for Individuals, Couples, Children, and Families

Is Facebook Causing Relationship Problems?

According to a recent story in the New York Times, Facebook is one of the most popular searches for couples and singles.

Does Facebook Cause Relationship Turmoil?

Facebook is frequently a topic of conversation and conflict in today’s couples counseling. Facebook has made impulsive dating and “hooking up” so easy and quick that repercussions are not considered until they break the trust in a person’s current relationship.
As a therapist, I listen to couples argue about who they have as “friends” and how they list each other on Facebook as an indicator of their commitment to their current relationship.

“Why don’t you have yourself listed as ‘in relationship?'” one man asks his partner, who he has been dating for the past few months and has now entered couples counseling with her.

“I don’t want to look bad to my friends and colleagues if we don’t work out,” she says. “They know that you and I don’t get along well and I’m not ready to commit on Facebook to being in relationship because I would then have to change it and that would make me look unstable.”

While he looks perplexed, I suggest to her that there is a disconnect in her reasoning and ask her to explain again, which she does with complete conviction. Her partner hears her saying, “I’m not committed to you.”

When trust is broken it is hard to repair. This type of Facebook conflict has become more and more prevalent in my psychology practice. Other heated topics include questions about who you should keep on Facebook while in a relationship (ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends, wives, husbands, etc) and should your partner be able to access your Facebook?

The question is, does Facebook actually causing these problems or bring already existing relationship problems into a more public view?

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