Should Spouses Add Each Other on Social Networking Sites?

Should Spouses Add Each Other on Social Networking Sites?

By Dustin | Communication

Note: This guest post by Vanessa Jones asks some really interesting questions about how we use social media within our marriages.  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

While social networking sites such as Facebook are designed to strengthen relationships among friends and loved ones, they are now slowly weakening them.

Studies show social networking sites are now the number one growing evidentiary support for divorce cases. According to a recent study by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, social networking sites, particularly Facebook, are being used in court to show proof of cheating, most of which is linked to social media users who exchange flirty and sexual messages and photographs with old flames.

In fact, the survey suggests that one in every five divorce cases involve a social media site. More specifically, 66 percent of cases involve Facebook, about 15 percent involve MySpace and about only 5 percent involve Twitter. But while most would argue that falling out of love is the main reason for divorce and not a social networking site, should you avoid friending your spouse to steer clear of potential problems all together?

The quick answer would be…

If you have nothing to hide, then what’s the problem?

But research shows that even innocent parties can be accused of infidelity due to jealousy of seeing someone of the opposite sex post on their spouse’s wall. No matter if they trust their spouse and know deep down inside they are faithful, many still claim to double-guess themselves and develop unnecessary suspicions which will ultimately cause problems within a marriage.

But some who refuse to add their spouses on social networking sites to avoid unnecessary jealousy may still be accused of infidelity. Again, the unknowing alludes to the idea that you may be potentially hiding something.

The truth of the matter is that, aside from avoiding unnecessary jealousy, some people would rather not friend their spouse because they yearn to have something that is just his or her own individual thing. But some spouses cannot swallow this idea: isn’t marriage supposed to be about sharing everything, including what you post on a social media site?

For those who strive to retain some sort of individuality and crave to have something of their own, if you choose not to add your spouse, a good way to avoid problems and confirm trust is to allow your spouse to have your account information to all social media sites, including users names and passwords. This solution isn’t for everyone, but again if you have nothing to hide, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Another option would be to not hand your account information but to always access your social media site out in the open and, most importantly, in front of your spouse.

If you choose to add your spouse, it’s important that you use the site to fortify your relationship. A good way to do this is to occasionally publicize affection for one another by posting sweet nothings on each other’s walls and uploading and tagging photos of each other as a loving couple.

What do you think? Has social media had a positive or negative impact on your relationship?

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This guest post is contributed by Vanessa Jones, who writes on the topics of dating sites.  She welcomes your comments at her email: vanessa.jones42@gmail.com.

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About the Author

Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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(15) comments

While social media is being used in divorce cases, that does not mean it is causing divorces, or that it is causing more divorces. As the divorce rate has gone down as these web sites have become popular, one can not blame them for divorce.

As for jealousy, it needs not reason – indeed it is immune to reason. If one spouse is mindlessly jealous the marriage is in trouble no matter what their spouse does, or does not do.

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I suspect years ago there were stats that 75% of people who had affairs talked on the phone in pursuing that relationship. Message: don’t blame the medium.

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chrissi

I love having my husband as a friend on facebook-why wouldn’t I? It’s a great way for us to keep in touch when we are apart or I’m at work and can’t use my phone (but can use the pc he he) It doesn’t surprise me, though, that people are stupid enough to cheat using social networking. Social networks aren’t the problem, cheating is the problem.

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Wendy

I guess I’d never thought of not wanting to be my spouse’s friend on Facebook. That just seems weird to me (to not want to be their Facebook friend). Aren’t you friends in real life? Not judging, okay maybe I am, but I think it’s really strange.

My husband isn’t on FB and has no interest in it other than occasionally looking at something I point out to him on mine. My account is auto logged-in on his iPad; obviously nothing to hide but he could easily look anytime he wanted to look.

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I enjoy being linked via FB with my husband. We have a policy of transparency: we know each others’ passwords, our bank accounts share a common log in – things like that. We know that trust is too easily destroyed so we agree that transparency works for us. FB doesn’t really give us anything new or deep, but I like the daily insights we wouldn’t normally think to share at the end of the day over dinner.

What was very dangerous to our marriage was friending his mom. It was against my better judgment because I was afraid (based on much prior experience) that she would just use it as another medium to attack me. My best hope was that everyone else being able to read her comments would keep her in check. It didn’t and my husband and I ended up in counseling so he could learn how to enforce boundaries with his mom because I wouldn’t stick around and be bullied for the rest of her life. He and I are much better now, but she and I are no longer friended on FB.

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Stephanie Baffone

Hey Dustin,
Such a timely issue. I was asked this very question in my advice column from a young husband. Here were my thoughts.
Great topic!

http://www.communitypub.com/arts/x1409896683/Ask-Aunt-Steph-Can-online-friendship-spark-old-romance

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    Dustin

    Excellent, Stephanie! Thank you for sharing your column!

