The Perils of Social Media + Divorce

Divorcing couples experience trauma. It takes time to grieve for their marriage and eventually heal and move forward. Anger forms a significant part of the process and doesn’t mix well with social media. Before posting about your divorce on Facebook or other social media platforms, here are some points to consider:

The Perils of Social Media + Divorce Focus Mediation Blog

  1. You aren’t only sharing your post with Facebook friends who regularly engage with you by ‘liking’ or commenting on your posts. Most users have some Facebook friends who read their posts but never interact with them. Are you comfortable sharing your divorce related updates with everyone on your friends list? Is it something you would share with them individually if you saw them in person? Recently a friend told me they saw a private letter on Facebook that I had sent to a client. The client had scanned it and uploaded it and it had my name and work address on it. I was less than impressed and felt it was inappropriate. I am not Facebook friends with my real-life friend & so my client had no idea I would ever find out. When I rang his ex-wife to invite her to mediation, she immediately said no. She had seen my letter (a friend had shown her) and the post her husband had shared about ‘taking her to mediation to make sure she played fair’. She said she felt humiliated by the post and couldn’t trust he would abide by the mediation rules and keep the sessions confidential. Mediation is voluntary and it was easy to see why she didn’t want to attend. Her husband was desperate to resolve finances and as she refused mediation, he issued court proceedings. His wife told me if he hadn’t posted on Facebook, that she would have accepted the invitation to mediation. Mediation could have saved them thousands in legal fees and a great deal of time and heartache. A costly Facebook post you might agree.
  2. Remember that Facebook friends of your Facebook friends can also see many of your posts, even if you have privacy settings. Even if they can’t, there’s nothing stopping a Facebook friend showing someone else your post. You lose control of the content as soon as you post. Deleting the post will only work if it has not been read by someone you don’t want to read it.
  3. You may feel momentary satisfaction for speaking your truth and/or calling out your ex’s behaviour. However, do you want to be someone else’s source of gossip? Are you Facebook friends with the parents of your children’s friends? What if they discuss the content in their children’s earshot and place your child in an uncomfortable position? I recall a situation when parents had to tell their children their father was gay because he had followed gay sites on social media and school children’s parents had started gossiping. The father had no idea anyone else could see what sites he was interacting with.
  4. Even with privacy settings, snoopers or even employers can see and read any comments people have made on your current profile picture and your previous profile pictures.
  5. Don’t write anything that you aren’t comfortable with your ex reading or showing a judge or even the police.
  6. The divorce process is painful, and it can feel never ending. A year or so down the line, will you feel embarrassed by the posts you have shared? Private people fuelled by pain or anger, sometimes post information that they would never normally share. Confide in people you can trust such as close friends, family and/or a therapist.
  7. Negative thoughts encourage a negative mindset. When I read status updates with negative quotes about relationships, I know the poster is in pain. Find a more positive outlet. Write letters to your ex and don’t post them or keep a diary. Exercise and take long walks. Look after yourself and eat well. If you find you have alone time, do something for yourself that you don’t usually have time to do. Read the books you’ve always wanted to read, take a long bubble bath. Think about what small steps you can take each day to improve your mood and help you cope with a very painful, but fortunately temporary, period of your life.

Author: Sara Stoner, Family Mediator, Broxbourne & Potters Bar

Call us on 01908 231132 or Email: info@focus-mediation.co.uk for further information or to book a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM) (11 Locations: Milton Keynes, Bedford, Broxbourne, Hemel Hempstead, London, Northampton, Oxford, Potters Bar, St Albans, Harrow and Watford).

Read more about family mediation at:  www.focus-mediation.co.uk

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