If you’re already divorced, then you know how hard it is to tell mutual friends about the breakup. Not only is it difficult, but you usually find yourself telling the story over and over again to different friends. Then, there are those other awkward moments at holiday gatherings where someone had no idea you had divorced. Wouldn’t it have been easier to simply post it on Facebook? For many of us, social media and divorce seem like they shouldn’t mix, but let’s look at some facts. In the U.S., over 800,000 divorces occur each year. Likewise, Facebook has over 2.2 billion users, and half of the users have 200 or more Facebook friends. Whether we like it or not, social media and divorce are assumingly intertwined. So, knowing how to best handle your divorce on social media is important.
Social Media and Divorce—When Things Aren’t Too Bad
If your divorce is fairly amicable, then social media can actually offer many advantages. Naturally, announcing your divorce on social media prevents the repetitious discussions that might be painful for everyone. But handling divorce on social media has other benefits. First, joint social media and divorce announcements can provide an opportunity to work together in a positive way. If done well, this can help you both negotiate better in regards to other divorce matters. Likewise, deciding together how and what to tell friends helps you both make the difficult transition easier. Moreover, if children are involved, agreements about social media and divorce can help you be good role models. If things are going smoothly, then social media and divorce announcements can be a positive thing.
Social Media and Divorce—Best Practices
If you can work with your partner, then some straightforward rules can help you both. Several celebrities, in fact, have demonstrated how to properly use social media and divorce announcements together. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, as well as Channing and Jenna Tatum, are good examples. The following represents the best practices when handling divorce on social media.
- Be succinct and brief. Keep it simple! One of the best things about social media is its brevity. You don’t need to write an essay or to describe every detail. Simply make the announcement as a courtesy to those who care about you both.
- Stay positive. Divorce is tough enough without delving into all the negatives. Focus on the positive things, like the fact that you both can work together on a social media post!
- Stay respectful and classy. As much as you might want to lash out or vent, take the high road. Be respectful of one another and keep your dirty laundry to yourself (especially when it comes to social media).
- Be clear and definite. In addition to being succinct, stating your message clearly and with a sense of finality is important. This helps shut down the rumor mill and helps people move on (including yourself).
- Present a unified message. Posting a divorce announcement on social media should be made jointly and/or This reinforces the positivity and clarity of the message, and it demonstrates respect as well.
Social Media and Divorce—When Things Are Bad
Of course, not all divorces go so smoothly. In these instances, handling your divorce on social media is probably not a good idea. In fact, did you know anything you post on social media can be used as public evidence? Posting negative comments or rants about your partner can do much more harm than good. If you’re trying to negotiate divorce arrangements and custody, this certainly may not be to your advantage. Likewise, negative posts fuel gossip and encourage friends to pick sides. In these situations, social media and divorce tend not to mix very well. Revisiting friend lists, reevaluating privacy settings, and limiting social media use for a time are often the best strategies here.
Social Media and Divorce—The Aftermath
Of course, social media and divorce issues don’t go away after the divorce. In fact, they can become even more challenging at times. Because of this, how you handle your divorce on social media from the beginning can help you later. Not all the best practices mentioned here about social media and divorce will apply later. However, maintaining a level of respect, class, and positivity when mentioning your ex-spouse is always good advice. And if this isn’t possible, then refrain from discussing your “ex” on social media altogether. Your mother’s advice still stands…if you can’t say something nice, then don’t post it to Facebook!