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Social Media, Marriage and Divorce in China, 140 Characters at a Time

Marriage and divorce are huge decisions and both are not made hastily. At Fields and Dennis, we deal with the repercussions of divorce on a daily basis, finding resolutions to some of the most difficult situations. Divorce is not something easily decided upon by our clients, but sometimes it is the only solution. In our ever-changing society, we must adapt to newly emerging concerns and issues that arise in our technology-driven world.

Relationships are complex, unique, and ever changing. An article from the largest Psychology website in China [www lansin. com] recently explored the benefits of social media on marriage and how social media may also negatively enforce existing problems within failing relationships headed for divorce.

The article examines how Sina Weibo, China’s social media network on par with Facebook and Twitter, has provided a resource for married couples in need of new outlets of communication. We are all too familiar with the affects of social media on interpersonal relationships and it is usually negative tales of infidelity and deceit.  It is rare we hear an account of social media positively impacting a couple’s relationship.  Yet it appears that in China, for couples using Sina Weibo, it might be the case — when used correctly and respectfully.

The amount of time spent on social media is tremendous. While it won’t necessarily fix a relationship headed for divorce, the Lansin article argues that it is a way to share interests and start conversations. The article offers the example of a married couple who used a celebrity divorce story posted to the outlet to spark conversation on divorce and their own marriage.

According to a translation of the original article from womenofchina. cn, “Over 70 percent of a couple’s daily discussion topics come from Weibo.” It is, after all, the leading source of entertainment and news, updating as consistently as Twitter.

Yet, it is not all positive. Social media can impact a marital relationship through what a couple posts to their accounts. How beneficial is posting photos of one’s wedding, children or new home? Obviously, the happy married life depicted on social media outlets may not represent the full picture of a couple’s situation. In this respect the posting has more to do with how they wish others to perceive the relationship. Yet problems linger that are unknowable from an outside perspective and failing marriages come off idyllic based solely on social media representation.

According to the article, more well-known Weibo celebrity users, including Chinese actress Yao Chen, who often posted about her happy marriage had their relationship end publicly in divorce. The original article cites marriage and family counselor Zhang Xin, who explains that recently married couples feel the need to brag about their newlywed life online. Zhang Xin furthers that “Some just want to show off because they may not feel confident or secure in their marriage. They should concentrate on their real lives rather than waste time and energy on showing off on Weibo.”

There appears to be both positives and negatives associated with the popularity of social media and its impact on marriages and divorce. While it can be a tool to a stronger and more connected partnership, it can also cause existing problems to intensify. It is interesting to think about something as trivial as one’s social media account playing such an important role in a marriage, and yet it seems that in today’s social media driven world it should not be too quickly overlooked.

Source: womenofchina. cn / chinanews. com

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