Posted by Rachel Nauen
Our relationships today often have a third-party, and it’s causing some issues. Social networking sites are heavily incorporating themselves into our relationships and we’re hurting from it.
According to a study conducted recently by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, more than 80% of the divorce attorneys polled have seen an increase in the number of divorce cases using social networking evidence.
It makes sense – how often do you “Facebook creep” your significant other? How frequently do you check out their Twitter timeline? Do you log on to see their new connections on LinkedIn or MySpace? Are you guilty of analyzing and drawing conclusions from their song lyrics and statuses?
Chances are you or someone you know have dealt with a relationship issue that arose from a form of social media. Infidelity is finding an easy outlet through social networking sites. Liking someone’s photo or sending them a DM (direct message) on Twitter are both ways to reach someone in a secretive way online. AIM and Facebook chat also offer a way to chat privately. “Social media has changed the way infidelity is discovered. With spying, posing as someone else and countless other ways individuals have schemed to discover infidelity, the possibilities are endless”, says Belky Perez Schwartz, a psychotherapist in Florida.
After finding discrepancies in a partner’s online behavior, one then has to deal with the issue of breaking up publicly through these networks. It’s hard breaking up with someone. Social networking sites have made it even messier. Before these sites, when you broke up with your significant other that was it. You didn’t have to see tagged photos, the “single” relationship status, or deal with the messy “defriending” situation. Now, there are loads of questions and gray areas.
Indiana researcher Ilana Gershon is exploring the study of Internet break-ups. “Online breakups are an emerging social media phenomenon,” she explains in an Indiana University interview, “And the appropriate and accepted online etiquette has yet to be determined for the kinds of social dilemmas online breakups present.”
What do you think about the presence of social media in a relationship? What benefits could it have? Are there social networking ground rules every couple should discuss? And what about the dreaded end – what is the proper etiquette for ending the relationship and dealing with its aftermath?