Can Frequent Social Media Use Cause A Charleston Divorce?

Can Being On Facebook Lead To Your Divorce

Social media + Adultery + Divorce = SAD

It is a tragic story that is being seen often in the offices of Charleston divorce lawyers.

Social media – like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – has become a primary form of communication in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, and throughout the Lowcountry. Unfortunately, social media has also had serious negative effects on many Charleston marriages. In some cases, social media has even led to adultery and divorce.

As a Charleston divorce attorney, I have seen many people suffer intense anguish caused by a cheating spouse.  It can be terribly painful to know that your spouse — who promised to spend a lifetime with you — chose to betray your trust and commit adultery.

Extensive Social Media Use Linked to Increased Divorce Rate

In a new study published in the scientific journal Computers in Human Behavior, researchers have found that frequent social media use can do substantial harm to marital happiness and may even cause some divorces. There appears to be a direct link in some marriages between increased social networking use, decreased marriage quality, and adultery.

By comparing the divorce rate in any given state to the number of Facebook accounts in that state, the researchers in this new study found that the divorce rate increased 4% where there was a 20% increase in Facebook usage. Further, those men and women, who used social media very little, were 11% happier in their marriages than people who used social media frequently. Although researchers cautioned that these findings do not prove social media is to blame for unhappy marriages and increasing divorce rates, it is proof of a disheartening link between increased social media use and divorce.

The researchers explained that a husband or wife, who is already in a troubled marriage, might turn to social media for sympathy or an outlet for unhappiness. Sites like Facebook can also make hiding an adulterous relationship much simpler. The authors of the study hypothesized that the “addictive qualities [of social media] may create marital strife, promote an environment rife with opportunities for jealousy, and may help facilitate extra-marital affairs.”

Marriage counselor Frank Gunzburg, Ph.D., noted that text messages, Facebook, telephone records, Twitter, and other electronic social media are almost always involved when infidelity or cheating is part of a marital struggle. Gunzburg explained that social media connections often start out innocent and platonic, but the platform opens avenues for those relationships to turn into adultery and divorce.

Extra-marital relationships can start in a variety of circumstances. For example, a Charleston husband or wife might search particular keywords on social media sites, dating sites, or Craigslist. Similarly, an Isle of Palms husband in a troubled marriage might spend a lot of time complaining on-line about problems in his marriage or looking for companionship. Or, two co-workers on Daniel Island may start following each other on Twitter.

It may begin innocently as a way to start conversations, especially for a spouse who is turning to social media in a rocky marriage. Since social media promotes conversations, two people who have the same interests can find plenty of reasons to continue having conversations on a deeper level.

Unfortunately, an initial on-line conversation can often lead to increased attraction. From there, emotional infidelity and even adultery can quickly follow.  Emotional infidelity can be just as hurtful and dishonest as physical infidelity. In time, emotional infidelity can shatter trust and cause the divorce of a previously happy West Ashley couple.

Tips On Social Media Use

If you’re married and are a big Facebook, Twitter, or other social media user, here are a few strategies that could help you reduce the chance that your use of social media will ruin your marriage.

  • Set up one social media account that you use jointly with your spouse. Combining your accounts could prevent a lot of conflict and jealousy.
  • Share passwords with your spouse for every social media site you use.  If you have nothing to hide, don’t hide it. If there is trust established between you and your partner, it’s likely that the passwords will never be used.
  • Avoid lengthy communications with others on social media sites.  Social media is great for keeping in touch and quick communication — it’s the more intimate conversations that are detrimental to marriages.
  • Refrain from complaining about your spouse or ex-spouse on social media.  This can lead to a lot of trouble, especially if you and your spouse have already decided on a divorce.  Any evidence that is found on a public social media profile can be used against you in a Charleston divorce court.
  • Use social media less.  If you’re more inclined to talk to your Facebook friends than your spouse, who might be sitting in the room with you, it may be time for both of you to sit down and talk about your marriage and how you can improve it.


Unfortunately, some Charleston marriages were never meant to work.  Excessive social media usage could be a sign that a your spouse or you may be happier after a divorce.

As an experienced divorce and child custody attorney in Mt. Pleasant, SC,I can answer your Charleston divorce and legal separation questions.To speak directly with me, please call me now at 843-800-2928.

Alternatively, please use the contact form to ask me any questions that you may have regarding your Charleston divorce or legal separation case. I will be quick to respond.  You can be sure that I will keep strictly confidential anything that you write to me. 

Working together, we will protect your rights and build a better future for you in Awendaw, Charleston, Daniel Island, Goose Creek, Isle of Palms, James Island, Johns Island, Kiawah, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Sullivan’s Island, Summerville, West Ashley or another Lowcountry community.

Recommendations for Additional Reading

South Carolina Divorce Law Summary

SC Divorce Guide: When Is The Right Time to File for a Divorce or Legal Separation?

Getting a Divorce in Charleston, SC

Photo Credit: Spencer E Holtaway via Compfight cc