Study: Twitter Is Destroying Your Marriage, You Self-Absorbed Jerk

Who says journalism degrees are useless? If not for Russell Clayton and his doctoral research at the University of Missouri's j-school, we might have only guessed at the fact that your inability to stop tweeting leads your spouse to, uh, "favorite" someone else's handle.

Clayton surveyed 581 Twitter users of varying ages on their social-media habits, as well as the general health of their co-habitations. The results, published in his paper "The Third Wheel: The Impact of Twitter Use on Relationship Infidelity and Divorce," were unequivocal:

[He] found that active Twitter users are far more likely to experience Twitter–related conflict with their romantic partners. Clayton's results showed that Twitter-related conflict then leads to negative relationship outcomes, including emotional and physical cheating, breakup and divorce.

Questions to survey respondents included: "How often do you have an argument with your significant other as a result of excessive Twitter use?" and "How often do you have an argument with your significant other as a result of viewing friends' Twitter profiles?" Those were cross-referenced with the results of other questions like: "Have you emotionally cheated on your significant other with someone you have connected or reconnected with on Twitter?" "Have you physically cheated on your significant other with someone you have connected or reconnected with on Twitter?" and "Has Twitter led to a breakup/divorce?"

The aggregate answer to all this among Twitter users was: Yup.

Arguments over Twitter obsessions, or favoriting porn stars' tweets, or broadcasting domestic issues to your 342 followers, or whatever else, led to couples' arguments and broken romances "regardless of length of romantic relationship," Clayton said. "Couples who reported being in relatively new relationships experienced the same amount of conflict as those in longer relationships."

This builds on Clayton's earlier Facebook relationships research, in which he found that yes, Facebooking leads to Facebook-related conflicts that destroy relationships with spouses and partners IRL—but in the case of Facebook, the damage was worse among relationships less than three years old, while Twitter arguments were horrible for romantic pairings pretty much all the time.

Does this marriage-wrecking social media addiction describe you? Take heart: Your spouse probably has no idea about that Tinder account yet. But Clayton did make a few recommendations based on the research, including the suggestion that coupled-up twimphomaniacs scale back to "moderate, healthy levels of Twitter use" for the good of their flesh-and-blood lovers.

He also recommended that "couples share joint social networking site accounts to reduce relationship conflict, and there are some social networking site apps, such as the 2Life app, that facilitates interpersonal communication between partners," because facilitating interpersonal communication between partners is really hard when that partner is, you know, right there in front of you.

[Shutterstock/evgenymate]