Facebook, Divorce, The Good, and The Ugly

facebook divorce

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

Like most people, I have a love hate relationship with facebook.  On one hand, the social media giant allows you to catch up with all of your friends, see their photos, know their birthdays and more. Facebook is also amazing in promoting a business. But, there is a dark side of facebook: the one that can shock you, make you cry, piss you off, and cause you to feel like the most lonely person on the planet, especially during and after divorce. Facebook, divorce and feelings don’t always mix well.

Here are some of the things I think are facebook negatives:

1. People can hurt you, whether it’s intentional or unintentional.

Think of your ex or an old boyfriend posting pics of himself and his new girlfriend. Even if he blocks you and you block him, he’s most likely friends with all of your mutual friends, who will show you the pics on their phones.


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   2. Facebook can make people feel excluded.

Let’s say people post photos of a party you were not invited to. It’s hurtful, even if the host didn’t mean it. If it wasn’t for Facebook, you’d never have known about it. Furthermore, if adults feel this way, can you even imagine how kids feel when seeing Instagram photos of parties they weren’t invited to? It makes me sick.

   3. Facebook can make you feel like everyone else’s lives are better than yours.

Scrolling on facebook can seem like an endless array of photos of perfect, happy families, smiling, looking great and having the time of their lives on a beach vacation. While I don’t begrudge anyone for taking trips and enjoying their families, let’s be honest, the photos almost seem like commercials. And that’s OK, as long as you, the viewer understand that the person who posted the photo is putting his or her best out in public.

You can’t blame blame that person. Should he or she post photos of the argument he or she had with his or her wife the night before, where doors were slammed and they went to bed angry? No way. Posting photos on Facebook is kind of like leaving the house dressed, with makeup on and with your hair done. You’re showing your best self to the world, just as you do when you go out perhaps to a restaurant or a party. But to the viewer, life seems blissful causing the viewer to doubt their own life, and think everyone else has it better.

The best example I can give is a woman I know who has been posting pictures of she and her husband and their kids for years and writing about how much she loves her husband. “Happy anniversary to the best husband I could have asked for and my best friend,” she wrote just last year. Come to find out, she’s been having an affair for over a decade. But according to Facebook, she and her husband are in living in bliss.



    4. Certain people only comment on negative news.

I don’t post negative comments very much, but occasionally I find Facebook a great way to vent. There are certain people who will only comment if I post something negative or about something bad that happened to me. It makes me sad, because for every 200 positive posts they have nothing to say. One bad one and they are all over it. Kind of makes me feel a little icky.

    5. People tend to get a little psychotic.

I’ve had people get angry with me for not “liking” their posts. I’ve had people call me a liar because I posted something they thought was taking place during a time I said I had plans and couldn’t get together that night. (In other words, the picture was from a few nights earlier.) These are totally nice, normal people. I just don’t get it. Does Facebook bring out the worst in people?

    6. You can find stuff out you might not want to know.

This is sort of a good thing and a bad thing. Let’s say someone wants to set you up with someone. The first thing people do is look them up facebook, right? So, you might look at his picture and say “no thanks,” or you might go to his page and cringe at some of his posts, which can make you say “no thanks.” But, are you saving time or giving up a great guy? You might find out the person is married, or you might see that you have mutual friends, ask your friend about him or her, and the friend says, “Stay away from him,” which is actually a good thing, but maybe not. Facebook is kind of like that friend you have who isn’t afraid to tell you the truth, no matter how badly it might hurt you.

    7. We can post things that are damaging to us.

I’m the queen of writing articles that stem directly from my personal experiences. When we are upset, we want to soothe ourselves by feeling like we are heard. We want to be validated and understood. And Facebook gives us that forum. But people go too far because they are emotionally distraught, and then they regret it later.

On a very important side note, be very very careful about what you post on facebook during your divorce. Even if you post it in a private group, someone can stab you in the back by taking a photo and giving it to your ex, who could then take it to his lawyer and threaten to show it to your judge.

Facebook can be very very damaging in divorce cases!!! Be careful!


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I want to move on to facebook, divorce and flirting!

This is actually really hilarious and obvious. There is something I call “facebook divorce behavior.”

Facebook divorce behavior is exhibited with ulterior motives that range from flirting, trying to get dates, letting people know about a change in romantic status, making sure your ex finds things out about you (that you want him or her to know) and trying to sell yourself as a great catch.

Just to be clear, I’m not judging. I’m simply writing what I’ve observed  as a divorced person who has both engaged in facebook divorce behavior, and who has been a victim of it.

