We are a society on the move. And because of that, most people no longer live near their families. And because of that, they rely on social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – to stay connected and keep up with all the important people in their lives about all the important stuff. Our fixation and dependency on social media has become a game changer in profound ways. That’s the good stuff.
However, there’s a downside to all that social media – predominately Facebook and Instagram. The effects of social media hasn’t always a good thing and has proven disastrous when it comes to marriage, divorce, and relationships. All the ‘fabulous’ pictures of people’s lives being documented in real time can provoke jealousy among friends and foes – and facebook envy. People focus their time and attention on the wrong thing – namely other people’s lives – and less on the right places – their relationship. All this focus on others people’s lives negatively affects romantic relationships.
Mary arrives home from work and after spending a few minutes with her partner, sits down on the couch and spends the rest of the evening posting and scrolling through her friends’ posts. There is little conversation between Mary and her partner. He tries to engage her in conversation, but all attempts at communication are thwarted. After awhile, her partner gives up. He feel helpless. The message? Facebook is more important that their relationship.
Laura and Rick were married for several years. They were busy raising two teenage girls. She was a stay at home mom and he had his own business. However, Rick started to notice some changes in his wife that at first glance, he couldn’t quite put his finger on. He found himself taking care of his girls more, bringing them to sports practice, and doing more around the house. Then he started to notice some things that were missing. He tried to talking to his wife, to no avail. Although he did’t like what he did next – he did it anyway. He put a tracking device on his wife’s car and soon learned that when she said she was visiting friends in her hometown, she was half way across the country with a guy she met on Facebook. He was blindsided. They divorced soon thereafter.
According to research by CNBC, there is a correlation between social media usage and divorce rates in the US. The study found that with a twenty percent annual increase in Facebook enrollment, there was anywhere from a 2.18 percent to a 4.32 percent increase in divorce rates depending on the model used. One interpretation is people in problematic relationships may be turning to social media for a support system, increasing the likelihood that marriage will not survive.
Further, research conducted by University of Missouri School of Journalism, indicated that ‘high levels of Facebook use among couples significantly predicted Facebook-related conflict, which then significantly predicted negative relationship outcomes such as cheating, breakup, and divorce.’ (Read the entire article here)
Its not uncommon that these relationships start due to relationship strife and problems, a spouse/partner feeling isolated, disconnected, and unable or unsure how to make things better. Communication problems and a loss of safety and trust has eroded the relationship. And when there is a new relationship, its hard for the current one to compete against the feelings inherent in a new and clandestine relationship – fleeting feelings of novelty and excitement, no boredom, coupled with a desire to escape the strife in their life.
Despite the number of marriages that do end, many couples find a way to work through the relationship problems and get back on track – if both people are vested in the process.
This blog was originally posted on Womensemergence.com