Facebook: The Root to Relationship Evil?

from the blog “My Breakup with Facebook”


My Facebook Profile

Out of all the relationships I have been in, Facebook has its way of making a way into it. Whether it has to do with someone liking a picture, reading old messages that have no significance, or just getting into arguments online, it is there. My first relationship was in high school. It was absolutely horrible when it came to Facebook. Lying and Cheating was my ex’s forte needless to say. So, when it comes to my own outlook on Facebook, a lot of it comes from my past relationship. With this being said, I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel this way. Researchers from the University of Missouri found that individuals who use Facebook excessively are far more likely to experience Facebook-related conflict with their romantic partners. How can we analyze this and find ways to help prevent a Facebook blowout with others, including you?

Facebook Couples Today

Out of the approximate 1.11 billion people that use Facebook, how many of them have troubling relationships because of it? The researchers from the above 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 makes Facebook the rising issue when it comes to romantic relationships and how can we turn it around for the better? “You can’t place the blame solely on social media if your partner is being sketchy — the issue isn’t so much his Facebook use, but rather his intentions,” Andrea Syrtash said to CBS, NY.

What’s the Problem Now?

Jealousy, one of the seven deadliest sins, is the core reason why so many Facebook users have a problem within their relationships. Victoria Wollaston posted in her article from UK’s, The Daily Mail, “A study from Roanoke College in Virginia found that the higher a student’s grades, the more prone they were to feelings of romantic ‘Facebook jealousy’ – jealous feelings caused by Facebook posts made by, or sent to, their sexual partner.” The results are proven in this study and indicate that, when people who have a high-self-esteem monitor more on a Social Networking Site (SNS), like Facebook. They showed more predictors or signs of SNS jealousy. What aspects lead to this through interpersonal communication? Deterioration, language, and conflict are some of the results of why these phenomena occur.


This word is used in Julia T. Wood’s book, Interpersonal Communication. It is the last development in a romantic relationship. It describes the break down of a couples ending relationship, if they choose to do so. There are five different stages, but the one that really relates to the problems of Facebook, is the first processes. The intrapsychic processes is when the couple or individual starts to become unsatisfied with the relationship and leads into focusing on its problems. Eventually, these problems may build and cause a blowout of some sort. With Facebook, if a girl were to see her boyfriend like another girl’s picture, she might blow it off. But, if he were to like a lot of the same girl’s pictures, it might cause a thought or problem within her. She could potentially be getting jealous.

It’s All About Language, Period.

We use it everyday! Texting, Twitter, and even Facebook all result in language. Even though it is not being used face to face. We may type it all out in our ‘Status Update’ box on Facebook. But the way we may use it is another thing. An article in the New York Times, told a story of two high school sweet hearts’ that could not keep their arguments off Facebook.

 “How is it my birthday is only one day, but my woman’s last a whole damn week?” – James Gower

…In reply… “GET OVER IT!!! UGH!!!!!!” – Ashley Andrews

Many faces of Emoticons

This language on Facebook is an example of how things can be interpreted to not only the couple, but to several friends and family, even the ones you barely know. But, words aren’t the only way we use language. They are symbols and have meaning behind them. As individuals of an online world they may appear differently to others. They are arbitrary and not technically defined as what they represent. They are abstract and the feelings or thoughts we put behind them don’t necessarily mean that they are that alone. They are ambiguous and the definition isn’t as clear-cut to one as it is to another. Periods, commas, exclamation marks, and even emoticons are a way of using language with symbols. They are different because not every person takes them the same way in an online setting.  A period could simply mean, “I am aggravated or irritated.” In the above research from the Virginia study, “The researchers additionally tested whether jealousy levels increased when emoticons were used after the messages. These included smiley and winking faces.” Their result was that men were to be more effected than women. Especially the winkey face, it indicating a flirtatious and sexy approach to the texts.

The Conflict Arises

Of course conflicts arise within a romantic relationship, but with Facebook being a root to a lot of conflicts today, are you able to do it the right way? You can, just with the right tools.

Interpersonal conflict arises when different views or interests clash with a close, or not so close, relationship. It is an expressed disagreement meaning it can only be a conflict if the problem isn’t expressed by the other. From the example above, if the girl weren’t to express her feelings to the boy about liking all of the other girl’s pictures, there wouldn’t be a conflict. If she did, than it could turn into something bigger or even resolute it all together. According to Northern Virginia Community College, there are five stages of conflict.

  1. Withdraw: No Way: Avoid the conflict by pretending that it doesn’t exist. Ex: Ignoring all the pictures he liked on Facebook of that pretty blonde
  2. Give in: Your Way: Accommodate your partner by accepting her/his point of view or suggestion. Ex: Accepting the fact that he may just like her pictures, that’s it.
  3. Stand your ground: My Way: Compete with the other party and ensure that you win the argument. Ex: Make him stop liking her pictures, or better yet… delete her off his Facebook
  4. Compromise: Half Way: Find a middle ground in which you both give up some ground to allow both parties to be partially satisfied. Ex: If he can like pictures, than it has to be okay that I will like other boys’.
  5. Collaborate: Our Way: Talk and listen to the other party. Discuss and clarify your goals and areas of agreement. Ex: Both take a vow to stop liking others photos so the other will not get jealous.

Signing Out

We love it and we hate. Relationships and Facebook are one in the same area of communication because of us doing just that, communicating. With that being said conflicts arise, language unravels, and jealousy embarks the minds of couple’s everyday. Facebook is a thing that can be used for couples in both a positive and negative light, but that all depends them. It depends on you.

This video below is a way of avoiding conflict and its etiquette on Facebook.

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