When it comes to marriage, you don’t just say “I do” to your partner on your wedding day, you have to say it all the time. Maybe not verbally, but the message has to shine through in your actions, your compassion, and your selflessness.
But modern couples may find daily commitment difficult, especially when you have blinding LCD screens in your face every second of the day.
From computers to tablets to kindles to smartphones, our society is more distracted than ever. And social media thrives off of our connectedness, which could ultimately lead to disconnectedness. Relationship experts have explored the correlation between social media and relationships, and the results can be pretty harmful to intimacy.
Here are some of the ways a screen addiction can hurt your marriage:
- You have more FaceTime with you screen than your person. Randall M. Kessler, Family Law Litigation professor at Emory University, explains, “Instead of getting into bed and discussing how each other’s day was, couples, instead, often opt to be on social media. Instead of intimate moments and sweet or even romantic conversation (or behavior), one partner is often fully engaged with friends, acquaintances, or even followers during times that they would otherwise be growing and improving their marital relationship. Yes, affairs can be ignited via Facebook, and emotional attachments and relationships can occur on social media and harm marriages, but we shouldn’t overlook the obvious. Put down your device, ask your spouse how their day was, and listen. It might make a world of difference.”
- Connection deception. According to Jason Levy, a divorce resources expert, couples discreetly connecting with people from their past may lead to trouble. “If you reconnect with long-lost pals from high school or college and start having regular conversations without telling your spouse, that can create mystery and skepticism that something not kosher is going on. Be open and honest with your spouse about your social network activities,” he advises.
- She/He wants that old thing back. Family law attorney Carla Schiff Donnelly says, “Your former partners bring you back to a time when life was less complicated and your greatest challenge was a term paper. Some get so caught up in the romance that they move from posts, to emails, texts, calls, and then secret rendezvous. Even if things don’t work out with the old fling, the temporary checking out from your marriage can cause irreparable harm.”
- Paralysis of analysis. One of the major downfalls of social media is comparison. But divorce mediator Michael Aurit says this could be a good thing, if you use it wisely. “Any Facebook friend can dress to impress, take a selfie with their spouse, smile and post #DinnerDateNight. As you scroll your news feed and see so many seemingly perfect marriages, there is a natural tendency to compare your own relationship to the perceived perfection of another’s. The weaknesses in your own marriage may become more obvious. Resist the urge to take what you see at face value! In reality, you know very little about the relationship that is being presented on Facebook. Rather then allowing comparisons to fuel insecurity, channel that energy into something productive to deepen your own relationship.”
- Social media word vomit. Family law attorney Caroline Choi says sharing too much about your relationship can invite trouble. “Intimate details about your relationship and marriage should never be exposed on social media. Your friends and family are not interested in these details, and more importantly, it causes distrust between partners and it can backfire if you and your partner divorce.”
- Wanting to be single, and ready to mingle. Sometimes when you are in a committed relationship or going through a rough patch, navigating the world alone can look really appealing. “The social media posts of your single ‘friends’ look amazing. You’ll see dates with very attractive, physically fit people dancing the night away, going on adventurous vacations, attending sporting events, concerts, restaurants with top-rated chefs … it always looks so much better than your own life because many people’s posts are actually staged or orchestrated to portray their own lives in the most positive light. There is a reason the selfie stick was one of the most popular holiday gifts last year,” Bonnie Sockel-Stone, board certified in marital and family law, says.