How Social Media Affects Marriage
The effects of social media use (and misuse) on marriage and relationships
Social media has changed the way we meet and interact with each other.
It provides a platform to learn more about people you associate with.
This can be a problem, however, when it comes to romantic relationships.
Research shows that increased usage of social media may lead to marital
problems, infidelity, and divorce.
“You spend too much time on Facebook”
It’s not only what a person does on social media, but also how much
time they spend doing it that can create conflict. Excessive time spent
on social media has been shown to negatively impact romantic relationships.
A recent study, published in
Computers in Human Behavior, compared state-by-state divorce rates to per-capita Facebook accounts.
The study found a link between social media use and decreased marriage
quality in every model analyzed. It also found that a 20% annual increase
in Facebook enrollment was associated with a 2.18% to 4.32% increase in
divorce rates. The study’s model from the individual survey results
predicts that people that do not use social media are 11% happier in their
marriages than people that are regularly use social media.
Suspicious behavior, snooping, and jealousy
Social media provides easy access for a jealous or suspicious spouse to
seek out information about the interactions of a significant other. Whether
suspicions are founded or unfounded, people often feel uneasy about their
relationship after discovering something on their partner’s Facebook
account. This often leads to increased monitoring, jealousy, and conflict
in a relationship. In fact, researchers have found that the more a person
examines their partner’s Facebook activity, the more that person
reports jealousy and mistrust.
Social media and infidelity
Unfortunately, suspicions about a partner’s social media interactions
are often warranted. One in ten adults admits to hiding messages and posts
from their significant other. Eight percent of adults in relationships
admit to having secret accounts. And one in three divorces now start as
With smartphones and social media apps, it’s never been easier for
dissatisfied spouses to look for a new relationship, get in contact with
an ex, or seek out a fling. A whopping 30% of Tinder users are married.
Sites like AshleyMadison.com even cater to married people looking for
affairs – over 130 million people worldwide visit Ashley Madison
It’s not all bad news, though…
More than a third of U.S. marriages now begin online through dating sites
and social media networks. Those marriages are lasting longer on average
than those that begin offline.
Couples are also starting to understand the impact of social media use
on relationships and work to limit time spent on Facebook and be more
open in their online activities. Some couples are even creating social
media “prenups” – guidelines within a prenuptial agreement
for acceptable online behavior, such as not friending exes and not sharing
private information or photos without permission.