It is no secret that many of us are addicted to social media. It is estimated that adults spend over 10 hours a day consuming media, and nearly 2 hours a day staring at a smartphone. Some even announce their divorce and air their dirty laundry on social media.
It has been over a decade since social media became a trend, and during that time nearly every age group has started to use it in some capacity. We can sometimes forget that we are actually communicating with hundreds, if not thousands, of people when we post to social media. The ability we have to hide behind a screen makes it easier for many people to post thoughts that they might not express in person.
Numerous stories have made headlines lately of people losing their jobs for inappropriate posts. It seems that we still have a long way to go to establish what is acceptable to post to your followers.
When it comes to big life moments such as announcing a divorce it can be difficult to know if, or how, to address it. Some couples are deciding to mark the occasion with a divorce selfie, and trash-the-dress parties are even more popular. Many others have found that announcing bad news on Facebook is favorable since they can avoid having to continuously retell the story over and over again.
There is no clear-cut advice on the best way to address the topic of divorce on social media. The important thing is to do whatever feels right for you. What will help you get through this transition in the easiest way possible?
I have found 3 guidelines that I think everyone will benefit from when announcing their divorce on social media.
1. Your Children Should be Your First Priority
One of the most important things you should remember is that your children are going through this with you. If they are old enough to be on social media you do not want them to have to witness a public feud with you and your former spouse. You also do not want the kids they interact with to have a reason to tease them for what their parents are doing online.
If you are arguing over child custody rights it is possible that your behavior on social media can be used against you. Any divorce attorney will tell you that the child will be awarded to the parent that has the children's best interest in mind. You do not want your spouse’s attorney to use a picture of you out partying or speaking poorly about each other online against you in court during a custody battle.
2. Consider How You Will Feel in 5 Years
It can be easy to get wrapped up in your emotions when you are going through something as stressful as a divorce. It might feel like the only way you can get through this is by seeking revenge, or airing out your spouse’s dirty laundry on social media for the world to see.
You should think about this as rationally as possible before you do it. In five years do you think you can look back on how you handled the situation and not cringe? Do you want all your mutual friends to remember you for your messy breakup? It might feel good for the moment, but typically anything that messy should be kept to your close friends and out of the public eye. Consider it a permanent record that people you might not even know yet can always access – this includes your children as they get older.
3. Decide What is Best for You to Heal
Do you need to take a break from social media altogether? Do you want to request that people do not ask questions after you have posted about your divorce, or do you think you would benefit from a support network?
Prior to taking the step to publicly announcing your divorce, it is beneficial to really think about what you hope to achieve from it. Think of it as a press release for your new life decisions. A celebrity would not issue a press release without consulting with a few experts to see if the message was clear and presented in the right way. Consider asking some friends for an unbiased opinion and really evaluating what the best outcome will be from posting about your divorce.
It is impossible to say that the divorce process will not change your life. Regardless of how long your marriage lasted, it is a major milestone in your life that should not be taken lightly. Take as long as you need to let others in on the news. When you decide you are ready do not rush into it without taking a moment to reflect on what you are doing.