Social media is fast changing the way we interact and change the contours of a ‘modern marriage’ at a fast rate. Social media is also becoming a leading reason for conflict among married couples leading to divorce. So social media and divorce are indelibly linked and that is what we will explore in this article.
Social media and divorce
Just last year, a 30-year-old Delhi man made headlines when he filed a divorce petition in a family court seeking a divorce from his social media addict wife, only a year after they were married.
He claimed that his wife showed more interest in the virtual world than she had in him or his family. The court admitted his petition. He revealed that on confronting his wife with late-night WhatsApp chats with her male friend- she threatened him with dire consequences.
Social Media’s negative impact on marriage
Social media eats into family time causing undue strife in marriages globally. With couples spending more time on social media, ‘communication gap’ happens and people begin to have unrealistic expectations from spouses.
If social media and divorce statistics are to be believed, a study published in Computers in Human Behaviour found 20% annual increase in Facebook enrollment associated with 2.18% to 4.32% increase in divorce rates.
The study’s model from the individual survey results predicted that people that do not use social media are 11% happier in their marriages than people that regularly use social media.
8 Ways Social Media And Divorce Are Connected
Researchers are now trying to find out how many marriages has Facebook destroyed or the number of couples who are part of the phenomenon of WhatsApp divorce in India and delving into questions like ‘What percent of divorces are caused by Facebook?’ or ‘Is social media bad for marriage?’ So Bonobology breaks down the reasons why Social Media causes divorce.
1. Causes unnecessary drama
Spouses can constantly stalk and check the social media posts and sometimes may not agree with some. This leads to undue strife among the couple. Sometimes what one party may post, including pictures or comments, can also end up embarrassing the other and infringe on your better half’s social boundaries. People end up snooping, connecting to exes or past flames or new crushes thereby moving away from their partners in real life.
2. Sets unrealistic expectations from spouses
Social media also puts a lot of pressure on modern Indian couples to appear ‘perfect’ and ‘loved up’ constantly in posts and photos. Many a time people tend to compare their marriage to a peer or a complete stranger simply because they choose to put up posts and photos of a ‘picture-perfect marriage’.
3. Communication Gap
More social media use leads to less ‘we time’ and partners end up losing real-time connection with one another, thereby killing real conversations with each other. A constant refrain among married couples today is: “He/She is always on Facebook” or “You are always on social media”.
4. Facebook creating strife
Facebook has become a prime source of jealousy and danger for couple fights as people reconnect with old or new flames and carry on double lives unknown to their spouse.
Keeping their new relationship a secret makes people spend long hours on social media which creates jealousy and mistrust in the marriage. One partner constantly feels ignored by the other, who is busy replacing the spouse with social media or someone he/she met through that.
5. Less privacy
Today nobody is really safe from the ever prying eyes of social media apps who glean a lot of information through permissions etc. Strangers and people with bad intentions have access to your personal information and life moments. How they use this could be harmful to you and your marriage. With privacy options changing daily on social media and being hard to access, your posts are viewed by hundreds of strangers thereby giving away information on your relationships, photos, posts, location, work profile etc.
6. Keeping up with the Joneses
Many people, who use social media, end up feeling depressed when they see posts/photos where a different reality from their own is projected by others. This can also hamper interpersonal relationships between a married couple by causing jealousy, arguments, comparisons, competition and depression.
With social media posts and pictures largely being about achievement and success or excitement, it causes married couples to feel like under-achievers and pressurize them to keep up with the Joneses.
7. A fake support system
This is true especially with people who are vulnerable, lonely or going through a tough patch in their marriage and don’t find confidantes in real life. People maintain affairs with its help or open up their life and secrets to complete strangers who use it in a negative way both financially and through infidelity. Sometimes a third party who is privy to the marriage may end up convincing you that the love is lost in your marriage. This could be toxic for marriage and end up breaching the trust and love built over the years.
8. Is Facebook bad for marriage?
Social media apps like Facebook gives couples easy access to not just their friends and peers but also their exes. Aneri Kothari a 28-year-old ophthalmologist in Bengaluru confides, “When I feel insecure or vulnerable, or bored I look up other’s posts and instantly feel I’m doing badly compared to them. Sometimes it also affects my relationship as I feel we are not doing interesting or exciting things as many others whose posts I read. I also stalk my ex just to see if he is doing better than me in life.”
Relationships formed on social media like Facebook and WhatsApp are being effectively used by lawyers these days in litigating divorce of their clients.
Social media evidence in divorce cases
How social media affects divorce is that from incriminating posts to location-specific posts to scandalous posts on Twitter, lewd remarks on posts or a random chat – can land you in a legal soup these days, especially in divorce litigation. Since many of these apps use location, date and save data in a cloud, it has become an open and shut case for vulnerable couples whose marriage is dissolving to use against each other.
While courts are now admitting social media evidence in divorce cases, senior lawyer Usha Andewar cautions, “While social media is becoming a cause of conflict among couples, there need to be more strong reasons for a court to grant a couple a divorce. Even though a lot of social media evidence is being produced in courts but one must understand that they in themselves are not proof. It is tough to prove a case via social media evidence only.”
So this is proved that social media and divorce are interconnected in more ways than one. While on the one hand, it creates strife in a marriage, pushing couples into affairs and emotional infidelity, on the other hand, things posted and written on Social Media can be used as evidence in court while fighting a divorce case. How you handle social media goes a long way in deciding the direction of your marriage.