It’s time for a few lessons in relationship etiquette and social media. Whether you’ve just met, have been dating for awhile, or you’re headed for divorce court – here’s expert advice to help keep Facebook from damaging your relationship:

  • It’s never too early to talk about Facebook. A recent dating survey found that most singles HATE social media surprises, like seeing their date’s status change from “single” to “in a relationship” after only two dates. So, be up front about what you think is appropriate to share - and what isn’t. In fact, some experts suggest discussing what you plan to post before you end the first date!
  • Consider a “social media prenup.” This is a great idea if you’re dating each other exclusively. Psychologist Dr. Sheri Meyers says it’s critical for couples to agree on the ways they’ll handle Facebook issues, like “friend” requests from an ex. As in, “I’ll tell you they asked, and turn them down.” Dr. Meyers also says it’s smart to preview any comments or pictures you post about each other – especially early in your relationship – so you can avoid arguments or embarrassment. In fact, be careful what you say online about your relationship, period. Experts say that 66 percent of divorce proceedings cite Facebook as a factor in the disintegration of their relationship.
  • If you’re headed for a breakup, unfriend and “unfollow” each other on Facebook and Twitter. Psychologist Dr. Tara Marshall says that people who flip through their ex’s pictures and posts on Facebook, and follow their Twitter feed, tend to feel much more distressed and lonely than those who don’t. You might even consider deactivating your accounts for a while. Because a social media “blackout” can help prevent you from posting hurtful comments that could make it harder to for you, your partner – and your kids – to cope with the breakup.

Has Facebook ever caused a problem in your relationship?