Cheating On Social Media
Cheating On Social Media – Social media and divorce – destroyer or saviour?
By Vanessa Fox – Keebles
Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp … in 2019 there are any number of social media platforms on which to communicate with your partner.
But the ever-evolving World Wide Web also offers the potential for our partners to reach many other people online across the world, too.
So, while many of us would agree that being able to ping your partner a message at anytime, anywhere from a smartphone is a good thing, for others the ease with which their partners can forge new connections from the very same app is proving a definite downside.
Multiple communication channels have increased the potential to cheat on your spouse and social media and mobile phones are frequently cited by lawyers in divorce cases.
Gone are the days of lipstick on the collar or a crumpled receipt for a hotel room. We are now more likely to discover our partner is cheating via a Facebook post or because they’ve been tagged in a post at an event after claiming they were stuck working late or in traffic.
Maybe they were even ‘outed’ by Ashley Madison’s data breach after the extramarital affairs website was hacked a couple of years ago.
So smartphone technology can undoubtedly increase our opportunity to DM (direct message) a Twitter or Instagram user we wouldn’t ordinarily meet away from the eyes of our partner – which can result in some pursuing illicit relationships IRL (in real life).
However, rather than simply regarding these devices and platforms as technological tools of marital breakdown, it is important to also consider the role that social media and technology can play in resolving conflict and helping warring couples to move forward and communicate after a split.
Once a relationship has broken down, communication can become very strained as both parties come to terms with feelings of hurt, betrayal, anger and even guilt. Mediation and counselling are encouraged to help both partners to discuss the issues and to work out resolutions, but many people find it difficult to discuss such matters face-to-face.
Using text and email to address issues can help, because the emotion is often less intense when communicating electronically. Ideally, separating couples should talk to one another and there will be times when a conversation is required, but emotions can run high.
At this point emails, Whatapp and text can provide couples with the space they need to calm down, although communicating via email or text can often involve comments made in anger and leaving a permanent record. It is very important to take a moment to think about what you want to say, rather than just reacting, irrespective of whether you are communicating online or offline. It is very important that texts and emails are not replied to immediately.
Ultimately, when used thoughtfully, social media, emails and texts can be extremely helpful, particularly when dealing with child care arrangements. Texts and emails can provide written confirmation of what plans have been agreed and can help to smooth over any misunderstandings about who has the children and when.
Similarly, when the anger has diminished, Facebook and Instagram can be great social forums for separated families to connect and communicate, with more people using it to share special moments of their children’s lives when they are with the other partner.
Tagging each other into Facebook or Instagram posts or tweets can, this time round, be a positive as it enables the absent parent to see what the child is doing, helping to create a co-parenting relationship and sparking topics of conversation for the absent parent to talk to their son and daughter about later. Far from showing the absent parent what they are missing, it provides the child with parental continuity and keeps the communication channels open, encouraging both parents to engage online with each other’s posts.
Social media and electronic technology may have featured in, or triggered, the breakdown of numerous relationships, but, used sensitively, they can play a crucial role in helping families to heal as well.
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