With instant communication physically within our reach, relationships are arguably harder than ever to maintain in modern society. Romantic relationships in particular can be very treacherous when Social Media gets involved, which is happening to more and more couples given the fact that Match.com claims 1 in 5 relationships now start online. The internet makes cheating far easier to carry out but not so easy to hide- unless you’re cautious with your passwords that is!
Social Media can create a false sense of intimacy between people, allow you to connect with people the world over, and cause you to compare yourself and your lifestyle with that of other people that you know. With regards to relationships between couples, a study in a recent issue of the Journal of Cyber-psychology, Behaviour and Social Networking found that people who use Facebook excessively (interpreted by the researchers as checking it more than hourly) are more likely to “…experience Facebook–related conflict with their romantic partners, which then may cause negative relationship outcomes including emotional and physical cheating, break-up and divorce.” Some people also opt to have a true self and online self, as well as effectively lead a double life thanks to the easy access Social Media provides to such choices.
In Britain, 71% of households have a broadband connection, so it’s time to face up to the fact that there’s no escape from Facebook and the like. Social Media has also been an unprecedented distraction to employees within the workplace as well as those in relationships simply because the temptation is so effortless to experience. You can add someone on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and stalk them online ‘til the sun goes down, but the question is can you really know a person based on either their physical self or online self? Because it’s no secret that Social Media users tend to exaggerate the excitement they have in their personal and professional lives.
The online dating industry is said to be worth £2 billion a year and despite it being thought that half of all marriages end in divorce, it’s staggering how much the industry has boomed over the last decade. But this is likely to have caused an amplification of paranoia, with some couples even allowing one another to log onto one another’s email accounts, blogs and Social Media pages to have a butchers at their recently activity. Digital dating is seen by some as a vital part in a society where the methods of forming relationships are grossly inefficient, according to psychologists from the University of Rochester in the U.S. “Online dating is definitely a new and much-needed twist on relationships” said Harry Reis; who worked on a report with The Daily Telegraph, along with five authors and a professor in psychology.
Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter in particular, have changed the dating scene severely. Along with dating websites, Social Media sites mean there’s no more sitting by the phone waiting that call; you can instantly contact online and keep in touch as much or as little as you want, which can have both positive and negative effects on your relationship. For instance, talking online makes it easier, faster and cheaper to chat in between seeing each other in person, and therefore get to know one another a little more. Yet if it’s made use of too much, Social Media can have a detrimental effect on friendships and romantic relationships alike.
It’s also interesting to note how much people take your cyber-space activity into account, especially with relationships. Say you’ve just nabbed yourself a new girlfriend or boyfriend; very few people are aware of it until you shove it on your Facebook profile. But the beauty of that is you can control who is aware of your personal business without editing your privacy settings online; it’s all done face-to-face.
The easy-come, easy-go mentality towards relationships make work for some, but it’s all dependant on how to use Social Media when you’re in a relationship. If you use it to simply keep in touch with each other it can be beneficial to the development of your relationship, but if it can also be the cause of severe screaming matches and even cause the relationship to end.