Do you use social media? If so, your relationship could be at risk, according to a new study by Boston University.
Researchers found that in general, people who use social media are 32% more likely to leave their spouse. So if you notice your significant other spending a little too much time on Facebook or checking Twitter or Instagram in the middle of the night, he or she could be looking into other options.
Facebook in particular is “a positive, significant predictor of divorce rate and spousal troubles,” the researchers note. So does this mean we should avoid social media as soon as we say "I do?"
Instead of pointing to all users of social media, the study suggests that men and women troubled by their marriage may be more vulnerable to stray, because they are using social media specifically for emotional support. In other words, people don't look to Facebook to start an affair because of sexual curiosity, it's because the marriage is already at risk.
Measured across 43 states, researchers found that a 20% bump in Facebook use equated with a 2% bump in divorce rates between 2008 and 2010. Researchers looked at numbers from Texas, specifically, and found the larger correlation was true there, too. Among non-social media users, about 16% pondered leaving their mates at some point, compared to 32% of social media users.
As Anne Miller notes on website OZY, Facebook and other forms of social media may make it easier for people to cheat on their spouses, but that's not necessarily what's happening. Data aside, the message is to trust your instincts: if your significant other seems more attached to Facebook than to you, it’s probably time to take stock of your relationship and have a real conversation about where you two are headed.