Modern love: Introducing the social-media prenup

Some couples are resorting to written agreements about what can be posted and where. Financial penalties for transgression are imposed.

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"For every unapproved Instagram pic of my backside, $17 million." TMZ/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When it comes to love, I am something of an idiot.

I cling to the notion that you meet someone, often in unexpected circumstances. You have an inexplicable attraction to each other. And then you find ways to misunderstand and mistrust each other until one party hurts the other impossibly. Rinse and repeat.

In the modern, supremely connected world, however, things are different.

There are aspects of a relationship that need to be regularly discussed, analyzed and agreed upon. Sometimes, lawyers have to be brought in to finesse the finer points.

However, I never imagine it would get to a point as fine as having a social-media prenup. ABC News, though, tell me that I'm an even bigger idiot than I thought.

It seems that in regular, run-of-the-mill prenups couples are negotiating a social-media clause. Or two.

Ann-Margaret Carrozza, an estate planning attorney from New York, told ABC News: "There might be a bathing suit photo that might be particularly embarrassing. Posting that would have to be cleared."

Cleared by whom? Just your spouse? All your spouse's Facebook friends? A committee including Anna Wintour and Graydon Carter?

Who could have imagined, even five years ago, that such a notion would be deemed vaguely sane? Which sane person would have ever conceived that a misplaced, mistimed posting (with tagging, naturally) of your spouse in a bikini could cost you $50,000?

Yes, apparently the sanctions for transgression are monetary.

Darling, I'm so sorry that I posted your floral bikini pic on Instagram and added that shadowy filter. Here's 50 grand to make up for it.

There is no point in my suggesting that the world has gone mad. After all, only the world is listening and, given that it's mad, it's not likely to agree with me.

In my naive, idiotic world, if you marry someone, you might already have a sense of what might upset them.

You hopefully know some of their areas of insecurity. You might realize that, as they are a member of the Supreme Court, it's probably not a good idea to post an Instagram picture of them in their Speedos with the caption: "That's what I call a Supreme. Now where's Diana Ross?"

Yet here is relationship and family therapist Sheri Meyers telling ABC News: "This social-media prenup is about how to have a better relationship...by understanding where each other stand and showing how issues arise...It also then relaxes everybody, because you know what you're going to get."

It relaxes everybody? Imagine having to refer to a vast legal document just before you post every Facebook or Instagram picture? Would that relax you? Or would it drive you in a retreat for the demented?

I fear that social media is permanently warping humanity.

I know of couples in which one party is upset that the other didn't post something on Facebook.

The logic goes like this: "We went together for the weekend and you didn't post anything. Does that mean you're ashamed of me? Does that mean you don't want people to know how serious we are?"

We are trapped between declaring everything and being punished for declaring the wrong thing. We are twisted in knots by the demands of constantly having to update our lives for the consumption of an audience, many of whom we've never met and will never meet.

The best kind of love? The one in which you look at each other and just know. The one in which you never have to post anything on Facebook at all.

 

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