June 13th, 2013 by Nina Atwood
Facebook is the social phenomenon of all of them: over the past nine years the user base has grown from one million to ONE BILLION! By now, almost everyone knows someone else who reconnected with a long lost lover from the past, or who met someone new and started an affair, using Facebook. In fact, we know that Facebook is the launch point for a high percentage of affairs. But what about breakups? Does Facebook contribute to breakups and divorces? The answer is: it depends. In some cases yes and in some cases no.
A new study found that high levels of Facebook use among couples significantly predicted Facebook-related conflict, which then significantly predicted negative relationship outcomes such as cheating, breakup, and divorce. What that means is that the more time one or both of you spends on Facebook, the more likely you are to have conflict and/or infidelity in your relationship. You are also more likely to split up or divorce.
But here’s the caveat: it’s mainly in new relationships, less than three years in duration. If you’ve been together longer than three years and one of you starts using Facebook a lot, apparently that is less likely to provoke jealousy. Presumably your relationship is more committed at that point so you are less likely to break up over Facebook.
What’s the real lesson here? Too much time on Facebook means you may be bypassing real relationships in favor of fantasy connections. Face to face is how we connect, it’s hardwired in our brains. That’s how we form lasting relationships. It may seem like it’s less risky to find people on Facebook and flirt on each other’s walls, but the reality is that it makes your real partner feel left out. Jealousy – too much of it – rips apart your bond.
My best advice: minimize Facebook and maximize looking at your partner’s face. Deepen your real world connection and Facebook won’t be nearly as appealing.