A book by divorce attorney James J. Sexton, If You’re In My Office, It’s Already Too Late (Henry Holt and Co., 2018), claims that social media is the reason behind most divorces.
In an interview with Vox, Sexton said that social media is a “huge factor” that’s “getting worse every day.”
“I can’t remember the last time I had a case where social media was not either a root cause or implicated in some way. And it’s always the same story: people maintaining affairs via social media or communicating with people they don’t have any business communicating with. Infidelity is so easy now, and it’s poisoning marriages.”
Social Media & Divorce
Facebook: an “Infidelity-Generating” Machine
Social media has become so prevalent in divorce proceedings that Sexton deems Facebook an “infidelity-generating machine.”
The problem with social media sites such as Facebook, Sexton explained, is that they give people the excuse and the convenience to emotionally connect with others “in ways that are toxic to marriages.”
What’s more, social media tends to attract people who are thinking negatively and are less than excited with their lives, and then the carefully curated profiles make them feel that their lives (and relationships) just don’t stack up.
“We curate carefully what we put up there,” Sexton explained to Vox. “So if I’m in a vulnerable, lonely, and bored place looking at everyone else’s curated greatest hits, of course, I’m going to think I’m doing worse than I’m doing. Of course, I’m going to think my relationship isn’t as interesting as everyone else’s, or as happy as everyone else’s.”
Sexton’s Tips for Staying Together
The subtitle of Sexton’s book is “A Divorce Lawyer’s Guide to Staying Together,” and part of his objective is to help people reduce conflict and avoid having to visit his – or any divorce lawyer’s – office in the first place.
Sexton’s first piece of advice: Before getting married, consider whether your partner is someone you see yourself with throughout all the stages of life. Think long-term.
He compares this to buying a car. When asked what car they would choose if they could have any car in the world, many people indicate a Ferrari or Lamborghini. But when told that they’ll be using that car for the rest of their lives, they choose something more practical (or ought to). Sexton insists that the same rationale should apply to marriage.
Consider Why You’re Getting Married
Next, ask yourself why you want to get married in the first place. Will it improve your relationship, or your life?
According to Sexton, “too many people just fall into marriage because they think that’s what people do at a certain age, rather than seriously asking themselves if it’s a good idea for them.”
If you can’t come up with a good reason to get married, it might not be the right thing to do.
“Hit Send Now”
Usually, no one problem leads to divorce. Even the big issues, such as cheating, are the result of many smaller choices.
For that reason, divorce usually happens “[v]ery slowly and then all at once.” The little things build up over time, and then it’s too late.
Sexton’s advice to avoid this buildup of negativity is to “hit send now,” meaning to “call out those little things immediately” and then forgive them. “If you don’t do that, if you let the resentments grow, Sexton explained, “those raindrops become a flood and it’s too late to put everything back together again.”
Preserve Your Connection
Lastly, in a world that “is antagonistic to marriages,” “a million different things limit your access to your spouse’s attention.” Preventing those things from getting in the way of your relationship is essential. That requires constantly checking in to preserve your connection — or else you’ll lose it.