Monday, July 25, 2011
Facebook and Relationships
I have been noticing again how Facebook can play a curious role in our intimate relationships. Here are a few examples of decisions that I have seen playing out online.
1. Someone I know who is having difficulties with her partner recently deleted that she was with him. He's still around, but to the online world, he's basically gone.
2. Another friend recently got married, and suddenly I watched as her last name changed from her maiden name to her new husband's last name. And then the comments flooded in from all of her friends, including a few surprised about the name change.
3. A younger friend of mine had a period where she'd offer nearly blow by blow status updates about her rocky relationship with her boyfriend. Some of this, no doubt, can be chalked up to being a teenager. However, for those of us who were teens before the Facebook era, all of that kind of stuff stayed within a certain circle. Now, it can travel all over the world, and lingers on in cyberspace, long afterwards.
Notice these are all women I mention. I do wonder if there are differences in how men and women approach Facebook when it comes to relationships. Are women more given to noting relationship changes online? I don't know, but most of the men in my Facebook circle don't have much to say about their relationships, or lack there of, on their Facebook pages.
However, given what I have read in recent years, there are certainly plenty of men who are using Facebook and other social media in some respect to their relationships. Perhaps men are offering more visual details, like frequently updating photos with girlfriends present. Or they are checking out the pages of women they like in real life for signs that she's still single. Or isn't single. And of course, some are using Facebook as a means of checking up on a partner, and/or even to gain information to control their relationships. Much of this activity is less visible than frequent status changes and comments, but it's still part of the mix.
How has Facebook impacted your relationships? How do you use (or not use) Facebook when it comes to your dating life?