Divorce and social media - The Explorer: Opinion

Divorce and social media

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Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 4:00 am

When it comes to marriage – let’s face it, it’s hard. Keeping a relationship, working as a partner and promising to spend the rest of your life with another person is a tough task that many today can’t always achieve. Does that mean they are failures? I would say no. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.

However, it’s what happens after the couple separates for divorces that has become quite disturbing, especially with the assistance from social media outlets such as Facebook.

I have seen more than once where a couple’s relationship is dissolved, and they take to Facebook to get back at each other. Sadly, I have watched this behavior displayed by some who are close to me over the last few years, and most recently, one display that really bothered me.

We’ll call them couple X  to avoid throwing a friend or family member out to the public unfairly. So, couple X recently divorced. Between each other there are five children. One from another marriage, and four with each other. Two are teenagers, another is pre-teen and the remaining two are very young.

The ex-wife recently took to Facebook, complaining about her ex-husband. He’s not a good dad, he won’t give her money and because of it, her children are starving. While the assertions are actually untrue, the sad part for me is watching this play out in a very public setting where not only her friends and his friends, her family and his family, but their children are reading every word.

With divorce comes hurt feelings. We’ve all seen it, but why do so many lose their ability to act like adults, act accordingly and keep the children from seeing the negative side of a family being split apart?

Let’s face it, outlets like Facebook provide a platform. It’s your friends and family who see your posts, so of course you will get the pity, the words of encouragement and empowerment only make you want to do it more. But, at the end of the day, are those empty words and “likes” worth the damage it would do to, say, your 15-year-old son who now might be wondering if dad is OK with him starving, if dad isn’t paying his fair share?

I would say no. Facebook is not the place to bash the ex-husband or wife.

Too often, the damage to the children seems insignificant to parents trying to one up each other after a divorce. However, study after study shows that divorce impacts children. 

According to the Center for Disease Control, American divorce rates continue to increase, with Arizona alone having 6.9 divorces per 1,000 people last year. The rates are higher partly because some enter into marriage too quickly, divorcing your spouse has become much easier through the court system and others just can’t make it work and as the country song says, “Staying is worse than leaving”.

As divorce has become more common over the years, more studies are being conducted on the impact to the family as a whole, and especially the young and older children. Many of those studies were conducted well before social media became a prime source for many to vent about their ex. Now, I can’t imagine the added impact these platforms will have on children reading the posts daily.

For any parent who has taken time to complain about their ex on such a public platform, I ask, have you considered the damage you are doing to your children? Then, ask yourself if it’s worth it?

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