THE DANGERS OF SHARING YOUR BREAK-UP AND SEPARATION ON PUBLIC PLATFORMS
Whatever your communication channel of choice, there is lots to learn about sharing your private information on public and group platforms. By announcing your break-up on social media, it’s difficult to take back. There are some guidelines for announcing and sharing details of your separation on social media which you can adhere to for a smoother divorce process.
“The unspoken rules around social media and your break-up are pretty simple,” says Rachael Scharrer, Relationship and Life Change Counsellor and Separation Strategist. “It’s remarkable that so many people don’t understand or follow these guidelines and it often doesn’t work to their advantage in the long-run.”
Rachael shares her social media break-up experience: After breaking-up, my ex-husband and I remained living together for 3 weeks, sleeping in separate rooms. He was asking me continually “when are you going to tell your family?” My response was always “when I am ready.” What he didn’t know was that my immediate family and closest friends already knew, but it was none of his business. We weren’t together anymore.
When he jumped on a flight overseas for work, he shared the post “Here we go marriage over and Singapore here I come! New chapter, new life!” and turned his phone off. My phone rang continuously for two days with people expressing concern and wanting to find out what happened. In my situation, my ex-husband was trying to take the power away from me by sharing our separation before I was ready to share it to the world. He chose to control our break-up and the announcement. It was premeditated and had no consideration for our children or his family who weren’t aware of the break-up.
DON’T SEND GROUP EMAILS ANNOUNCING YOUR SEPARATION or announce your separation on social media. While you may get some instant sympathy, share a thought for your family, children, mutual friends and ex-spouse. Instead: have your own short phrase that you can tell others about your separation when you see them
DON’T SHARE YOUR BREAK-UP ISSUES WITH YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA MINIONS, especially when they aren’t aware of the intricate details of the situation and are likely to be inflammatory. Many of your online ‘friends’ aren’t really your friends, especially with some of the Facebook settings today.
Instead: confide in one or two very close friends who know the details and struggles of your separation that will give you their honest feedback, allow you to vent (and not use it against you) and also tell you when you should settle or calm down.
DON’T SHARE SPECIFIC DETAILS OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP on social media support groups that can identify your ex-spouse or your children. You may feel validated for a little while by your support group, however, again, these people don’t know you or your situation and may offer unhelpful advice.
Instead: ask broad questions like “for those who have experienced XYZ, how did you handle it?” or “I am looking tips about XYZ.” Refrain from sharing too much personal information across multiple posts that people can link back to your kids or your ex, like names, suburbs, place of work, schools etc.
YOU CAN’T TAKE IT BACK. Once you have shared on a public or group platform, your message is there permanently – even if you try to delete it after posting it. Instead: show restraint and actively avoid social media or sharing anything about your ex and your break-up on social media
IT CAN (AND WILL) BE USED AGAINST YOU. What you share with others, regardless of whether you use email, verbally or on social media, may make its way to your ex-spouse and be used against you in your divorce proceedings. People whom you thought were your friend will screenshot or record and share with your ex. Instead: Avoid using social media when you are upset or angry. Try to use a 24-hour rule (write what you want but don’t send it for 24-hours) before pressing send.
”My ex didn’t follow these guidelines. Instead, he gave me reams of great content that was all used in court. In the moment, it hurt my feelings as well as my extended family. However, I was able to cite some really colourful social media posts as well as provide the evidence (screenshot) for every one of them. It was helpful to my case.” shares Rachael Scharrer.
Nowadays, new employers conduct google and social media searches to learn more about you prior to offering you a job. Do you really want to have your messy break-up and separation made known to a potential employer?
Your break-up and divorce are private matters – between you and your ex-partner. It’s not necessary to share the morbid details publicly. Your loved ones can get hurt in the process and it can have long-term ramifications for you. Turn to your emotional support network and your professional divorce network when you need to vent and share.