Couples ‘more likely to split’ over social media than infidelity

‘The more communicative devices we have, the less communicative in relationships,' says Accord

Accord president, Bishop Denis Nulty:  “Perhaps in time to come the effect of Instagram, Snapchat or tweeting in the relationships of today will become more evident.” File photograph: Getty Images

Accord president, Bishop Denis Nulty: “Perhaps in time to come the effect of Instagram, Snapchat or tweeting in the relationships of today will become more evident.” File photograph: Getty Images

 

Social media and texting now pose greater problems in relationships than infidelity, according to figures published by Accord, the Catholic Church’s marriage advisory service.

Between 2011 and 2015, phone use or texting rose from 16 per cent to 21 per cent as a highly relevant cause of problems in relationships.

Over the same period, infidelity as a cause of problems rose from 18 per cent to 20 per cent.

However, the greatest (at 58 per cent) cause of problems in relationships in 2015, as consistent with previous years, was “not listening to or ignoring” a partner, and “anxiety/stress”.

Criticism and insults

These were followed by “conflict” (56 per cent), “intimacy issues” (47 per cent), “criticism and insults” (42 per cent), and “sexual issues” (39 per cent).

Launching the Accord figures in Dublin on Tuesday, Bishop Denis Nulty, president of Accord, said that in the context of relationship difficulties, incidences of “not listening” or “being ignored” had “sadly increased in its relevance for couples, from 48 per cent to 58 per cent, in the past nine years”.

It seemed to suggest “the more communicative devices we have in life, the less communicative we are in our relationships”, he said.

Speaking at the St Valentine shrine in Whitefriar Street’s Carmelite church, he said of Accord figures between 2007 and 2015: “Texting didn’t even feature as an issue of concern back in 2007; last year 21 per cent of those counselled by Accord saw it as an issue of huge concern.

“Perhaps in time to come the effect of Instagram, Snapchat or tweeting in the relationships of today will become more evident.”

In 2015, Accord delivered marriage preparation courses to 15,774 people at 55 centres across the island and provided 33,969 marriage counselling sessions.

Since 2007 approximately 80 per cent of its clients were Catholic, with about 63 per cent married couples.