While we all recognize the meteoric rise of social media in our lives, most of us do not consider it a significant factor in divorce. The fact is, however, that a 2013 study points to just such a connection. The upshot of the study is that people who spend more time on Facebook and other social media platforms are more likely to experience conflict related to social media with their spouses, and that conflict can lead to divorce.
The study focused on social media – specifically Facebook – and relationship outcomes, and it finds that excessive use of Facebook can lead to considerable conflict in romantic relationships, including:
- Emotional Affairs – Some people who rely too heavily on social media fall into emotional affairs in which they turn to someone online to fill their emotional needs.
- Physical Affairs – Sometimes, an emotional affair begun online evolves into a full-blown physical affair that is an overt betrayal of one's marital contract.
- Separation or Divorce – The effect of fostering an inappropriate relationship (or relationships) online can cause such a rift that it leads to separation or divorce.
The 2013 study cites a good deal of prior research that indicates the more time a spouse (or romantic partner) spends on Facebook or another social media platform, the more likely that person is to carefully monitor his or her partner’s activity on social media. This stringent monitoring can lead to Facebook-induced jealousy based on one’s partner’s interactions with past partners and/or with potential new partners. This negative consequence is most closely associated with newer marriages and relationships and can lead to serious relationship difficulties.
Using Social Media Wisely
Everyone loves the occasional jolt of happiness that comes from viewing a photo of a cute kitten that has gone viral, but when does our engagement with social media cross the line into too much? The Mayo Clinic shares that technology, including social media outlets, can suck up excessive amounts of time if you do not place limits on yourself. Further, it expounds that using social media excessively can negatively affect your emotional health and could negatively affect your personal relationships. Finding ways to keep your social media usage within the healthy range could help you bolster your marriage.