With a new poll finding that one in seven people considered divorce over a partner’s social media behavior, we asked Sheri Meyer, PsyD, a marriage and family therapist in Southern California, for some insight into this new frontier that increasingly can lead to wrecking a romance.
Dr. Meyer, author of “Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love, Affair-Proof Your Marriage,” has done national media and workshops about relationships that suffer from online straying and how to avoid it.
British Couples Are Quarreling About It
A study of 2,000 married Brits found that one in seven had weighed a breakup over their spouse’s misbehavior on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media. Nearly 25 percent of those recently surveyed by the family law firm of Slater and Gordon admitted they’d argued at least once a week over social media use and 17 percent said they’d argued daily.
Meyers’ 2012 book is for either the partner cheating or the one who suspects they are being cheated on. It is more about infidelity and relationship repair than social media dependence or sex addiction — both of which might also be involved in a partner’s seemingly obsessive online behavior.
So how do you know if your partner’s cyber-cheating on social media? Has their “friendship” crossed what Meyers calls the “cyber/emotional/physical line?” Here are four key signs that Meyer says to watch for:
- Your partner is vague or evasive about major parts of their day, offering few details. When you ask about it, the partner gets defensive or even offensive.
- Your partner seems to be spending increased periods of time on the computer, or texting and talking on the phone, and is consumed with signing on to the computer to check email or constantly checking their cell phone for voice mails or texts.
- Your partner may now be locking up or password-securing their computer, phone or personal accounts and not allowing access.
- Your partner has private Facebook and other social media accounts to which access is blocked despite your sharing bank accounts and other personal passwords.
What Giveth Can Taketh Away
Because Facebook, Snapchat and What App offer means to reach anyone, anywhere, anytime, the social media that connects us can disconnect us, Meyer says. Her overall advice: “Take your blinders off and press on to know the truth.”
Accusations, anger and arguing are understandable results. But ultimately to restore any relationship you need the truth about what’s going on and what’s been lacking in the three areas that support any healthy relationship: secrecy between you, shared intimacy and sexual energy.