Don’t post (or at least not too much): why keeping a low profile online makes sense during divorce

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2016 | Divorce

If you didn’t grow up online, you have to admit the world has changed.

Not much more than a decade ago, “social media” probably meant watching television or videos with friends or family. But now Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other platforms proliferate. It’s amazingly easy to reconnect with old flames, find new ones or generally broadcast your relationship status to the wide world.

That doesn’t mean you should, however, even if you’re going through separation or divorce. In this post, we will explore some of the reasons why less may be more when you’re online during this time of transition.

Dealing with your ex

It’s undeniably awkward to be sharing social media space with your ex-spouse after you go your separate ways. You may have a lot of mutual friends on Facebook, but some of them seem more your ex’s friends than yours. In that case, a little strategic defriending may be good for the soul.

Defriending can also occur between spouses who are going through separation or divorce. Depending on your circumstances, it’s a contingency you could consider or encounter. This could happen, for example, if being exposed to an ex’s posts seems overly painful.

A more common problem, however, is probably sharing too much. As you forget your post-divorce identity, you don’t necessarily want to give your ex and your online community a window into your soul.

This is true whether you start dating again or not. Too frequent or overly emotional posts can paint you into a corner, sending messages you will regret even if you delete them later.

Children and social media

Oversharing on social media during separation or divorce can be especially problematic if you have minor children. The overwhelming consensus among psychologists is it causes significant emotional harm to children when one parent speaks negatively of the other during or after divorce. That is why counselors universally urge divorcing parents to go the extra mile in not speaking ill of their ex in front of the children.

This reasoning applies equally to social media. Even if a child is not on the same social platforms as his or her parents, a negative posting about an ex can create a ripple effect that eventually finds its way back to the child.

Moving forward

In short, there are lots of good reasons to refrain from posting too much on social media as you go through divorce and move forward with your life.

Instead, you can reach out directly to trusted friends. You could jot down your thoughts in an old-fashioned journal. This may be far preferable to sharing them broadly online, where they can so easily become embarrassing or be misinterpreted.

And of course if you are still going though divorce, or considering it, it’s important to get appropriate legal advice.