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Leaving social media during divorce

Following friends and family on Facebook and other social media sites is part of our daily lives. But, this technology may be used or abused to annoy or harass a spouse during or after a divorce.

Facebook, Instagram and other sites are a wonderful method to stay in touch and communicate with friends and family when there is little time to meet or talk. But, these can also become a platform to annoy, harass or bully. Social media can also be used to portray fun or luxurious lifestyle when the other spouse is home taking care of the children.

The best method during a divorce requires self-control and inconvenience. Staying away from these social media sites is the most effective method to block annoying and harassing posts. Another option is blocking access for both spouses. Locking down privacy settings may help. This requires putting aside curiosity about the former spouse, but keeps that spouse from "trolling" in return.

If the thought of giving up social media access is unbearable, a spouse may shut down their current Facebook account and open another one under a name that is unrecognizable to the former spouse. Close friends must be informed and divert traffic to the new site. Friends should also be asked not to share posts from the former spouse that may cause hurt or envy.

When random texts appear to come close to harassment or intimidation, it may be prudent to send a severe message to the former spouse telling them to stop and that no further responses will be forthcoming. When these texts cause safety concerns, tell close friends or family. Local, national or domestic violence hotlines are also very helpful and can provide guidance.

Staying focused on a former spouse's social media also delays moving on with a post-divorce life. It may be time to forego a spouse's texts and postings and to spend time with family and friends that will be part of life after the end of the marriage.

Source: Shepherd Express, "Dealing with divorce in the social media era," Jan. 30, 2018

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