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Relationship Status: From Married To Single

Many use Facebook to narrate their lives and emotions. For example, when the home team is victorious in a game of MLB baseball, one might pronounce via an online status update, “Another win for the Rangers!” However, research suggests that this social media addiction may be more than just a venue of expression. The site might harm your marriage, too.

The research, which will be soon published in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, suggests that those who utilize Facebook on a frequent basis tend to experience Facebook-related conflict with their partners. According to the findings, regular Facebook engagement can lead to emotional or physical cheating, a breakup and even divorce.

In the study, researchers surveyed approximately 205 Facebookers from ages 18 to 82. Of the respondents, 79 percent reported being in a relationship. Individuals were asked to document their use of the social media site and whether it had prompted conflict with their current (or former) partners.

The study suggests that when users are excessively present on the social media website, they often monitor their partner’s online activity. This might lead to feelings of jealousy. Specifically, jealousy can lead to conflict concerning exes, flirtatious coworkers and the like. Moreover, these social media connections (set apart by a computer), can evolve into something more. If jealousy is not the issue, some may connect with old friends or flames, and ultimately develop something new. This could result in emotional or physical cheating.

However, this is not the first time that America’s online social media has been associated with the breakdown of relationships or divorce. In 2012, Divorce-Online UK surveyed family law attorneys. The researched found that Facebook was implicated in one-third of all divorce filings for 2011.

Social life, friendships, relationships and marriages are not the same as they once were. They operate in a completely different time – the digital age. Our relationships are often cultivated through various online mediums. At the same time, the deterioration of our connections can also be broken through such outlets.

If your suspect that your online status will soon turn from “married” to “single,” it may be time to meet with an attorney who specializes in family law matters. An attorney can help you sort through any relevant legal issues. This might include property division, matters relating to your children and spousal support issues. To learn more, speak with an experienced legal professional.