Imagine that it’s 1985 and, instead of being at home with your spouse and children, you’re outside your ex’s house, peering into their windows. You’re not there for any nefarious purpose, of course, you’re just wondering what’s going on in their life. Totally unacceptable. In fact, you’re looking at jail time and your current spouse might divorce you. Well, thanks to the invention of social media, we’ve made it possible to stalk your ex without going to jail—or getting in trouble with your spouse. Statistics show that 10% of affairs begin online, and a third of divorced couples cite Facebook as a major contributing factor to the divorce. Yet most Americans justify having a Facebook account. If you want to protect your marriage, you need to know why social media is dangerous and how to set boundaries while using it.
Your Ex’s Highlight Reel
Most social media platforms offer users a chance to create their very own highlight reel. And, if you’re married, looking at your ex’s highlight reel is probably not the best thing for your marriage. The highlight reel you’re seeing of your ex is them at their very best. They’re not advertising the fact that they’ve gained ten pounds. In fact, their pictures would have you thinking they’ve lost ten pounds. Looking at your ex’s highlight reel is a quick way to forget all the things about your ex that totally stunk.
The Grass Is Always Greener
Humans are wired to compare themselves and others to other people. It’s how we evaluate the world around us. When comparison is unhealthy, we may begin to feel like the grass is greener on the other side. In the previously mentioned highlight reels, everyone is posting about how wonderful their spouse is and how well behaved their children are. Nobody is posting about the three-hour fight they had with their spouse or about how their three-year-old still isn’t toilet trained. When we compare our lives with the highlight reels on Facebook, the highlight reels are almost always going to come out on top because they’re only showcasing the good. This has the potential to make you think something is missing in your life when it really isn’t. Because in all honesty the grass on the other side probably looks a lot like your grass.
Socially Acceptable Harmless Flirting
Twenty years ago, you wouldn’t dream of telling your ex they look great in that swimsuit—especially when your spouse can easily overhear it. But in 2021, there’s nothing wrong with liking that picture of your ex on the beach—after all, you weren’t expressly telling them they look great. You were simply saying, “I’m happy you had a nice time on the beach.” Right? Social media platforms have increased plausible deniability and made flirting socially acceptable.
Did you know that Facebook and Instagram have vanishing messages? Well, now you can send messages to anyone and have it vanish as soon as they read it. Which means you can have lots of secret conversations that are not discoverable. This has led to people going forward with emotional affairs more often because they believe they won’t get caught. And, then the vanishing messages turn into “hey, let’s meet up.” Clearly, these behaviors are not conducive to building a healthy marriage. And, if you are sending vanishing messages so that your spouse won’t see them, you should probably reevaluate where you are in your marriage.
Protecting Your Marriage
If you want to protect your marriage from the dangers of social media, it’s important to have open and honest conversations with your spouse about how social media should be used in your marriage. Coming up with guidelines and setting boundaries as a couple is the most surefire way to protect against the problems social media can cause. But if social media has damaged your marriage past the point of repair, CoilLaw is here for you. We have the best family law attorneys in Salt Lake City. If you’re ready to move forward with the divorce process, contact CoilLaw today.