facebook-relationship-statusSome couples live their relationships on Facebook. Their tagged-love statuses, cuddling photos and professions of love signal bliss in their coupledom. However, it also invites Facebook friends to see some of their separations in real-time. The “so-and-so is now single” sends newsfeeds into frenzies of likes and “what happened” comments. Facebook stamps the date of a couple’s demise and their reconciliation, as seen in the “so-and-so is now in a relationship” statuses.

Facebook offers a window into the turmoil of relationships, but the social network can also damage relationships since it opens the couple to external criticism. Doctoral students at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism found that excessive Facebook users tend to have Facebook-related conflicts in their relationships. These issues lead to negative outcomes including divorces, break-ups and physical and emotional cheating.

Lead researcher Russell Clayton and his colleagues surveyed Facebook users between the ages of 18 and 82 to gauge their social-networking habits.

“Previous research has shown that the more a person in a romantic relationship uses Facebook, the more likely they are to monitor their partner’s Facebook activity more stringently, which can lead to feelings of jealousy,” Clayton said. “Facebook-induced jealousy may lead to arguments concerning past partners.”

Some have witnessed or have experienced Facebook-related trauma in relationships. He likes pictures of other women, but doesn’t comment on his girlfriend’s newest profile picture. Argument. His ex-girlfriend likes 10 of his pictures. Fight. Those suspicions may seem trivial, but some couples have cause for concern

“Also, our study found that excessive Facebook users are more likely to connect or reconnect with other Facebook users, including previous partners, which may lead to emotional and physical cheating.”

The trend of Facebook-induced envy is prevalent in newer relationships.

“These findings held only for couples who had been in relationships of three years or less,” Clayton said. “This suggests that Facebook may be a threat to relationships that are not fully matured.”

Seasoned relationships seem less-affected by Facebook-conflict.

“Participants who have been in relationships for longer than three years may not use Facebook as often, or may have more matured relationships, and therefore Facebook use may not be a threat or concern,” Clayton explained.

The report, which will be published in the upcoming Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, recommends couples limit their personal Facebook use.

“Cutting back to moderate, healthy levels of Facebook usage could help reduce conflict, particularly for newer couples who are still learning about each other.”

Despite the findings, some don’t think Facebook is responsible for ending relationships. Andrea Syrtash, co-author of It’s okay to sleep with him on the first date and every other rule of dating debunked, doesn’t see social media as the reason relationships end.

“I don’t think we can blame Facebook for our relationships being ruined, but 1 in 5 people in a recent survey did blame the network,” Syrtash said. “It’s all about boundaries. You can use the network, but if you don’t have boundaries, then it will interfere with your love life.”

Syrtash credits lack of trust for fueling Facebook-induced jealousy.

“I think if you think your partner is cheating, you will go to his email, is social networks, and you will find evidence,” Syrtash said. “But couples that have trust probably won’t find much if they open their partner’s account. It’s really based on your gut feeling.”

I have another solution: Don’t befriend your partner on Facebook.

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  • Miakoda

    People can do whatever they want, but I hate to see people live their relationships out all over Facebook.

    • Me

      I have seen plenty of peoples relationship play-out on FB.
      I knew one of my former classmates was going thru a divorce through her FB status. On last week she had ‘happily divorce’ in her name.

    • it was supposed to say “divorceD”lol

      i hate it when women are mad at their husbands or boyfriends and do the subliminal trash talking to them. this one chick says crap like ” god *tags boyfriend* is so damn lazy and never shows that he appreciates me.i take care of the kids while he sits his ass on the couch. im not a maid” or something to that effect…. WHO DOES THAT?!?! what the hell ? that’s not cool at all. you don’t do that. go talk to him in the other room instead of inviting other people into your problems!

      then of course she has the nerve to write “it’s none of your business” and ” stay out of my life” as well…

  • Simone L

    I’ve taken to hiding people who live their relationships out. I have a friend who married someone I grew up with, always taking to Facebook to trash her marriage. Because her husband’s family is a close friend of our family, I happen to know the true story like how she hits him and all this stuff. My thing is…after a while, your friends that throw in the supportive “you tell em, girl” eventually get tired. I know someone whose been married for about 3 years and for 3 years I’ve seen her go from married to divorced to single to it’s complicated. My husband and I are friends on Facebook but we have a rule in our marriage where we don’t discuss social media. He feels we live together, no need to bring that into our marriage. At the end of the day, like Miakoda said they can do whatever they want. But eventually, people have a little less respect for you because you choose to air your drama out on social media and not in the bedroom or counseling.

    • Me

      @ Simone,

      I agree. My former classmate seems to have drama follow her through FB.

      She placed a pic of a woman her husband is/was having an affair with on her FB page. She said the woman was ugly and buck-toothed. It was terrible. One of her friends commented
      she should not let her soon to be ex-husband and the woman
      get to her that way.

  • mEE

    my significant other and I are going 4yrs strong and we deleted each other from Facebook shortly after we started dating. honestly I feel like it’s nothing but trouble. when we first started dating I posted a status about having a bad day and a mutual friend (not a good friend at all) then wrote on HIS page that maybe he needs to take me out and cheer me up. huh? that was it for me. and really it’s like, I talk to you every day, I don’t need to talk to you on Facebook, or monitor your Facebook, or figure out who you’re talking to. it’s not necessary.

    • Fa

      I totally agree- me and my husband were not friends on FB even when we were dating, and it made things way easier to honestly communicate and get to know one another.

  • k

    my husband refused to add me on facebook when we were together. it made me soooo mad at the time, but i laugh about it now and honestly it was probably for the best (for us for our situation) i think i just got caught up in wanting in so bad because everybody and they mama on my fb tl has their spouse/girlfriend connected and tag away and pictures and stuff and i wanted that but i would have never done that anyway b/c its just not my style smh…boy the mind of child…wisdom does gradually come with age