Posted on October 29, 2013 · Posted in Blog

Facebook + Like = Divorce

Ongoing research shows that Facebook could be harmful to your relationship.

Facebook and divorce

“Facebook-induced jealousy may lead to arguments concerning past partners.”

Recent studies such as one conducted in 2012 by Russell Clayton, a doctoral student at the University of Missouri, and his associates, interviewed over 200 Facebook users between the ages of 18 and 82. The survey’s questions focused on whether or not Facebook had anything to do with conflict with their current or former partners.

The survey found that people who use Facebook too often (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, breakup and divorce.

“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. 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.”

Facebook has been linked to an increasing number of divorce cases, including many seen by Kelowna Divorce Mediation Services. Like Clayton, our team recommends limiting Facebook usage to achieve a healthy, balanced and lasting relationship.

How to Maintain Healthy Relationships With Your Partner and Facebook

It may seem like common sense, but the old maxim “everything in moderation” applies even to Facebook. If you find yourself spending hours per day checking your Facebook news feed or stalking your partner’s Facebook activity, it’s time to give yourself some distance from the social network. Here are a few easy ways you can maintain a healthy balance in your relationships – online and off.

  • Limit using Facebook to once per day, about 15 minutes either in the morning or after work.
  • Use an alarm clock to help control your time on Facebook.
  • Try going a week without checking Facebook at all. If that’s too much, try not using it for a day.
  • In the time you would usually spend checking Facebook, spend time writing in a journal or reading a book.
  • Write someone a letter instead of sending them a Facebook message or wall post.
  • Make a conscious effort not to check your partner’s Facebook statuses or wall posts. Everyone needs a little space, even on Facebook.

On Facebook, it’s easy to get sucked into people’s former lives, especially with photos documenting every party, road trip and coffee shop visit since high school. With simple tricks, like using an alarm clock, you can easily curb negative Facebook behavior and move on with your life.

(Research citation: Russell B. Clayton, Alexander Nagurney, and Jessica R. Smith. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. October 2013, 16(10): 717-720. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0424.)
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