OPINION – Is Facebook killing romance?

Credit WikiCommons

Credit WikiCommons

There were three in the bed and the little one said ‘GET OFF FACEBOOK’.

When our parents and grandparents met they had to make genuine efforts to see one another. They didn’t have Whatsapp or texts to arrange dates. In fact, a lot of them wouldn’t have had phones at all. They had to base these arrangements on trust. If you said you would be at a certain place on a certain date at a certain time, you were there.

Back then you didn’t have the option of knowing all but your prospective partners blood type prior to meeting. Google wasn’t there to keep track of accomplishments, Facebook wasn’t there to act as a personal reality show, and there was no Twitter to express your opinion.

Everything your partner knew about you and you about them was based off what you told one another or learned through the relationship. This may all sound very “pure”, but it was. These were real relationships built through trust and effort.

People had faith in their partners and society supported this. The proof lies in the statistics – divorce rates in Ireland have been soaring for the past ten years with almost 90,000 people now declaring themselves legally divorced in Ireland and more separating every day.

There are many contributory factors to this but it is undeniable that the presence of social media and its niggling role in modern relationships is important. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, Snapchat etc… They all know you’re about to break up before you do. They know you’ve been playing away, and they know you’ve ignored those messages. It’s a scary prospect when you lay it bare.

All of these social media outlets together act as the ‘all seeing eye’ on your life. Chances are that Facebook knows more about you than any girlfriend or boyfriend you have ever had.

Recent studies show that when websites such as Facebook are used in excess they can cause conflict in relationships. These websites offer temptations on a plate, and often give users a false sense of privacy.

Dr. Russell Clayton of the University of Missouri conducted a survey amongst users of social media sites ranging from 18 to 22 years old. He posed questions about how much they used Facebook in correlation to how much they would argue with their partners, both past and present, as a direct result of something of the site.

The results showed that overuse of Facebook led to an increase in the chance of cheating, breaking up and divorce. People who are using Facebook excessively are more likely to become jealous and troll their partner’s online activity, leading to FBI-like investigative research on their partner and frequent arguments.

Interestingly those who are using the website more than average run a greater risk of falling for the openness of Facebook in the chance to reconnect with ex-partners and this often leads to cheating emotionally and physically.

The study, published in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking, recommended that couples in their early days should be weary and possibly stay away from the site.

This advice was based on the fact that the findings of the study only stood for couples who had been together less than three years. This implies that Facebook is a threat for couples whose relationships aren’t fully matured. Cutting back to moderate use of Facebook could reduce the risk of conflict, giving the relationship the time it needs to grow.

Too many temptations are at the tips of your fingers these days. While there’s no denying that social media has made vast improvements on our social lives, it also seems to be taking some of the charm away.

Amanda Connolly

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