How Social Media May Be Ruining Your Marriage

A new survey suggests you may want to curb how much time you’re logged in—before it harms your relationship. 

Photo by Dean Mitchell/Getty Images

To prevent your relationship status from falling into the “it’s complicated” category, it could be time to sign off social media. According to a survey of 2,000 British adults, one in seven people have considered divorce because of their spouse’s activities on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and other social media platforms.

Arguments are regularly fueled by photos and posts: Nearly a quarter of those polled by the law firm Slater and Gordon said they had at least one argument a week with their partner because of social media use and 17 percent said they had daily disagreements over social media use—specifically Facebook.

“With more than 556 million people using Facebook each day, the way we live our lives, and our marriages, has drastically changed. We are finding that social media is the new marriage minefield,” says Andrew Newbery, the firm’s head of family law. ”It wasn’t just what their partner was doing on social media but also how long they spent on it that was likely to cause marital problems.”

Social media can also trigger jealousy between partners: Participants admitted that some arguments stemmed from contact with an ex-partner, sending secret messages, and posting inappropriate photos.

Some go so far as to keep tabs on their partner’s social media activity. Nearly 58 percent of respondents said they know their partner’s log-in details—even if the other person isn’t aware of it. Another 14 percent use that information to look for evidence of infidelity. 

“Social media can be a wonderful way of keeping in touch with family and friends, but it can also put added strain on a relationship,” says Newbury. To avoid unnecessary tension, the law firm that conducted the survey suggests heeding this advice: don’t post in anger, be respectful, be transparent, check your privacy settings, and limit usage.