by Kristie LeVangie
As if relationships weren’t complicated enough, enter social media.
Sure, it’s all great when you are fresh and in love. You share lovie-dovie status updates and cutesy pics. You sext one another or even go as far as sending nudie videos.
And then, it all goes to hell in a handbasket.
The least of your worries is the embarrassing status updates proving your love detector is completely fucking broken. He now has those pics of your boobs and that drunken night of uninhibited passion saved to his smartphone.
Sure. You can unfollow him on Twitter. You can block or unfriend him on Facebook, but it’s a small virtual world and we live in an era of being “ex”-obsessed!
In a survey done by YourTango about love and relationships, 76% of women and 70% of men admitted to looking up their exes on the internet. With all the “ex” stalking, there are bound to be some temptations to cultivate a “revengenda.”
According to another study, the 2013 Love, Relationships, and Technology survey, 50% of people have shared personal or intimate images and/or videos with loved ones or friends. 28% of whom have regretted sending such content post-relationship, and 32% have gone as far as asking their ex-partner to delete the material. This same study found that 1 in 10 people have been threatened by their ex that their risqué images would be posted online with nearly 60% of these threats being carried out.
So how does one protect oneself in an age of social media oversharing?
That’s right. They aren’t just for marriages anymore.
Social Media prenups are on the rise according to both Time magazine and ABC News. ABC even notes that 80% of divorce attorneys say they are finding the issue more common in current divorce proceedings.
So how does it work? Most of them are actually pretty simple. You both agree to a set of terms (i.e., like not posting suggestive pictures online after the break-up), and should one of you violate the terms, you pay up. Sometimes to the tune of $50,000!!!
Each prenup seems to be unique to each couple and attempts to cover their esteem issues with online posting. For example, some may restrict unflattering photos while others will restrict contact with ex-girlfriends. It’s really all subjective, but ultimately meant to protect both parties from unfair social media practices after you have split paths.
Luckily there are laws in place to prevent jealous exes from spreading your captured carnal moments all over the web, but only if you live in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Idaho, Utah, Virginia or Wisconsin. These are the 9 states with statutes against Revenge Porn or the posting of “identifiable nude pictures of someone else online without permission with the intent to cause emotional distress or humiliation.” Granted this offense is only a misdemeanor carrying a punishment of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
There is clearly more work to be done.
And while I couldn’t find any examples of an actual contract, I pondered to myself what might appear on my own (should I ever decide I need one…that’s another blog entirely):
1. No posting pictures without my explicit consent.
2. No exchanging of romantic gestures or deeply intimate details about our relationship with members of any gender.
3. No hiding of your social media profiles from my view. I might think you are hiding something. I’m not asking for your passwords– only the ability to view your profile without restriction.
4. You must fly your Facebook relationship flag high, complete with a tag to my profile so I can mark my territory. And no “It’s complicated” bullshit.
5. No public complaints about the relationship or my participation in such…unless it’s in a cleverly disguised blog under an assumed name.
6. After the break-up, you can stalk my pages as much as you want, but don’t attempt to contact me in any form or fashion. You cannot “like” my statuses or respond to my blogs.
7. After the break-up, you should delete all pictures of an intimate nature, all sexting strings, all digital homemade porn, and any provocative emails sent to you throughout the relationship.
8. After the break-up, you should post one last blog declaring your un-dying appreciation for me and how I made you a better person just by knowing me. Oh! And how the sex was the best sex of your life and something you will never find with another.
Hey! It’s my list.
What would YOUR social media prenup include? Have a horror story about a previous break-up? Share your thoughts below.
EDITOR’S NOTE: NPR also did a story on All Things Considered about social media prenups. If you are interested in listening to the story, you can click here.