The Negative Impact of Social Media Site Facebook Or Romantic Relations

Published: 2021-06-25 02:20:04
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The Negative Effects of Facebook on Romantic Relationships
Facebook is a social networking tool that allows its members to communicate online through access to their profile’s page or “walls,” as well as to their “friend’s” walls. Private messaging and wall comments are some of the many ways that individuals can communicate with each other through this popular social network. The purpose of Facebook is to connect with friends, family, and to meet others who live further way, even internationally. People of all ages use this social networking device and are all susceptible to the effects caused by the daily usage.
However, this network is sometimes excessively used in a format that it was not initially designed for. Young and new couples often use Facebook as a source of information when trying to learn new things about their boyfriend or girlfriend. This can be useful when trying to find topics to talk about on dates, such as similar hobbies. Many Facebook users might claim that their use of the social network has no effect or even a positive effect on their romantic relationships because it gives them the ability to connect further as a couple. They can post pictures of dates, announce their anniversary, and communicate instantly through private chatting and comments. This opinion is not completely without merit. Some couples do interact positively through Facebook; however there are specific requirements that are often met to be a part of this group. Individuals interact with their partner positively are often older individuals (age 30 and above) because college student age and below are more susceptible to Facebook misuse, such as: excessive use and partner surveillance. Another requirement is that the relationship be stable (3 years or longer). Social scientists have studied the interactions of those in both short and long term relationships and studies show that those in shorter relationships are affected greatly by Facebook induced conflict, compared to those in more stable, long-term relationships. Research has shown that the length of a relationship will determine the effect of Facebook induced conflict because “these relationships are considered to be most unstable and hence the most susceptible to conflict” (Clayton 718). Shorter or new relationships, defined as three years or less, often start with one or both partners feeling uncertain about the relationship’s status. However, relationships can also be affected by the intrusion of Facebook if one or both partners use it to excess. The introduction of Facebook as an informative tool can create much more negative effects than positive ones because of this. Facebook has a negative effect on the development of healthy, romantic relationships because it aids in situations that lead to surveillance, jealousy, infidelity, and dissatisfaction.It is normal to view a partner’s Facebook page for purposes such as healthy curiosity and communication, but those who feel uncertainty in their newer relationships often use this social utility as a form of surveillance to monitor their partner’s activities online. Uncertainty in a relationship is formed by outside causes and can vary from person to person. Facebook is often used to calm these uncertainties by searching through their partner’s page to find out whom he or she is interacting with frequently and if they mention their relationship to others online. Individuals often search for photos of themselves with their partner, as well as for pictures of them with others.
“Relationship Status” is a setting on Facebook that allows other users to see if the individual is in a relationship. There are many settings such as “married,” “engaged,” “in a relationship,” “single,” or “it’s complicated.” These settings can be viewed by a partner and will either reassure the partner’s certainty in their relationship or make it worse and increase the level of online surveillance. Individuals can also connect their profile with their partner through this setting and it is known as going “Facebook Official.” This setting requires both partners to consent to publically announcing their relationships and “has significant implications between partners as well as between the couple and the external network” (Fox 4). When a partner refuses to go “Facebook Official” it creates more thoughts of uncertainty to the other and further Facebook surveillance will continue to understand why. Announcing oneself as “Facebook Official” is especially important to young couples. However, it creates more conflict online than if it were done in person. This is because the entire social network attached to the individual will know about the relationship, unlike if the couple would announce their relationship in person. This is a problem more often seen in younger users because of potential jealousy throughout the social circle.
Jealousy can form in a relationship, especially if Facebook surveillance is a habit of one or both partners. Those who use Facebook “may often be indirectly neglecting their partner, directly neglecting their partner by communicating with former partners, and developing Facebook-related jealousy or constant partner monitoring, which may lead to future relationship conflict or separation” (Clayton 719). Jealousy forms because one or both partners check who their partner is chatting with online. They can check to see what pictures have been viewed or commented on and this can be problematic if the partner has had significant online communication with a past romantic partner. Excessive Facebook use can cause major relationship conflict if it takes over the time that should be spent interacting together, instead of navigating their separate online networks.
Studies have shown that “high levels of Facebook use…significantly predict negative outcomes…” such as “divorce rate, emotional cheating, physical cheating, and breakups” (Clayton 720). Negative outcomes also depend on the length of the romantic relationship and the amount of personal time spent on Facebook. Emotional infidelity is caused by one partner emotionally detaching him or herself from the relationship and confiding in others through the use of Facebook. Emotional infidelity leads to mistrust in the relationship, lack of communication, and often is a stepping stone toward the act of physical infidelity. If a partner connects with a former romantic partner through Facebook secretly, it is probable that romantic feelings may reemerge. The use of Facebook as a form of communication increases the likelihood that partner might not only reconnect with a former partner, but also act on the feelings because it is easier to communicate secretly through private message, instead of meeting in person where the individuals could get caught. Facebook also increases the curiosity of reconnecting with an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend because the temptation is extreme when being Facebook “friends” is only one click away.
Facebook- mediated infidelity might not only be related to the ease of temptation, but also to the user’s sense of self while navigating online. When an individual uses online social networking sites, like Facebook, the consequences of their actions seem less severe, compared to if they were interacting in face-to-face situations. Choices an individual makes, such as communicating with other romantic interests and former romantic partners, seem to become less significant in their minds. Actions made online, like emotional or physical infidelity, “are not given as much weight, not given the force of full judgment” (Turkle 500). These actions can be seriously detrimental to the development of a healthy, satisfactory romantic relationship, yet the consequences are not fully understood when an individual makes choices online that could affect their “real” relationship with their romantic partner.
This mental aspect of judgment also comes into play when an individual talk to other “friends” online. It is easy to blur the lines between friendly conversation and emotional infidelity when chatting online. This is because Facebook is “a place that people often end up revealing themselves far more intimately than they would be inclined to do without the intermediation of screens…” (Rheingold 494). When a user decides to confide in a Facebook friend rather than their partner, it can cause negative conflict to occur within the emotional bounds of the relationship.
Throughout the studies of social scientists, it has been shown that under the right conditions a romantic couple might be able to have a positive relationship while using Facebook, but the vast majority of Facebook users do not fall into that category. This is because most users who communicate frequently with their partner through Facebook are college-age students and those in less committed relationships. Excessive Facebook usage is a large underlying problem when related to conflict in these younger relationships, and are what major effects, such as divorce, breakup, and infidelity stem from. It is better for your relationship, and overall mental health, if users limited their Facebook usage and lived their lives in person, instead of virtually through social networking.

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