Has social media fundamentally changed marriage relationships?

Not so long ago, it would have been very strange for a man to call a married woman on the phone about anything personal. Sure, men and women worked together but there was an exclusion zone until there wasn’t and they snuck off and had an affair. Marriage wasn’t just a chastity belt to the rest of the world. It was ownership on both sides. That idea has changed quite rapidly in less than a decade.

Now you have Facebook, Instagram and everything else where people can keep in constant contact with old flings, friends and new acquaintances. I personally don’t think that is a bad thing at all because my views of marriage are roughly on par with chattel slavery but I know not everyone feels that way.

The one thing that I do know is the first thing that divorce lawyers advise their clients these days is to close their social media accounts. That is very very telling and spooky in my opinion.

How do you think the internet age is affecting marriage now and in the future?

It isn’t social media’s fault if one partner cheats on another.
I am unaware of any divorce lawyer recommendations. (So far :)).

I have a friend who had to suspend all her social media accounts while her divorce was in process. She revived them after the divorce was final. However, she now posts very infrequently, which doesn’t surprise me.

In older social media (LiveJournal, say), if you were friends with somebody going through a rough patch you’d probably get the whole story under a filter. Nobody writes like that anymore, so you’re often left with “what happened” hanging in the air, especially if it involves somebody you’ve “known” online for a long time.

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t unusual for men to be friends with married women before Instagram, unless the man was Mike Pence.

I have, and have for years, been good friends with several women. My Wife has become close with several of my exes. A healthy marriage is not about ownership or “chattel slavery,” it is about trust and communication.

I am sorry you have not been able to experience this.

My parents got married in the early 1970s and they and a lot of their married friends did not see marriage as ownership, and had no problem having opposite sex friends who they talked with on the phone or met with out in public without having affairs. The idea that it was weird for men and women who were married to talk to opposite sex friends on the phone or through email in the early 21st century is pretty divorced from reality. Yes, there are people who’s idea of marriage is one of stark control and no friends of the opposite sex, but it’s nowhere near universal.

It’s no more of a task on a marriage than it is on any other relationship. Frankly, if you’re at the point of being married, it should be even less stressful.

I understand that marriage isn’t inherently permanent, but I would be much more worried if my girlfriend were maintaining watch on her exes and other random dudes than I would be if my wife were doing the same thing.

I’m not sure what you mean. How strange would it have been for him to call another man on the phone about anything personal? Maybe I’m buying into the stereotypes, but I’m having a hard time imagining the average man spending a lot of time on personal phone conversations, at least with people he’s not already close to.

But he might stop to chat with a married woman at work, or at church, or in the grocery store, or at the kids’ soccer game, or wherever they might happen to be, and it would be perfectly innocent and socially acceptable. Contact via social media seems, to me, more like that kind of thing. Sure, it could become inappropriate, but in that case wouldn’t they be more likely to switch to something like personal text messages?

Yeah, at the risk of piling on, I think this must come from exposure to a very narrow segment of society, and doesn’t match my experience.

Anecdote: Nope.

My marriage straddles the creation of Social Media. The only thing that has fundamentally changed is the speed of gossip. Previously, it was FTL. Now, it’s FTL[sup]3[/sup]. Dumb shit gets discovered and spread sooner, and faster, but the kinds of dumb shit in which people indulge remains more-or-less the same.

A marriage must be based upon a foundation of trust. Suspicion is a relationship destroyer at all levels, but particularly in a marriage. You should allow space between and trust that what you may not know all the details about, is appropriate.

My wife has an extended crowd of girlfriends and is a lead foreman in a male dominated manufacturing job, and she is good at it. So her phone is beeping and receiving messages at all hours of the day and night from all kinds of people of multiple sexes, orientations, relationships and probably planetary origin for all I know.

She also has a lap top, and an account here on my desk top, and I also have my smart phone. If either of us were to find the other one looking at the other’s phone, it would be seen as a major betrayal of that basic trust.

In a past life/wife before the internet, I would sometimes almost cross-examine my wife when she got home after being away. Who, what, where? And that is why I don’t have that wife anymore.

I have a file, and my current wife knows what it is called and where it is, that contains all passwords, sites, accounts, anything she might need if something were to happen to me, and she has the same and I know where it is. And neither of us would ever think of looking at that info unless it were needed.

If you don’t have that basic trust, you don’t have a good marriage. It was the same before the internet/media and is still the same in this new information age.

I think you’re off by a few decades. The concept of marriage is different in different subcultures, but the decade that heralded the changes you’re talking about was the 1970s, or maybe the 1960s. This is basic feminism/women’s lib stuff. Which is certainly still an ongoing social struggle, but broke into mass culture prominence like 50 years ago.

Social media is just like gossip at parties or in the pub.

You either trust your spouse or you don’t. Social media hasn’t changed that.

If you suspect that your spouse is cheating on you because of their social media usage, you probably would have come up with a different excuse prior to Facebook. And if you are actually cheating on your spouse because of contacts you have on social media, you probably would have cheated on your spouse regardless.

Nah. If I say something stupid my wife just slaps me across the Facebook.


My lawyer never got that memo. Social media was never mentioned during my entire divorce process. Of course, neither one of us was accusing the other of infidelity or airing dirty laundry either.

This is right up there with “don’t gossip, don’t give out TMI, don’t air dirty laundry in public” in the way of advice - It’s just common sense. That lawyers even have to give such advice tells you all you need to know about people.

My wife and I each have one significant ex (and several insignificant ones). We’re both Facebook friends with our exes. They’re both married and have children.

We regularly go over to dinner with her ex’s family, and go on annual weeklong vacations with them. My ex lives a long way away, but if she ever comes to town, I get together with her for coffee.

The idea of either of us getting back together with our exes is ludicrous. We’re happy with each other, and they’re happy with their spouses, and it just ain’t gonna happen.

I have zero concern about her maintaining contact with her ex on social media; I suspect she feels the same about me.

Gossip that is divorced of context, with a permanent record and immediate access to an audience of billions.
Certainly the same sort of things get said but the way they are treated in the pub vs the social media is very, very different.