Five ways Facebook destroys relationships
by Elizabeth Ann Persimmons
Real Relationship Examiner
August 18, 2009

I was just talking to a friend who told me his theory:   that Facebook ruins relationships. While I was busy arguing with him that if someone is insecure enough to break up over a Facebook issue, I realized that ten minutes earlier I had gotten upset with my boyfriend for not looking at Facebook pictures from  my brother’s wedding this weekend (my defense: I looked very cute in a lot of them and hadn’t shown him any pictures yet. His defense: There were too many pictures).

But then I started thinking about it, and my friend is right—Facebook is good for staying in touch with family and friends, but bad for relationships. Does Facebook not want us to have successful relationships? Let’s take a look at the evidence:

1. You can filter, but it’s not really an option to filter your significant other.  I have three Facebook groups—Friends, Professional and Religious (I know a lot of very conservative people, so it’s a necessity). But people know if they can only see your updates, or only see your pictures, or not see pictures you are tagged in. As a result, filtering your significant other is sending the message “I will date you, but I have a lot to hide from you.” And that just leads to uncomfortable conversations about what you are hiding.

2. It is very easy for people to get jealous or weird on Facebook. I have a lot of examples for this, but a friend pointed out that if someone hypothetically commented on your page, and the hypothetical comment  was of a sexual nature, but leaned towards a private joke, and your hypothetical girlfriend got upset, that could ruin your relationship. Hypothetically. I am sure this never happened to him. I will personally run at the first sign of jealousy in a relationship, which is good, because someone posted to my Facebook last week “Thanks for the NUDE PICS, Lizzie!!!” My boyfriend either didn’t believe the comment, or didn’t care. We have a modern relationship. Some may even say post-modern. I never knew what that meant.

3. Facebook has a relationship status. And not just a relationship status. One that tells EVERYONE any time you change anything. This, of course, leads to all sorts of anxiety. At what point do you tell everyone, publicly, even your high school friend’s mom, that you are in a relationship? Do you list the person? If you are casually dating someone, do you put “It’s Complicated” or will that make you look like an ass? (It will.) Even just taking off the relationship option causes it to be posted that you have changed your relationship status, which can lead to uncomfortable conversations. ***

4. People post their relationship fights on Facebook. Now, if you have not witnessed this, it is because it is done covertly. Not everyone has a relationship column where they can air their contentions. ( Speaking of that, because of several questions I received, in the last column I spoke about a LAN party and a girlfriend telling about her boyfriend’s history of wetting-the-bed. That was not based on fact, it was just an example, and, as far as I know, my boyfriend doesn’t have a problem with bedtime urination. I just thought if you were going to spill something like that, a LAN party would probably be the only mildly socially acceptable place to do so, because if people were to spread that around they would also have to admit they were at a LAN party.)

But anyway. In continuing a relationship fight on Facebook, people usually pose the fight as a question. The question can be simple, like “Who thinks ANTM is awesome?” to extremely loaded, such as “Do you think it’s normal, in a relationship, for someone to not tell you when they’ve seen their ex-girlfriend and then act like it was no big deal?” to cryptic heartbreaking Facebook status changes that involve quoting song lyrics: “Runaway train, never coming back. Wrong way down a one way track.” Or they just complain, directly.  Either way, Facebook ensures that all it’s users have intimate knowledge of if you’re in a relationship or just sleeping with someone, and probably what your recent fights are, or if you just got dumped. And Facebook spreads that negativity around like a sad, bitter wildfire.

And the final way that Facebook hates relationships, the way that tops all others, is this:

5. They allow for cheesy, romantic posts. Now, I admit, I am one of those people who, if something romantic is said during sex, I will immediately burst out laughing, or do so on the inside. I can allow for an “I love you” or an “mmMMMmmm,” but straying into dirty talk that uses any type of metaphor to describe my body or involves anything that reminds me of romantic comedies or porn (“I want to be with you forever. Let’s never die.” Or “I want to FILL YOU UP.”), sends me into a fit of giggles.

So if I can’t handle this from a partner in an intimate setting, what makes you think I want to hear it from you, on a public forum, talking to someone else I know? And this covers anything, from talking about your wedding night (gah!)   to responding to a status update   to getting uncomfortably poetic/creepy
 The only thing worse than seeing your friends and casual acquaintances fight on Facebook is seeing them be happy in their relationship on Facebook. Why? Because it’s annoying, probably fake, and makes it awkward to look them in the eye the next time you see them.

Facebook is our stereotypical Jewish mother. We don’t need to bother about worrying whether we’re single, engaged, fighting or making up, because Facebook takes care of that for us. We don’t need to tell our significant other what’s going on in our life, they can just look at our Facebook status. Does Facebook hate relationships? Loyal Reader, I’ll let you decide. But it sure doesn’t make them any easier.

Liz knows a little about relationships and sex. She's been married, divorced, and contracted countless stories of failure and success while pursuring almost every avenue of dating. These experiences incited her to start a blog relaying her trials and tribulations to the reading public. And all before she was 27. For the real truth on love, life, and the pursuit of better sex (or hey, worse sex, we're not judging)


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