Facebook “it’s complicated with” relationships

By: Karla M. Rivera De Jesús

According to Harvard’s survey in Spring 2008, 86 percent of college students have access to Facebook (www.facebook.com)


          Comments. Photos. Breaking ups. Cheating. Partying.  All the drama you can find with just one click from home to access the phenomenon of Facebook.

            Facebook has become the top social networking website all around the world. Its popularity has driven thousands of teenagers and adults of all ages to create a profile on the social network. Every member fills the information they want to appear on their profile such as name, career, schools, political views, religious views, and why not? their relationships status.

             People change their relationship status in order to make it official. If they are in a relationship it means commitment to each other. If they are singles it makes them appear to be “on sale” Communications sophomore Josué Rivera said, “it allows other members to contact you and maybe start dating.” What people don’t seem to be aware is that by publishing their relationship on any social network doesn’t make it official.

          Relationships are much more than fill a box on a profile. Relationships are real, live, breathing, beating things. It has too many steps at the beginning that can’t be filled on a profile box. Facebook reduces those steps to seven, giving you not too many options to choose. If Facebook gives you “hanging out but nothing serious yet with” or “just sex for now with” won’t be a problem for many users. Technically the best option to choose is to leave that box blank.

          Why is it better to leave it blank? Because only you and your partner know how your relationship is and what steps should be taken. In case it didn’t work out, only both of you (and some friends of course) will know about it. In fact, the publishing of relationship status gives other people online the opportunity to sit in front a computer an open a gateway towards  your love life , structuring an indirect relation that may affect the well doing of the couple.

          However, some people may be asking a crucial question; what if we leave that box in blank, it wouldn’t be an invitation to infidelity or lies via internet? It could be. Nevertheless, who can tell you that your significant one is not cheating on you outside of Facebook? Therefore, problems like infidelity, lies, and hang over without saying it are issues that have to be worked it in the couple.

           One of the main problems with Facebook and relationships are the photo tags, according to a survey realized online with 20 people between ages of 18 to 25 in Facebook. Couples have disputes often because of night outs that were omitted per one of them. “He told me he was studying,” said Elienid Berrios, an 18-year-old Interamerican-Bayamón student, after she saw a tagged photo of her boyfriend, a 20-year-old Mechanical Engineer student, partying in Mayagüez. “We almost broke up after being in a relationship for two years” added Elienid Berrios.

           In cases like the one above, the boyfriend might be blaming Facebook for allowing other contacts to tag him. In truth “couples have to learn that they can’t blame a social network like Facebook for all their relationships problems” as pointed out Josué Rivera. In fact, relationships problems like the mentioned above have existed long before Facebook did. The difference between now and before is the photo tags. Still, the main problem in both situations is the honesty with the significant one.

          Honesty is the key to confidence for a successful relationship. Facebook often helps to lose that key and consequently the confidence. Therefore Facebook is a powerful key for distrust and jealousy. The more time young people spend on Facebook, the more likely they are to feel jealous toward their significant ones, leading to more time on Facebook searching for additional information that will further fuel their jealousy, in an escalating cycle that may become addictive, according to a study reported in CyberPsychology & Behavior published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. (www.liebertpub.com)

A British man murdered his wife after she had changed his status to "single" on Facebook. (http://www.elargentino.com/nota-25576-Mata-a-la-esposa-por-cambiar-estado-civil-en-Facebook.html)

           Speaking of jealousy on Facebook, it doesn’t only end your relationship but can cause your death. This is the sad case of Sarah Richardson, 26, who was stabbed to death by her husband. The murder occurred at her parent’s home in Biddulph, Central England, last may.  Edward Richardson murdered his wife after becoming enraged when she changed her relationship status on Facebook to “single,” according to Huffingtonpost.com. The consequences of technology taking control of communication have entailed a new human nature. Anthropological studies have argued in favor of relations becoming more alienated as society progresses, making social interactions less tangible. Facebook has become the main tool for the progression of alienation, as it changes the course of relations, as well as the development of emotions and bonding.

          What is left to ask is where will Facebook take humanity? Will we continue to sponsor this type of cybernetic networking and make of it the new social interaction? Or will humanity realize that this tool can only strive to dismantle what evolution and cooperation has made of our species? The future holds an unclear prediction when it comes to human beings, but what is certain is that until then Facebook will continue to play a part in relationships, sometimes for the benefit of the couple, sometimes as the source of their biggest struggles and dangers.



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