Culture & Entertainment

Does Twitter cause divorce? The Internet and infidelity

By: Jennifer Gruden
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Does Twitter cause divorce? The Internet and infidelity

By: Jennifer Gruden
A study from a University of Missouri doctorate candidate has found that "active Twitter use leads to greater amounts of Twitter-related conflict among romantic partners, which in turn leads to infidelity, breakup, and divorce." Thumbs down to Twitter and divorce There are a number of limitations to this study, including the way participants were sampled via Twitter. But I think it's gotten some traction in the press because a) it kind of makes sense that people who are arguing on Twitter all the time might get to bad spots in their relationships and b) it would be nice to know that those of us who don't argue on Twitter are more likely to enjoy long-lasting relationships. I have been on the Internet a long, long time. I can tell you that marital discord on the 'net is wired straight in. I remember some drag-down fights between spouses on Usenet. Here are some guidelines my husband and I have worked out over our 22-year history of being in online spaces together: 1) Tell your spouse about any conflict first, in person. No one should find out from their Facebook or Twitter feed that someone's irate that the dishes are still in the dishwasher. 2) Remember that everyone at the other end of the screen is a person. If you would not say something to a friend or coworker about your spouse, you may not want to say it online. (There are exceptions, of course: If you are dealing with domestic violence we encourage you to get support.) If you would not imply that your spouse is an idiot for loving the latest bestselling new-age book, don't take to Twitter to complain. 3) Spend time together offline. The ubiquity of smart phones and other screens can keep us all in that "I have to keep up!" headspace. But being present with your partner requires your full attention, and it's hard to stay in love without that. I highly recommend one night a week offline to reconnect (or one brunch, or one afternoon). Do you and your partner have a social media policy? (Photo: iStock)
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Does Twitter cause divorce? The Internet and infidelity

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