Columbia, MO-Twitter and other social media has become such a regular feature in modern life that new research suggests it could be leading to a decline in relationships, driving married couples to infidelity and divorce.

Russell Clayton of the University of Missouri survey 581 Twitter users and found it caused conflict in their relationship, driving couples to flirt, cheat and eventually divorce.

Clayton asked the study participants if their use of Twitter was an issue in their relationship and discovered the more active a person was on the site the more likely it was to cause arguments. Clayton offered no explanation as to why Twitter use caused conflict, but sex and relationship therapist Sara Berry explained to the Daily Mail that “reaching for your phone breaks any connection, makes the other feel that they are boring you.”

Twitter also presents the opportunity to flirt with others and even though that flirting may never lead to a physical relationship, it still breaks down the trust between a couple.

Clayton conducted a similar study last year concerning Facebook and came up with similar results. But with the Facebook study, he found excessive use of the site was more troubling for newer relationships. However Twitter seems to have a corrosive effect on couples who have been together for longer.

“I found it interesting that active Twitter users experienced Twitter-related conflict and negative relationship outcomes 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.”

But as Amanda Hess pointed out in Slate, the research sample is small and there is no control group since every one responding to the survey were Twitter users.

While it’s possible that excessive Tweeting can lead to flirting and a disconnect between couples which can lead that couple down the path to divorce, social media is not the sole reason relationships breakdown. An unsound relationship can be torn apart by a number of reasons—infidelity, incompatibility, chief among them—so adding another point of contention can just exacerbate the breakdown of a relationship as Clayton noted.

“Although a number of variables can contribute to relationship infidelity and separation, social networking site usage, such as Twitter and Facebook use, can be damaging to relationships,” Clayton said. “Therefore, users should cut back to moderate, healthy levels of Twitter use if they are experiencing Twitter or Facebook-related conflict.”

When we marry we want to think we have chosen the right partner and our marriages will last forever, but the reality is one in two marriages will not stand the test of time. When divorce is imminent, a couple, especially if they have children, will find they need assistance with their dissolution.

A divorce attorney can give sage advice that will allow a divorcing party to untangle their lives from their estranged spouse while protecting their interests. With legal help a couple is better able to settle conflicts over finances and child custody.