The perils of Facebook – should I post updates about my relationship this (or any) Valentine's Day?

Posted by Rachel Giles on

Facebook can be a wonderful tool. It enables us to keep in contact with distant friends and relatives, and provides a platform for sharing news and developments. If used carefully, it can even create and nurture relationships. At this time of year, when love is in the air, you might want to shout about your new relationship; beware of the consequences however!

As family practitioners, my colleagues and I often see the impact that using Facebook can have on a relationship. Reports suggest that up to one third of marriage breakdowns may be as a result of activity of social networking sites.

Whilst it may not be that a relationship has broken down as a result of Facebook (or Facebook alone), there is little to be gained from posting about issues on such sites. We see frequently those who do choose to post updates, seemingly innocently, but this can often be construed the wrong way, or even used as evidence of new relationships or property.

Whilst friends and family may be able to offer advice and/or congratulations, consider whether Facebook or other public networking sites are appropriate for this. A private email would contain the same information! Also, do remember that specialist family lawyers are best placed to assist if you are unsure about what to do.

When thinking about posting an update, particularly on Valentine's Day, remember:

  • It may not be a good idea to post about your partner (past, present or future!), particularly if you feel that your relationship may not survive or you are going through divorce.
  • If you have moved on, bear in mind that your partner may not have reached this stage. Any updates on your new life may add fuel to the fire, and may not assist in amicable relations in the future.
  • If you feel you really must post an update, check your privacy settings. Bear in mind that you may have prevented your partner from seeing any posts, but their friends can and will forward posts to them.

If you require any advice, I or any of my colleagues in the family team would be pleased to assist. Please contact us for further information.

About the Author

Photograph of Rachel Giles

Rachel is a Senior Solicitor in the Family team and is based in the Southampton office.

Rachel Giles
Email Rachel
023 8085 7222

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