Love expert Lola Augustine Brown answers your pressing dating and relationship questions
My sister is going through a bad patch in her marriage and is letting the whole world know about it through her Facebook page. Her page is public, so anyone can see it, and she is posting links to morose songs, quotes about how women don’t need men, and making outrageous statements about her husband, which he then replies to, as do his family and ours. Her Facebook page looks like an online Jerry Springer episode! It is especially concerning as the two of them have young children. I have mentioned to her that all this isn’t wise but she hasn’t really listened. I’ve been trying not to get involved as everyone else in the family is knee deep in this, but should I tell her to keep her life offline? I’m worried this will all bite her on the butt should she end up going through a divorce.
I am always pretty shocked to find out that people don’t use privacy settings on their Facebook pages, and find it rather horrifying when people use social media to be passively aggressive (or worse, blatantly agressive) to their spouses, friends, or other loved ones. Your sister’s behaviour shows a lack of class and maturity, and the people who are reading her train-wreck Facebook page are probably judging her behaviour negatively as much as they are sympathizing with her.
The truth is that this could end up causing her problems should she end up getting divorced, or going through a custody battle with her husband. An American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers survey from 2010 found that 81 per cent of lawyers said they were using evidence from social networking sites in divorce cases. Your sister might delete her incriminating posts, but if her husband (or his mom, or his friends) have taken screenshots, then deleting that stuff won’t make a lot of difference.
You need to talk to her about this because it sounds like she is in a weird emotional space right now and her judgement may not be as good as it should be. I wonder if maybe she is using Facebook as a cry for help. She might feel like nobody is listening to her, and Facebook is the only place that anyone pays attention to the things that are hurting her, so be sure to offer her a shoulder and let her know that she can vent to you at any time.
Meet up with her in person, or at least pick up the phone, to tell her your concerns and advise her to either take a break from Facebook until things calm down, or just not use it in this way. She should go back and delete and posts that could be used against her in court (especially those slandering her husband, or making her look unstable), and make her profile private. Be sure that she knows you are saying these things because you love her and are worried about her, and hopefully she will listen this time.
Got a question for Lola? Email her at email@example.com
Please be advised that, due to the volume of letters, all questions will not be answered. Bell Sympatico or its affiliates are not responsible for outcomes, direct or indirect, resulting from following this advice. By submitting a letter, you are granting permission for its publication. Questions may be edited for length and clarity.