Social media is everywhere these days. However, going through a divorce means that you may want to think twice before you hit “share”. Read on for tips to survive a divorce in the age of social media!
Social media permeates everything we do these day. Cute kid pictures, your latest meal at a fancy restaurant, a triumphant selfie from the gym… an update on your impending divorce?
With Facebook being the new town square and Twitter connecting you with your closest friends, it can be tempting to share your private frustrations, disappointments, failings and hardships online. Your world is upside down, and all you want is a comforting shoulder and a bit of reassurance. However, before you hit that “publish” button, there are three things I want you to remember.
- Assume that what you post will be seen by everyone. Yes, I mean everyone: your soon-to-be-ex, your daughter’s swim coach and your son’s classmates. Social media has all but erased the degrees of separation, and the ever-changing privacy settings can make it difficult to know who exactly is reading and sharing your words.
- Assume that what you post will be used against you. We all want to believe the best about people, but divorce is a stressful time with a lot at stake. Money, house, car, kids – if your spouse feels that any of the above is threatened, he or she might use your posts as leverage to get what they want.
- Assume that what you post will be out there forever. Even if you think better of that emotional over-share in the morning and delete it, once it’s out it never truly goes away completely.
Have those assumptions not convinced you to freeze your social media accounts until the divorce is over? Then here are a few ideas for making it to the other side with your privacy and dignity intact – even in the world of Facebook and Twitter.
It may be tempting, after yet another maddening day at the negotiating table or in the courtroom, to pour your soul out to your virtual friends online. Divorce is exhausting, and I do not blame you for wanting to get some friendly support. Just keep in mind that oversharing can get tiresome. Every subsequent negative post will get you less and less positive feedback. Besides, you never know who may end up reading your status updates and tweets. Do you really want your boss and co-workers to be in the loop on every gory detail?
Oh, the formal change of relationship status on your social media profile. It can feel so simple yet so powerful: after all, where else can you become “single” in just one click? I do encourage you to resist the allure, though. Don’t rush to break the news to your mutual friends. Some couples choose to hold off on the digital equivalent of the divorce announcement until after close friends and family have been told in person. Others mark the moment with a humorous “divorce selfie”. Your approach will depend on your unique circumstances, but remember that you lose nothing by waiting.
We have all Googled other people and scrolled through Facebook feeds and Instagram pictures looking for cues and evidence. That being said, doing so for your ex-spouse can really slow your healing process. After the divorce is finalized, resist the urge to scrutinize his or her new friend additions, posts and pictures. Your energy is better spent building a new life for yourself – not going down the rabbit hole.
Sharing your spouse’s most recent indiscretion, a tale of inconsiderate behavior or lack of thoughtfulness might be a quick and easy way to get some likes and pats on the back, but that digital flutter does not amount to much in the real world. In fact, being overly critical of your spouse may be used against you in court if the other side wants to argue that you are not likely to foster a healthy parent-child relationship for the other party after the divorce is over.
Don’t sell yourself out
Indulging in a bit of retail therapy to deal with the stress of the divorce? Partying it up like you are 20 years younger? Clearing up rows of empty wine bottles after a particularly long night of sharing with close friends? Keep if offline. Anything that might reflect poorly on you (even if it’s a stretch) is best left private.
Divorce in the age of social media
In closing, be mindful of what you post and share during and after your divorce. You don’t want a careless post or picture to create an impression that you are not a fit parent. You don’t want to alienate friends. And most of all, you don’t want to use social media as a weapon to beat your ex-spouse over the head.
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