One of the many benefits of Twitter and other social media websites is that they allow us to make connections and build relationships with people that we otherwise may not have met. But now, a new study is arguing the opposite, saying that regular use of Twitter can “be damaging to…romantic relationships” and is “linked to infidelity and divorce.”  

Most New York residents that regularly use social media are aware of the potential damage the sites can cause to relationships. For example, tweeting about the delicious dinner you’re having instead of talking about it to the spouse that is sitting across the table from you will most likely result in significant frustration, anger and resentment. So, in this sense, the study’s findings are not terribly surprising.

Some are calling the study’s methodology into question, however. One complaint is that the researcher only solicited participants through Twitter, and that it disqualified people whose significant others did not use the social media site. Another is that the study did not use a control group of people that did not use Twitter. Given the sample, then, it seems obvious that such a group would be more likely to report Twitter-fueled relationship issues than the average perrson.

Regardless of the study’s validity, the researcher invoked an interesting statistic: that more than 80 percent of U.S. divorce attorneys report an increase in the use of social media-based evidence in divorce cases in recent years. So if you are considering a divorce in the near future (or even if you’re not!) be careful about what you tweet. It could significantly affect the outcome of your divorce, child custody or other family law case.

Source: Slate, “Such Tweet Sorrow,” Amanda Hess, April 8, 2014