How sites like Facebook affect couples

In every relationship a unique bond is formed. This bond ties two people together and becomes the foundation of that new partnership. There always seem to be forces at work that attempt to test these bonds between individuals, and today, one of those forces carries the title of “Social Media.”

It’s evident that social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have in many ways improved people’s communicative lives. The world seems to have shrunk greatly due to the immediate connectivity across any and all distances that the cyber world allows.

But, along with making life easier, these tools also have the ability to complicate certain aspects of life.

First-hand experience

Joel and Kaylah Kelly have been married for four years and both of them have Facebook accounts, and they are well aware of the fact that social media has the potential to be detrimental to a relationship.

The Kellys admit that they have experienced severe relationship tension as a result of things each other has posted online. They were able to overcome this, but are now conscious of the fact that their online activity doesn’t only affect themselves, and can also greatly impact the other person in the partnership.

While always having to consider another person’s feelings can at times feel taxing, they have realized it’s worth it when considering the damage that can be caused.

“To realize that you have the power to hurt and destroy another person with just your words is pretty significant,” Kaylah said.Kaylah and Joel Kelly said they are conscious of the fact that their online activity doesn’t only affect themselves, but that it can also greatly impact the other person in the partnership.

Photo by Sydney Karg

So, the pair has adapted the way they utilize Social Media in consideration of their relationship.

“To make a conscious effort is to make a conscious choice daily to keep your relationship issues to yourselves and not share it with the world,” Kaylah said of their approach.

Social Media’s effect on relationships

Sharing relationship details publicly means inviting people outside of that partnership to be connected to it, taking away from the private bond that was once shared.

Jeremy Duncan, associate pastor at Westside King’s Church, shared why he thinks it’s important that relationships maintain a sort of separation.

“There are experiences that should probably remain with the couple exclusively, not only in the sense of privacy and propriety but also in terms of creating growth through exclusive shared experiences,” Duncan said. “Knowing that only one person has a particular window into your life is an important part of intimacy.”

Motivation for over-sharing

Psychologists said that people want to feel understood and have a natural desire for a sense of belonging, and that this aids the explanation as to why individuals sometimes express intimate relationship details online. If they are frustrated with their partner, they turn to another outlet hoping for someone to identify with them or console them.

Psychologist and marriage counselor Dr. Nathan Cobb explained the possible motivation behind this.

“Often we want to be validated and stroked and told that we are right rather than do the hard work of co-operating, confessing, admitting, acknowledging, describing, disclosing, really listening, and working together with a partner to find creative solutions to problems that impact your relationship,” he said. “Because such solutions often require us to change and grow and accommodate the feelings and desires of the other person, which seem to be in conflict with our own.”

Considerate posting

So when conflict does erupt due to online activity, who’s to blame?

Cobb said, “Social Media itself is not necessarily the problem. It’s how we use it and the Internet and the discipline of the people using it that matters.”

skarg@cjournal.ca

Do you think social media affects your relationship? Share your opinion in the comment section below