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…
OBVIOUS WAYS TO NOT GET A GROWN-UP DIVORCE BECAUSE OF FACEBOOK
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.
- Facebook fuelling divorce, research claims – The Telegraph
Original, vague quotes from Mark Keenan, and very brief horror stories of social media connection to divorce cases.
- One in Five U.S. Divorces Fueled by Facebook, Social Media – San Diego News
Picks up on the Telegraph piece and gets their own expert witnesses, a former family court judge, an attorney, and the vice president of AAML, who all back up the hunch.