Divorce and Social Networking Sites

Privacy button on keyboardWelcome to the 21st century, where Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and a host of other social networking sites have made it possible for you to be in touch with your old high school or college friends, long lost relatives, people you worked with 15 years ago, and that best friend you had at summer camp when you were 14. How else would this be possible? In addition to just being able to make contact, you find that many people on these sites also tell you a great deal about their lives, logging in each day to tell you what it is they’re doing right now, what is happening in their marriages and at work, what they’re going to do next, and how they feel about it. For many this is the kind of openness and sharing they have been wanting in their lives. It is a way to express their joy at all the wonderful things they have experienced: their partners, their children, their careers, etc. For others, it is a forum for expressing their anger at their boss, their girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, parents, etc.

There have been instances where one spouse has put the information about the affair his/her partner had on Facebook. Sometimes it is the person having the affair who has offered information they thought would be private, only to find out that no privacy actually exists. The days of the community knowing what goes on behind closed doors has spread to as large a community as you can imagine. One thing to consider when putting information on social networking sites is that you can’t take it off again. The entry is permanent.

Depending on the current age of your children, it may mean they may have access to this information as well. You may want to think about whether this is something you would like to deal with the next day, next week or next year, depending on when they might get access to what you had written. In the case of divorce, another person who may be checking the social networking sites is your ex-partner’s attorney. It has become an important resource for knowing what kind of questions to ask in divorce proceedings. Many attorneys have indicated they do a Google search of all parties, including their own client.

When people are angry, they do not always think about the consequences of their actions, as when they can’t take back what they wrote on one of these sites in the heat of the moment. Privacy is breached when you write something about others as well as about yourself. The Golden Rule is always a good measuring rod.

Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you.

According to Divorce-Online, Facebook was named in one-third of all divorce filings in 2011. So, whether you are already in the midst of your divorce and letting your Facebook friends know what is going on or if you are engaged in activities that can be found out about because of the social networking information you have made available about yourself, that information is more than likely going to be seen by people you would rather did not have access to it. And remember, there is no way to un-ring the bell.

Words of caution for posting to a social networking site:

  • Monitor your emotions when considering what you write.
  • Think about what you would want your children to have access to well into the future.
  • Be aware of your privacy concerns when your ability to change your mind is not available.
  • Consider all the people you would not want to know what you have written and assume access, in some way, is possible.
  • Think about how it feels when others write unsavory things about you before you write the same about them.

Related articles:
Breaking Up on Facebook
Children and Divorce
Lying Games

© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Shendl Tuchman, Psy.D., Divorce / Divorce Adjustment Topic Expert Contributor

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • barb h

    August 27th, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    I hate those people who think that I want to know every stinking detail of their lives and they post it all on fb for everyone to see! Don’t they have any couth anymore? I like fb just as much as the nxt person and it has been fun to reconnect with all of my old friends andcatching up with them after all these years. But do I need to know what they are cooking for dinner? Or watching on tv? Or that they or their spouse is having an affair? No. There are snome things that should still remain private and I think that there are tons of people who have lost site of this in today’s social networking world.

  • Sully

    August 27th, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Going thru a divorce? Might be the good time to get off the social network grid for a while

  • ash

    August 28th, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    I hate sharing personal things on social networking sites.As you have mentioned, once uploaded it will remain somewhere you can never ever permanently delete it again.But many people do not understand this-I often think of sharing personal things on social networks as being nothing short of washing your own dirty laundry in public.

  • John S

    August 28th, 2012 at 4:13 AM

    Facebook, love it or hate it, is one of those things that we’ve become stuck with and you just have to know when something is apporpriate to post and when it is not.

    Personally I go on Facebook to keep up with friends and have lightweight re-connections with old friends and pass the time with new ones. That’s it. It should not be the place to receive your therapy, it should not be the place to go to air every single grievance that you have. When I see someone ramping up the soap opera bit a little too much I just hide them so I don’t have to even scroll through all of that any more.

    And you’re right- I do think that sometimes we post without giving full thought to who all has access to that and how we could come across. Especially for those who are in the midst of a divorce and posting all their pics and stories, that’s just another opportunity for you to get burned and I don’t think that when something like your marriage ot your children are at stake that you should be taking those kinds of chances.

  • Heath M

    August 28th, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    First it was the spouse asking for facebook password and now potential employers asking for it.Where are we headed! Where has the privacy gone?! And don’t tell me to log off such sites if I want privacy. If I want to share certain things with a private network of friends then I have all the rights to do so,with guaranteed protection of my privacy!

  • Parker

    August 28th, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    One thing that I really hate about all of these social sites, be it facebook or whatever, is the number of people who are hooking up that way. They are meeting up with people that they dayed in high school or college, and are rekindling what they broke from a long time ago. And most of them are already married but are now cheating on their spouses with someone that they re-meet up with on these websites. I tell you, it’s like nothing is sacred anymore except for those facebook times and intimacies that never would have been had it not been for the ease that these sites offer. I suppose that someone who is willing to meet up this way could have been bound to cheat anyway, but this just makes it so much easier doesn’t it?

  • lori

    August 29th, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    For some of my Facebook friends, they use the site as a form of retaliation, the ultimate way to get back at someone who they see as having wronged them. Me, I personally believe in working things out in private so I try not to even engage in some of the petty things that I read on there. I have seen that there are some people who get depressed when they read about how good some of their friends lives are when they are updating their status, but I sometimes read others miserable postings just to bring me back to earth and remember how thankful I should be to have a normal life and none of the drama that apparently is rampant in their lives.

  • k Joiner

    August 30th, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    I have to say that I was mortified to find out that my then husband, when we were first separated, had gone ahead and posted pics of he and the new gal on his facebook account. I was mad but then got even- the lawyers took one look and needless to say I got pretty much everything out of the divorce that I asked for, so not all bad ;)

  • Catrin

    March 23rd, 2016 at 1:25 AM

    Hi I think that divorce can polarises everything, so that includes emotions. if you are a natural sharer in that you externalise emotion to get it of your back, Facebook is a very unfortunate tool. Catrin

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.org's Terms and Conditions of Use.

* Indicates required field.

GoodTherapy uses cookies to personalize content and ads to provide better services for our users and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this site you consent to our cookies.