There are a lot of unsurprising causes of divorce. People grow apart. There’s infidelity. Having children has a way of, sometimes, stirring up issues. But would you believe it if I told you that divorce lawyers have revealed that many of the individuals they represent blame social media for the decline of their marriage? It’s true. I don’t necessarily think social media alone can cause a divorce. I do, however, believe that it can speed up problems that were already developing, trigger more hidden issues, and generally aggravating arguments that were already taking place. Social media has a very strange role in a marriage. Barely a decade ago, married couples didn’t “Like” each other’s posts and announce engagements through status updates to hundreds of strangers. Like it or not, we do have to navigate social media within our marriages. Here are possible reasons social media causes many divorces.
It creates a disconnect
The very fact that we can watch the element of our partner’s lives that don’t involve us creates an odd disconnect. We can look at his story, photos, and check-ins—all the activities we aren’t at. It really hammers in this feeling of being left out of our partner’s lives. If there was any distance to begin with, social media makes it worse.
You can dig back in time
You can scroll, scroll, and scroll, and probably find photos of your partner’s ex. Then you can go down the rabbit hole of looking her up, and judging his choice in partner. What does it say about him that he dated her? Even just seeing a photo of your partner with his arm around another woman eight years ago is unnatural.
We can see the competition
Even if it’s just perceived competition, we get a closer look—for the worse. If your partner has a coworker who you think has a small crush on him, you can look her up. You can see all of her hot bikini pics. You see the emojis she puts on his status updates. The jealousy becomes enraged.
“Who is that commenting on your pic?”
Our partners have conversations with people we don’t know all day long at work, at the gym—you name it. But when we see a stranger comment on our partner’s status, it raises those questions. Who is that? Why don’t I know who that person is? What does her comment mean?
A “Like” or “Comment” is worse than a hug
We can watch our partner give a hug to a friend of the opposite sex, but when a woman we don’t know adds a smiley face to our partner’s thread…blood boils. That little emoji seems like it carries so many hidden meanings.
It creates a sensation of secrets
You learn things, through snooping around, that you didn’t know about your partner. It may not even be anything bad. So, he went to Paris before you met and never mentioned it. But you start to wonder did he purposefully withhold this information? And if so, why?
The possibility for infidelity
If someone has unfaithful tendencies, social media is like a candy shop to philanderers. Of course, cheaters will find ways to cheat no matter what. But social media presents so many opportunities that many couples blame it for their infidelity issues.
The envy of others’ lives
We also get such a close look at the lives of other couples. We compare our relationship to theirs. We think their relationship looks better and so the questions begin: “Why don’t we have as many date nights as that couple?” and “Why don’t we travel as much as that couple?”
Poor representation of marital status
The simple factor of the relationship status can cause fights. What if you put “Married” on your profile and your partner doesn’t? What’s that about?
It takes up our attention
Then there’s the very fact that we are spending so much time scrolling through our social media feeds that we aren’t talking to each other. We aren’t even truly watching the movie we’re watching together—we’re on our phones, looking at Instagram. This, too, causes distance.
“Why don’t you post more photos of us?”
There’s this fight, too: why don’t you post more photos of us? Do you not want people to know you’re in a relationship? Are you ashamed of me?
Analyzing their past
Through digging through old photos, you can discover things that shed a new light on the present. You see your partner used to party a lot, for example. Now, when he has a few too many drinks you think, “Does he have a drinking problem?” You didn’t worry about that before your social media snooping.
“I saw you RSVP’d “going” to that event to which we were both invited. You didn’t consult me. I thought we were having a quiet date night that night but apparently you’ve made a decision for us to change that plan.”
Welcoming outsider input
If you do that little thing of posting passive aggressive updates clearly referencing the current fight you’re in with your partner, you welcome in outsider input. Somebody comments, “You’re right, your partner sucks” and that makes the fight even worse.
Another place to spy
Social media just provides one more way to spy on our partners. We can try to hack their inboxes. We can delve into their past. If someone already struggles with paranoia, it just provides another avenue for spying.