    Reply

My wife and I are friends on Facebook. I have many female friends; she has many male friends. We can each see what the other posts on their wall. We trust each other completely.

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Some Guy

It’s not the wall posts that are the problem. Not even the private messages. It’s the Facebook chats that leave no trace that are the problem. Believe me. When I started to suspect something was up with my wife, I accessed my wife’s account (because we had “trust” and had “nothingnto hide” so we each shared passwords like you suggest) and found myself smack dab in the middle of a Facebook chat between her and her ex-boyfriend. In total shock and disbelief I watched this chat unfold before my eyes. Eventually l logged into my account and confronted her in my own chat. After she lied to me about talking to anyone else (and quickly wrapping her convo up with the ex as I watched), I busted her on it.

Moral: just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.

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Julie

Only people who have something to hide wouldn’t add their spouse.

Being worried your spouse will be jealous of comments from your friends of the opposite is no excuse at all.

Because the reality is, if you have friends of the opposite, it doesn’t matter how you talk to them (social network, phone, in person, whatever) a spouse will get just as jealous of your behaviour.

If your spouse is jealous for no reason, you need to work it out with him/her.

But listen to your spouse – they might have a reason to be jealous. Your behaviour might be inappropriate, but even if your behaviour is perfectly fine, your friends’ behaviours might not be so innocent – and you need to keep an eye on that.

No woman (or man) wants to watch some tart flirt with their husband (or wife)

If you have friends writing inappropriate things, hiding it from your spouse to stop them being jealous isn’t the solution – the solution is do something about your friend – ask them to stop being inappropriate and if they won’t stop, then unfriend them. That’s what you should be doing – not hiding it.

Ultimately, the problem isn’t social media – the problem is some people are dishonest.

My husband listed himself as single (never married), months before we separated. But he was sleeping around long before that. Myspace didn’t make him cheat, it just helped him cheat. If myspace didn’t exist, he’d have still cheated anyway by finding some other way to hook up behind my back.

It’s like guns – guns don’t kill people, people are the ones who do it- if a person wants someone dead, they’ll find a way. Cheating is the same. If you want to do something deceitful behind your spouse’s back, you’ll find a way. social networking just provides one way to do it

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    Dustin

    Excellent analogy with the guns/killing example, Julie. It’s like an earlier comment where it was stated that the telephone was likely cited in many divorce cases 20 years ago. The social networks are just a different way of communicating…whether for good or bad reasons.

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Buky of Bukville

My husband is not on FB but i am. He has access to my account and can see whatever i get up to. I am very happy to share that with him since i have nothing to hide. If he were on FB he certainly will be my friend and why not?

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Susan

It’s not Facebook or chatting or phones or texting that is the problem.
Your essay and the comments are about trust. That it is easy to jump to conclusions unless spouses either: a) reveal little to each other so that there is no cause for jealousy or, b) reveal everything, sharing passwords etc. so there is no fear.

I think protecting your marriage is not about hiding or being totally open – it is about growing up and owning your insecurities. It is about growing up and not asking your partner to protect you from your fears. You need to do the work to no longer have the fears. It is not your partner’s responsibility to take away your fear, nor is it yours to take away theirs.
And you cannot take away the fears. They are still there. And will come up somewhere else.
Stop asking your partner to allow you to stay a scared child.

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Cheated On

What you are missing is that the ease in which a harmless relationship of old friends can quickly turn into an affair because the ease of communicating feeling in words. Social media sites are not the root problem they are however gas for the fire. In my case my wife had an affair with a friend that was fueled by Facebook. I didn’t even know we were having problems to that degree. And it started with her just getting things of her chest and him being a sounding board. He mention how he would treat her if he were me, and she took that and they ran with it. There main communication tool was Facebook. The reason it is so good is because it requires you to read the message completely then form a response. Unlike live communication online we can take our time to place words in just the right way to get the result we are looking for. this give the appearance of true sincerity. She felt he completely understood her and his words were just the thing that made her feel better, not to mention you can go back a reread them over and over again further cementing the thought. For example you can say I love on the phone and they hear it once, but when you write I love you, you can experience that feeling over and over again each time you read it.

Why do you think these social media sites are so popular, it is because you can get heard completely, and instantly. I personally believe that if my wife and I had transparency and rules in place in all of our digital communication tools it would have made it more difficult for this to happen. However the root problem still rested with us as a couple, and not the medium.

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Louie

I do agree with all the ideas you’ve introduced for your post. They are really convincing and can definitely work. Still, the posts are very brief for newbies. Could you please prolong them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

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