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1 in 4 married couples argue about social media

June 27, 2015  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

social media divorce

According to new research, a quarter of couples fight about social media use – from monitoring each other’s online activity to the creation of secret social accounts. The rise of social media has had a significant impact on relationships over the last decade, whether it’s helping people find love through dating sites or causing rifts between couples who are suspicious about what their partner gets up to online.

The survey of 2,000 married couples explored the negative effects of social platforms on relationships and revealed that a quarter of respondents argued with their spouse at least once a week about social media, while 17% said the subject caused daily rows. Facebook was deemed the most instrumental in marital arguments, followed by WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram. Other platforms such as Skype and Snapchat also featured in the report, both of which offer private methods of communication – an aspect many people felt anxious about, as it meant their partner could be carrying on an affair via social media.

The ease of conducting private conversations on social media seemed to be the most common cause for concern, even if there was no foul play involved. 14% of those surveyed said they had checked their partner’s account to look for evidence of infidelity, and one in seven had contemplated divorce as a result. Couples also commonly argued about the length of time spent on social media, with Facebook being the worst offender. Other causes for disagreement included making contact with exes, posting inappropriate photos, and sending secret messages. Over half of all couples knew their partner’s login details, making snooping even easier. As a knock-on effect of this distrust, perhaps, one in eight respondents admitted they kept certain social accounts a secret from their partner.

From the 2,000 couples surveyed:

  • 1/4 argued about social media at least once a day
  • 17% argued about social media every day
  • 1/3 kept their login details a secret from their partner
  • 58% knew their partner’s login details (though not all partner were aware of this!)
  • 1/5 felt uncomfortable about something they’d seen on their partner’s social media accounts
  • 43% confronted their spouse about something they had seen on Facebook that affected their relationship
  • 40% were not comfortable raising issues about messages or images they’d seen on their partner’s social media straight away
  • 1/7 contemplated divorce over their partner’s activities on social media
  • 14% looked through their partner’s social media accounts for evidence of cheating
  • 1/10 hid posts, messages and images from their partner on social media
  • 1/8 kept secret social media accounts
  • 1/20 were upset that their partner did not post pictures of them as a couple
  • 15% thought social media was a danger to their marriage

The use of social media in the process of dispute resolution has risen in recent years, both as a contributor to relationship breakdown and as a potential source of evidence for individuals claiming unreasonable behaviour or adultery as grounds for divorce.

As we discussed in our recent post on the role of social media in the separation process, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on your social activity if you’re going through a rough patch in your relationship. Posts and activity on social platforms are increasingly being included in divorce proceedings, and your past may come back to haunt you. After all, what goes on the internet, stays on the internet…

If you need help negotiating separation, or would like advice on the different types of dispute resolution, contact our friendly family law team in Maidenhead and Beaconsfield. 

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