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Is Facebook bad mojo for new couples?

Facebook users in Washington and across the United States might regard the world’s most popular social media platform as a great way to stay in contact with friends and loved ones – especially at a time when we’re not able to freely travel and visit each other as normal. Pictures can be uploaded instantly to Facebook from smartphones, offering instantaneous updates about one’s activities. Status updates can provide further context to one’s activities.

Yet such close communication might actually do more harm than good in a marriage, according to a recent study.

Facebook and divorce

Researchers surveyed 205 Facebook users over the age of 18, of whom 79% indicated they were in a relationship. The survey questions inquired about the length of the relationship, their frequency of social media use and relationship troubles arising from that use – including spying on a significant other’s Facebook activity.

In relationships less than three years old, researchers found that excessive Facebook activity produced more relationship discord. Reconnecting online to former partners was one source of trouble, leading to jealousy, mistrust and even cheating.

Surprisingly, another survey of divorce lawyers also confirmed that the subject of Facebook use or online connections arose in perhaps as many as one-third of their divorce cases. In addition to possibly harming newer relationships – in which couples may not yet have established a strong foundation of trust – the online content might also be used to support discovery requests into another spouse’s assets.

At a minimum, admissions about personal wealth or assets on an online site might be discoverable in a divorce proceeding. If granted, such a motion might mean forensic audits, additional financial experts and a longer divorce proceeding.