent of divorce attorneys saw an increase of social media activity being used as evidence in divorce case.
However, is social media really to blame or is it more like the person using it? Mark Gaither, author of Redemptive Divorce, explains the role that social media plays.
“If social media- email, dating sites, etc. – does anything to contribute to the divorce rate, it makes illicit behavior convenient. Few people would leave a spouse at home to troll nightclubs for affairs because the exposure is too great. Too many excuses to make. Too high a risk of being seen. Too much effort to expend,” Gaither explains. “The Internet, however, offers anonymity and a concentrated pool of potential cheating partners, especially if the philanderer knows where to look.”
So, how to do you protect your marriage from becoming a social media casualty. Besides leaving social media in the dust (which is almost impossible), there are some steps you can do to make your relationship social media proof. The Covenant Eyes blog has five steps that can help you protect your marriage.
1. Perform a marriage check-up.
This is one of the most important steps, according to Gaither, is to ask troubled couples certain questions to see how they feel about the marriage. The questions also help range how each partner feels about each other and the state of the union. An example of one of his questions is , “In a conflict, is your first priority to understand your partner or to be understood?”
2. Create an open safe space.
Couples should have an open stream of communication. It is important that each partner feel comfortable talking the other. Allowing a safe space for each person to share or talk about anything will help the couple’s bond strengthen.
3. Find someone outside the marriage for openness.
Sometimes couples need a third person to help them talk through their issues. Whether you choose a trusted friend, church leader or therapist, another person might be able to bring clarity to a heated conflict. However, beware of sharing too much with another person.
4. Help make invisible temptations visible.
Gaither recommends sharing all online account information with each other. Hide nothing from your partner and make it impossible for a distrust to develop. A red flag should be raised if your significant other is reluctant to share this information with you.
5. Set boundaries.
Finally, remind yourself that boundaries are healthy. Don’t be afraid to tell your partner that you aren’t OK with them doing a particular activity. If they refuse, then you need to reevaluate the situation. Intimacy and trust should also be important parts of a marriage.