Facebook Unofficial


With an overwhelming increase in social media over the past decade, we are seeing some significant negative effects and drawbacks from bullying, to shaming, and myriad additional responses meant to incite followers.  One of the most prevalent casualties of social media, in my opinion, is the negative effect of the declaration and maintenance of relationships on Facebook.  It doesn’t take much effort to observe your surroundings and witness almost everyone passing through life with their noses buried in their various technological devices.  So what are they so intent on monitoring?  Chances are, they are checking in with social media; more often than not, Facebook.

So why is this have a negative effect on relationships?  Take a look around you!  I happen to be enjoying the company of friends at a popular craft brewery in San Diego, California, and as I looked around watching the happy faces of fellow patrons, I fell on the unhappy existence of one, sad couple.  They were good looking, young, seemingly social people.  However, for the approximate hour that I observed them, neither one looked up from their smart phone.  This led me to wonder…does this type of neglect of each other’s partner occur in other relationships?

According to Clayton, Nagurney & Smith (2013), individuals who have a consistent presence on Facebook often neglect their partners, whether by communicating with former partners, developing jealousy through Facebook, or by constantly monitoring their partner’s actions via Facebook.  Most of us can claim to be a Facebook “lurker” at one time or another, but when that lurking becomes problematic by monitoring a partner, detrimental outcomes will likely follow.

But what about the positives?  Don’t we all love to post pictures of the good times we have?  Well, we should be careful not to make it a competition.  We’ve all heard the old adage “the grass is always greener on the other side.”  Viewing the great moments, vacations and life milestones that our friends, family and acquaintances post on Facebook is not a depiction of the whole story.  We should be wise to consider that, while the story being told online is fantastic, it is not the whole story, and we should not be comparing ourselves to the carefully posted moments of another relationship.

Clayton et al. (2013) conclude that “high levels of Facebook use, when mediated by Facebook-related conflict, significantly predict negative relationship outcomes (p. 720)”. It would be wise to remember that the grass is, in fact, not always greener, and sensible to consider one’s own relationship health before making relationship comparisons and disappearing into the cyber abyss.


Clayton, R. B., Nagurney, A., & Smith, J. R. (2013). Cheating, Breakup, and Divorce: Is Facebook Use to Blame? Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16(10), 717-720. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0424



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    Facebook Unofficial | Applied Social Psychology (ASP)

  3. Angela Starr Darchuk

    This is a great post. Relationships are hard work on a normal day, let alone with the advancement of social media. Having been married long before there was MySpace, Facebook or Instagram my husband and myself never had these issues. However, we decided once Facebook came around that we would have a joint account. No secrets, no friending people we didn’t mutually know and always having a “private” account. I can see where not having an understanding of expectations around social media are concerned there can be quit a negative response to relationships and social media.

    In my opinion, just like anything in a marriage (or relationship) you should be open, honest and straight forward. How about a few rules around when to be on your phone. We try not to have our phones out when we go out to eat as a couple or a family.

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    Facebook Unofficial | Applied Social Psychology (ASP)

  5. Francine Marie Cabeza

    All social media sites affect relationships. When Facebook first launched I believe it was the cause of relationships downfalls. Overtime, other social medias took Facebook’s place such as Instagram. Instagram may be the leading cause of failed relationships due to social media. Instagram can cause a numerous amount of problems within a relationship. For example, a women can have an argument with her significant other, because he or she liked an inappropriate photo for an individual who is in a relationship. This can cause trust issues or insecurities within a relationship. A male can also have an issue over Instagram, because a make can comment an inappropriate “emoji” under the females Instagram photo, which can cause a dispute between the guys. It can also cause the male to question his significant other whether or not she is being loyal. Social media can also expose the cheaters within a relationship. For some odd reason in our generation it seems as though significant others are making it more obvious online when they’re cheating or being disloyal. Instagram has many downfalls within a relationship. An article in Independent, conducted a study to investigate whether or not posting a selfie’s on social media websites held any consequences. Researchers asked 420 Instagram users between the ages of 18 and 62 years old to fill out an online questionnaire about how many selfies they took and their relationships. The results concluded that how satisfied a participant felt with their body was associated with the amount of selfies they posted on Instagram this is linked with negative outcomes in relationships. It seems as though any small thing on social media can affect relationships.


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