Social media has entered our lives and has revolutionized the way we communicate and interact with each other. Though we tend to glorify the extent that social media has changed our lives, we sometimes forget to recognize the pitfalls of social media and its negative effect on the choices we make.
As consistent users of Facebook and other social media websites, we review our news feed and evaluate our lives in comparison to what others are doing. This effect has been analyzed and published in a recent study that discusses the effect of social media on marriage and divorce rates.
The study explores whether and how divorce may be spread through social media; the study ultimately finds that there is a correlation (not to be mistaken with causation) between social media and the divorce rates. The current rates of divorce show that 43 percent of marriages will be dissolved and the dissolution will occur within the first 15 years of the marriage.
The Reasoning Behind the Correlation between Social Media and Divorce
There are many reasons why social media may have the impact of “spreading” divorce to others. One factor discussed in the study is the publication of one’s divorce to others on social media, which provides onlookers the opportunity to view the ramifications. If the person is successful post-divorce and is financially and socially stronger than they were when originally wedded, it promises to those observing the divorce via social media that life after marriage may not be as terrible as they might have imagined. It breaks down the “scary monster in the closet” and provides them an insight into what the reality of a divorce may look like. Promotion of divorce may be one effect of social media.
However, social media may have the opposite effect by hindering the desire to divorce if posts are being published that show the negative side of divorce, such as the tension, the stress, and the emotional and financial carnage that may arise. Witnessing the personal agony of divorce on social media may have the effect of convincing observers that their unhappiness in the marriage is not as bad as the potentially more caustic lifestyle of a divorcee.
Association with Divorcees May Promote Divorce
The study results show that promotion of divorce may be stronger than its inhibiting effects. Participants of the study were 75 percent more likely to be divorced if a person that they are connected to via social media is also divorced. The association only goes to two degrees of separation: their immediate direct friends and the friends’ of their friends. This points to why social media leads to a “clustering” of divorce where divorce spreads through the social media friend groups.
The result: though more divorce spreads through groups of friends, those who are divorcing actually become less popular on the social media websites due largely to the loss of friends they knew through their spouses. It is also thought that newly separated divorcees are less popular because of the threat that they pose to married couples. This is known as “marital poaching.”
Gender and Children Do Not Affect the Divorce Rate
Finally, it is important to note that both gender and children had little to no effect on the divorce rate of the couple. Having children (and the number of children) did not greatly affect the numbers of divorced couples. Furthermore, social media had an equivalent effect on both men and women; both were prone to divorce after witnessing their divorced online friends.
Experienced Divorce Attorneys
If you feel that you have been bitten by the Facebook contagion, and are considering divorce, it is important that you realize that social media does not accurately depict what divorced life will be like for you. Consulting with an experienced DuPage County family law attorney at the Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices will you give you a more accurate picture of whether divorce is the right choice for your and your spouse. Please contact us today for a free consultation.
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