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Facebook and Relationships - Benefit or Jealousy
"It's Facebook Official." We've all probably heard those words at least once, if not multiple times. The phrase, which is used to describe a relationship that has been announced to the world, was coined because of Facebook's use of a "relationship status" indicator on the profiles of its users. This interesting addition to our pages broadcasts to the world that we are in a relationship, single, or trying to figure things out (it's complicated). But with the ability to add a girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, or husband to our Facebook page, a whole new issue arises - the complications that a modern relationship faces, especially when at least a part of that relationship takes place on Facebook, Myspace, or other social media. Many psychologists have actually been studying the success rates of couples who are friends with one another on a social network. The results are incredibly interesting in that they suggest that many relationships are actually weakened by the use of a social network. Jealousy and over-involvement are some of the biggest issues that have arisen because of the presence of these sites in our lives. Ultimately, being able to see everything that our significant other does may prove fatal in terms of a relationship.
Facebook sometimes shows us what we would be better off not seeing. How many of us have honestly not browsed through all of our girlfriend or boyfriend's pictures and been at least slightly jealous upon finding a past photo of him or her with an ex? Facebook is an excellent means of preserving memories, but sometimes, we may stumble upon a memory, whether it be a photo or a status update, that we would have been better off not finding. The truth is that, while we could go and delete all our photos every time we began dating a new person, we don't. And instead we are left answering questions such as "why did you take your first girlfriend to that more expensive restaurant?"
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Facebook also poses another issue besides simple past memories. It is also an "always on" means of spying. Without absolute trust in each other, a couple can begin to argue over Facebook. It may sound trivial, but the following situation is one I have heard countless times from friends and acquaintances: the girl or guy says she's busy. The partner settles for a night of watching TV alone, only to check Facebook later and discover that, at 7pm, his or her girlfriend or boyfriend posted a status like "going to the guys for a bit." This sort of information is excessive; without it, the problem would never exist. Now one could argue that the partner lied, but ultimately these incidents extend to even more trivial things.
The issue of changing our relationships status also brings about quite a lot of debate. Quite often a girl will want to change her status to "In a relationship" but the guy is just content leaving it as "single" or even not posting it at all. Another small matter can create quite a bit of turbulence in an early relationship. But Facebook's biggest issue is that it offers a continuous stream of information that sometimes can incite jealousy.
You may be wondering why people would become jealous over Facebook. I don't know exactly what happens, but the professional studies indicate that over 30% of people filing for divorce in the area studied indicated Facebook as a prime cause. This means that something needs to be done, or rather, a new set of understanding needs to occur that better matches our connected lifestyles. We need to be able to adapt to the style of living that Facebook has brought about: with its endless display of data and personal information.
In order to be dating in the "Facebook Age," the two partners need more trust than ever before. They need to accept the fact that the past is the past, and even if the photos still reside on his or her wall, there is nothing to be done to erase that past. The best thing that a new boyfriend or girlfriend can do is to not continually look at these pictures and wall posts. They need to realize that every relationship is different and soon, pictures of him or her and the new partner will drown out the older ones. It is not fair to ask someone to remove old pictures or posts.
The second understanding that a couple must have is that Facebook is not a tool to spy. While it is used as such a large portion of the time, Facebook should never be used to catch a partner in a lie (unless they're cheating or the like). The problem is that Facebook is a stress reliever for many people. As such, they get on, comment on posts, make updates, etc., when they need personal time. This is not the time to say "Hey, you said you were busy but I saw you just made a comment on so and so's post."
While this hub doesn't apply to everyone, it is something that new couples should keep in the back of their mind as they begin dating in a highly connected and revealing society. With the tips here, and the understanding that Facebook can become a wedge to a relationship, a new couple should be able to cross the bridge that Facebook creates to a better, more trusting relationship.