Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How Facebook is Amplifying The Amount of Jealousy In Your Romantic Relationship

The importance of technology and social media continues to expand daily. Todays populace has the astonishing task of keeping all of their social media accounts up to date and continue to connect and grow their reach on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Path, Linked-in, etc. With all of these social media avenues to engage with others and connect with friends and "friends-to-be" where do our romantic relationships fall into the mix. How does social media positively and negatively affect these relationships? Effects of social media on romantic relationships are evolving into a significant cause of fighting and jealousy in current relationships.

Studies have linked the usage of Facebook to ongoing fighting and even divorce in many romantic relationships. A study done by Mashable shows that Facebook does in fact increase the amount of jealousy in relationships. This jealousy and sometimes relationship-ending behavior can cause serious stress and emotional pain within romantic relationships. It may be attributed to the ability to tag other people in photos without their permission, receiving friend requests from ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends, viewing wall posts that are too friendly for comfort and the ability to track someones activity on their Facebook page. All of these activities factor into why Facebook has become an avenue for jealousy in romantic relationships.

Facebook is addictive, over-informative and makes it too easy to reconnect with old lovers

Research has linked high levels of jealousy in relationships with the usage of their partner on Facebook and other social media sites. A study conducted in Canada concluded that "a whopping 74 percent of those surveyed said they were likely to add exes as Facebook friends and 78.9 percent said that their current partner had previous partners as Facebook friends" (Boughrum, 1).  This jealousy and obsessive curiosity of what a persons partner is up to has become a growing issue in most relationships. Constant access to analyzing and following your partners Facebook activity has led to relationship "nightmares." Checking who your partner is friends with, whose posts they like and follow and what discussions they engage in on Facebook is a new avenue for keeping tabs on what the other is doing on a daily basis. Partners in relationships where both people utilize social media and technology often find themselves wrapped up in jealousy and worry over what the other is doing on their computer. So, does Facebook breed jealousy or is jealousy inevitable in any romantic relationship?

I chose to seek answers to my questions about how social media, Facebook in particular, is affecting romantic relationships. Professor Dale Hample, an expert in interpersonal relationships within the Communications Department here at the University of Maryland, checks his social media sites to make sure he is up to date in his communication with his friends, family and online connections.

Professor Dale Hample answers some questions on how social media is creating an avenue for jealousy in romantic relationships on Facebook.

Hample brings up the idea of suspicion within relationships that utilize Facebook. He states that most jealousy that takes place in romantic relationships stem from the suspicion that the other partner is engaging in dishonest activity and therefore disrespecting the commitments mutually made to the relationship. Additionally, Hample also discusses the idea that partners may have each others passwords, as another way of spying and keeping tabs on the other partner. Both jealousy, suspicion and actual spying via. the usage of a partners information are negative side effects produced by the activities that take place on Facebook and other social media sites. Hample states that although he doesn't attribute jealousy to being produced entirely by Facebook, it is an avenue for jealousy to occur on a frequent basis in romantic relationships. 

Research shows the existence of "Facebook Spying"

Jessica Zartler, a reporter for 9 News reveals the findings of a study "More Information than You Ever Wanted: Does Facebook Bring Out the Green-Eyed Monster of Jealousy?" by the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, that concluded that Facebook is not good for couples in romantic relationships. The news report solicits the expertise of Dr. Howard Markman, a professor of psychology at the University of Denver, often referred to as "Dr. Love" by colleagues, "is hesitant to say that Facebook has an exclusively negative impact on romantic relationships, but he does see how this could be a problem for many couples" (Zartler, 1). This informative report also brings up the idea of "Facebook spying"  and discusses how easily partners can track each others activity on Facebook, often leading to jealousy and danger. 

Despite negative feedback, Facebook and other technologies can still be used to the benefit of certain couples... 

Although much research exists detailing the reasons why social media and technology has been a hurtful tool in romantic relationships, there is some positive results that can come out of the usage of technology within these relationships. When used correctly and productively, Facebook and other technology can be extremely helpful for couples who are long distance and or are looking to use their social media outlets in a positive and constructive way.

Professor Hample contributes his expertise on how technology and social media, Facebook in particular, can be beneficial for couples. Hample describes ways that couples can utilize these tools to their benefit as opposed to their demise.

Although Facebook can cause serious jealousy and a variety of misunderstandings in relationships, there are some benefits for Facebook users in relationships. A benefit for couples that use Facebook is the ability to share their love with each other in a open and publicly broadcasted way. This is encouraging for the members in the relationship, reminding them that the other is special and important to them. Additionally, Facebook allows couples to post pictures of exciting moments that they have shared with their friends and family. This is a great way for others to see what the couple is up to and allows the couple to connect with others and share those experiences. Facebook also allows couples to connect and communicate in a fast and easy way via. Facebook Messenger and Facebook Video Chat. Both avenues of communication are effective and easy to use. Facebook is a wonderful tool in connecting with your partner, sharing pictures and videos with them easily and quickly and also an amazing tool for including your loved ones in your experiences with your partner. There are many benefits that encourage me that Facebook can be beneficial to couples... if used correctly!

Differing opinions still exist on whether or not Facebook is more helpful or hurtful in romantic relationships... 

A University of Maryland student discusses her opinion on whether or not she believes that Facebook is helping or hurting romantic relationships. The interview compliments the ideas presented by expert Dale Hample, who can both agree than Facebook leads to suspicion and jealousy in romantic relationships due to the amount of activity that can be followed, questioned and scrutinized.

With all of the information presented by research and personal experiences, one can conclude that Facebook can be a dangerous weapon in a romantic relationship. Facebook has been shown to lead to jealousy, suspicion and many fights between partners who friend their ex-partners and participate in activity that is "shady" to their partners. In some cases, Facebook can be beneficial, mostly in interpersonal relationships excluding romantic couples, but when used correctly and productively for communication purposes, Facebook is a useful tool in staying connected with friends and family.

1 comment:

Terez Williamson said...

While Facebook can be used beneficially by couples as a public means of expressing their love, a little goes a LONG way. A person can alienate their friends and fans by continually gushing about their relationships. As with most everything else in life, it's best to use moderation when sharing intimate details of your relationship on Facebook and other social media.