Could Social Networking Damage a Marriage?


In a similar theme to yesterday's article, where we expressed concern at how the digital age is maybe allowing us to share more than we wish - Today we look at social media as a whole. Can too much use of Facebook and its rivals cause harm to a marriage or personal relationship?

Social Networking

Researchers from the universities of Missouri, Hawaii and San Antonio have asserted that an "excessive" use of Facebook – taken to mean checking the social network hourly or more – could lead to "conflict" with spouses and partners.

This in turn might create circumstances whereby "emotional and physical cheating, breakup and divorce" could become more likely.

The Facebook Factor

The US findings echo similar results from a survey of UK divorce lawyers in 2012, in which Facebook was considered a factor in 33% of 2011 British divorces.

On canvassing 205 users of Facebook aged 18 to 82, 79% in the American study said they were involved romantically.

According to research head Russell Clayton, earlier studies showed that the more people in relationships adopt Facebook, the greater the likelihood they will check up on their partners' activity.

Bad Habits

Mr Clayton went on to express how these habits could lead to feelings of jealousy, which in turn may transpire into arguments concerning a partner's past. The study also found that excessive Facebook users are more likely to connect or reconnect with other Facebook users. This again could include previous partners, which may lead to emotional and physical cheating.

It would seem that a definite trend has been picked up by the American led study. Facebook use between partners appears stronger with new relationships, but is associated with negative outcomes for couples of three years or less. Mr Clayton noted that Facebook activity should be curbed in order to preserve lasting partnerships.

"Cutting back to moderate, healthy levels of Facebook usage could help reduce conflict, particularly for newer couples who are still learning about each other."

At Simpson Millar LLP we are all too aware of the digital age impacting on marriage and family life. We have a specialist team of family law solicitors who can offer advice in this area.

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