Here are 5 examples of facebook divorce behavior

1. They “Like” your post.

A friend of mine who is divorced said to me the other day, “There should be a “like” button and a “really like” button on facebook. Why? Her theory is, some people “like” your posts and/or photos because they are seeking a way to get back into your life.

Hitting “like” on one of your posts could mean, “I just broke up with someone and I know you are divorced and I want an entry into to your life somehow.” Think about it. “Liking” someone’s post is a great way for the person to say, “Hmm…he ‘liked’ what I had to say. Maybe he wants to go out with me.” If you fall for that, you have just become a victim of facebook divorce behavior. Not that that’s a bad thing! I’m just saying, what’s behind a “like” could be more than a like.

2. They friend strangers who are friends of their facebook friends.

Have you ever been friended by someone you have never heard of or seen? This “friend” could be engaging in facebook divorce behavior. This could be his or her way of meeting you. Again, not a bad thing. Just be prepared. A divorced friend once went through my facebook friend list and sent me a list of every woman on there he would like to go out with. He then friended all of them.  Over half were married, fyi. So, next time you get friended and you have no clue who the guy (or girl) is, it could be someone trying to date you.


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3.    They send live messages.

You’re sitting at your computer on facebook, and suddenly an instant message pops up from a guy you dated a few months ago. “Hi,” it simply says. You have no idea how to respond. You sit there nervously trying to figure out what to say. Another message pops up. “How are you?” It would be really rude to sign off of facebook without a reply at this point. This is the guy’s way of starting up with you. It can actually be very flattering and great if it’s the right timing for you. I think it takes a lot of guts for someone to do that. I’m a fan. But, if a live facebook message (or any message) is the last thing you wanted from this person, it puts you in a tough position.

4. Their profile picture is always just a pic of them, a pic of their kids, or a pic of them AND their kids.

In my opinion, if you really want to find out if someone is single and/or divorced, all you have to do is look at their profile picture and you can tell immediately. I’ve seen quite a few pics that have been cropped, and you can see part of a female or male arm in the photo. LOL! Not making fun of those people. If it’s a good picture, I’d use it, too.

Here’s a suggestion. In some cases, there might be a better way of getting what you want than facebook divorce behavior. For example, instead of blindly friending someone, why not pick up the phone, call your facebook friend and ask if he or she will set you up? And, instead of sending “hi” in your live message, why not say, “I was wondering if I could give you a call. I’d really like to catch up.”

Too many people hide behind facebook because it’s safer than calling someone, where you have to engage in live voice conversation. What happened to taking risks by picking up the phone?

All in all, I think people getting divorced should consider living by these rules:

1. Don’t unfriend someone or block someone in a fury. Instead pick up the phone and tell them how you feel.
2. If you get unfriended or blocked, don’t get angry. Again, pick up the phone and ask why they did it. By the way, if someone unfriends you because of politics, they are unstable and you shouldn’t take it personally.
3. Don’t ever post anything negative about your ex, even in a private group. (In my group, I offer people the option of posting anonymously. All you have to do is send me a private message with the post.)

4. Do yourself a favor and don’t look at y0ur ex’s page (or his friends and family). It’s a lose lose situation that almost always ends in disappointment, anger and tears.
5. Don’t stalk your ex’s new girlfriend’s page. Same result as #4.
6. Don’t feel like you need to make sure everyone knows how happy and wonderful things are by posting all the time. I think there’s something to be said for the mystery of you and just being a little bit more private through your divorce.
7. I think less time in general on Facebook during a divorce the better. Take a break. Consider taking facebook off of your phone so you can only see it on your laptop. This way, you aren’t getting notifications every 2 seconds.
8. If you start dating someone, don’t put up photos of the two of you kissing. It could make your divorce harder if it makes your ex angry. Assume he/she is keeping track of you on Facebook. And even if you aren’t friends, someone else could take a pic and send it to him.
9. Make new facebook friends during your divorce. Friend old high school and college friends! It’s so much fun to reconnect and they will be so happy to hear from you!

Hope this helps, and remember, I LIKE YOU. The people you love and trust like you. You don’t need to soothe yourself by getting facebook likes!

Like this article? Check out, “Dating After Divorce: Advice, Tips and Why this is Such an Exciting Time!”

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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at: DivorcedGirlSmiling.com

    2 Responses to “Facebook, Divorce, The Good, and The Ugly”

    1. Dor

      I’m not on Facebook and never was
      I do have friends on it
      Good suggestions for those newly divorced who are on it
      I wouldn’t post any new dating pics on any social media
      Obviously, the relationship may not work out

    2. Andrea

      Your article is absolutely on point.. the media has divided relationships from what they were previously and it’s really sad how this has happened.. Facebook has not been what I hoped it would be.. its helped me stay in touch with people but it’s also very isolating..


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