How to Not Get Divorced Because of Facebook

Low level problem: ever had someone you weren’t friends with in high school “friend” you on Facebook? Not someone you didn’t know. Someone you knew, and was Not Your Friend. Let’s say someone who snubbed you or threw you to the wolves. What to do, what to do. Friend then unfriend. Ignore. Friend and then carefully craft an elaborate scheme to make them the prom queen at your next high school reunion even though it isn’t a prom but you’re going to bring prom BACK so you can set up this whole Carrie thing because you’re pretty sure she’s not telekinetic. Almost totally sure. And you look around for backup on this and your ex back then who was also Not Their Friend is totally with you on this and has not aged as badly as you might have thought and you start planning this out in detail with them and chortling (which sounds uncomfortable) about how much better than them you both are and isn’t it good that you could put it all past you but they can’t. Then your spouse says, ‘Hey, why are you chatting with them it’s date night and by the way I thought you dated them them back when your brain wasn’t fully functioning, cognitive-wise’. And you get mad.

High level problem: when you get mad, you go blabbing to your ex about Good Grief can’t people just be friends and spend some time together and laugh and caress the computer screen wondering what the others’ clothes smell like and run the risk of becoming part of the 20% of divorcing couples that one gent, Mark Keenan, from Divorce-Online, says shows up in divorce proceedings. How it shows up ranges from people using Facebook to start/continue (and get caught in) affairs, to blowing steam about a soon-to-be divorced spouse, leading to a soon to be increased financial burden.

This situation, even if it has started, is entirely reversible. Some poking around on the Internet reveals that we’re lacking some basic instruction for adults on…


And I’m not totally joking. Get ready to unfriend.

What TO do:

  • PDA. Flirt with your spouse on Facebook. It’s totally fine. Even though some of us think you should get a room (or CHATroom, amirite???). But our nausea over your public romance won’t lead you to divorce.
  • More PDA. Post about the ever-loving spouse online in the warmest, sweetest tones. Something along the lines of, And Reason #25 I’m Lucky to Be Married to My Spouse Is – . Keep fights to yourself. Unless they’re about movies because THOSE FIGHTS ARE AWESOME.
  • Kid Braggodocio. Brag about your kids as specifically or vaguely as you want, as long as they’re safe. Half the people who friend you on Facebook actually do want to know what funny thing your kid said because they use it as a barometer to make sure their kids are okay after their own kids tell them ghosts are biting their knees. The other half will probably block your updates from their feed soon enough.

What to avoid:

  • Delusion. Don’t friend old flames, or keep as a friend old flames you plan to keep in touch with because it might work out some day. Ever tried to be friends with someone you seriously dated or crushed on? The odds of pulling this off without one or the other of you wanting more out of the relationship are really low. Like the original Clash reuniting low. I mean even the ones who have passed on to the great Casbah in the sky.
  • Illusion. Don’t confuse the illusionary shining face of the gradeschool knockout who didn’t age poorly with the ever-loving spouse who puts up with you on a daily basis. One is glad to rekindle an old relationship with someone they think still is probably into Silver Spoons, and one knows you are totally over Silver Spoons and on to America’s Top Harmonica Reconstructionists. They know who you really are and still stick around.
  • Equivalence. Don’t spend more time on a Facebook relationship than an actual real-life relationship. The exception to this is your boss, and then only if they will only communicate with you through Facebook, preferably via Mafia Wars. And they’re generous with the pretend gifts.
  • Immaturity. Related to the last one, don’t change relationship status, even as a joke, even as the most HI-larious Joke Evar. Don’t post truly embarrassing photos of loved ones. Facebook pages are like having a permanent spot in global newspaper society pages. You don’t control which of your friends goes there, or when. Or which of your non-friends goes there (and it’s possible you don’t know what they’ll be seeing). Find another avenue for your humor – Facebook, where almost everyone is going, is not the place. Save it for the newsletter to your friends.

That’s a starting list. Feel free to add your own. There’s a post somewhere in there about the immediacy of contact and lack of time for the old, wise neurons to fire and talk us out of stupid Internet decisions but that’s for another day.


6 thoughts on “How to Not Get Divorced Because of Facebook

  1. How about going old school, and ditch facebook when it comes to your spouse?

    What does she like, what worked when you were courting (how’s that for supporting the old school theme?) that got her to want to share her life with you?
    a) Flowers? –
    1) Get her some; then get her more; and still more!
    2) Find out what days of the week a convenient florist puts their flowers on sale. For most florists, it’s every day. Just pick what’s on the sale table. That way you’ll be getting her a variety instead of the same-old, same-old. And you can typically get a dozen flowers off the sale table for $6-$8 … yep, even in Indiana. So, that’s $300-$400 a year for a weekly purchase? Ye, gads, Batman, … that’s a lot of money, you say. Well, big boy, what did that latest technology purchase (say an iPad) put you back? How’s that contributing to your love life??
    3) Oh, and how about spicing it up? Bye a dozen flowers and put a single stem in twelve different places around the house. No, not all in the kitchen! Purchase a special vase, say one with your wedding day etched on the vase, … or the names of your children.
    4) How about this for a spicer? Either buy roses and pick off the petals one by one, or make a deal with the florist to get their rejects, and spread them in a juicy place … say the bed, or the bathtub, … That will work orders of magnitude better than any facebook post!

    b) Poems?
    1) Write ’em for her; write more; still more … (are you seeing a pattern yet)
    2) Give them to her in many different ways. Put them in her drawers in the bedroom, place one on her pillow, email them to her, snail_mail them to her, … The more variety you can think of to get ’em to her, the better.
    3) Spend some time in the card store, and *read* all those cards for a good poem. Yes, you need to be an explorer here, not a window shopper. Resist the urge to grab the first card that has a pretty picture on it. She’s read the words, trust me.
    4) Did she save any poems from your courting days? Carefully abscond with them and frame one or two and give them to her as a present … maybe create a collage of the favs …

    c) okay, you get the picture by now … go for it!

    1. Joe, good stuff! I am, my wife might point out, remiss with the flowers. Also with the poems, though she may be thankful for that. Cards are hard – it does take a while to find one that either completely doesn’t work so well that it will work, or one that DOES actually work for the occasion. Good reminders.

      1. The thing about being remiss with flowers …. is that it takes very little to turn it around. No advanced degree; no certification program; no google searches … okay maybe just some little ones to find a florist; no skills involved whatsoever. Just a commitment to der frau.

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