Social Media and Relationships
Is social media affecting your relationship? You aren't alone.
In this May 16, 2012, file photo, the Facebook logo is displayed on an iPad in Philadelphia. Facebook is updating its “trending” feature, which shows popular topics discussed and shared on its site, in an effort to root out fake news and misinformation. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
If you ever feel like social media is affecting your relationship, that’s probably because it is. Technology has changed so much in such a short amount of time, leaving us to catch up.
Many people say that in their intimate relationships are in jeopardy because their significant other is liking other peoples pictures or are getting jealous all their selfie posts.
Dr. Caleb Lack, psychiatrist and professor at the University of Central Oklahoma who studies social media, said that social media can also cause unhealthy habits like “internet stalking” exes or certain people and checking up on our significant others.
Lack also said that it is so much easier to see what our significant others are doing, thinking and feeling or who they’re interacting with by looking at their Facebook or Instagram pages, rather than just wondering about it and moving on, realizing it’s not a big deal.
The problem is, because it is so easily accessible, people become addicted to checking up on their significant other’s social media.
“For a lot of folks, social media magnifies certain tendencies towards things like jealousy or trying to be controlling in a relationship,” Lack said.
Lack said that this is a new thing because ten years ago when someone was jealous, it was what he called a “free floating” type of jealousy, rather than being jealous because their boyfriend or girlfriend liked someone’s picture on social media and now they feel like they’re going to be cheated on or feel more insecure.
The question of why we like certain pictures, Lack said, is something for which there can be a plethora of reasons. It could be because that person is a friend and you wanted to give them a confidence boost or it could even be because you do think they’re attractive.
“But for a lot of people, a lot of times, it’s really just habitual. I see something, and absentmindedly click like,” Lack said.
Of course, along with how unhealthy this is, it also creates tension in the relationship. Some people tend to hold things in, which can lead to resentment for their partner.
He also said this causes a lot of trust issues.
“Imagine if I got out of the shower and caught my significant other looking at my phone. This is not healthy and you are outwardly showing me that you don’t trust me,” Lack said.
UCO student Amber Lemons said that she, like many others has engaged in some of this unhealthy behavior.
“I look at my ex’s Facebook page every now and again, just to see how they are doing,” Lemons said.
Lack said that you need to think about what this behavior says about you as a person- and it is probably nothing healthy.
“Unfortunately, it’s really easy to get trapped in these behaviors if you have these kind of natural tendencies because social media is so easy to use. It takes a lot of self-control as an individual not to fall into these sort of traps,” Lack said.
Lack said social media also rewards these behaviors because it is designed to make you want to come back and check on it all throughout the day.
Many other students agreed that they also like to take a look at their former boyfriend or girlfriend’s Facebook page regularly so they can see how they were.
Although it may seem like something innocent and nice, Lack said that these are really unhealthy habits.
“Think about the message that sends to your current significant others,” Lack said, “what does that say about you as a person?”
Lack also said it is one thing to run into an ex or someone you used to date, but it’s a totally different thing entirely to look up their Facebook pages every week to see what is going on in their lives.
Dr. Lack said the best way to remedy all these problems is to take a step back and allow ourselves to have limited time on social media.
“Try limiting yourself to only an hour Facebook time a day or only getting on to check certain groups you’re in or that kind of thing,” Lack said.
To be on social media constantly can cause you to miss out on things around you and start to have a negative effect on your relationship.
Although social media can be a good thing in many ways, it is important to remember that it is unhealthy to be on it all the time.