Spend too much on Facebook? It can hurt your relationship

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WASHINGTON: If you have just started dating someone, it may be wise to limit your time on Facebook.
New
couples who use Facebook excessively are far more likely to experience
Facebook-related conflict which may lead to emotional and physical
cheating, breakup and divorce, a new study has warned.
Russell
Clayton, a doctoral student in the University of Missouri School of
Journalism, along with Alexander Nagurney, an instructor at the
University of Hawaii at Hilo, and Jessica R Smith, a doctoral student at
St Mary’s University in San Antonio, surveyed Facebook users ages 18 to
82 years old.
Participants were asked to
describe how often they used Facebook and how much, if any, conflict
arose between their current or former partners as a result of Facebook
use.
The researchers 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.
“Previous
research has shown that the more a person in a romantic relationship
uses Facebook, the more likely they are to monitor their partner’s
Facebook activity more stringently, which can lead to feelings of
jealousy,” Clayton said.
“Facebook-induced
jealousy may lead to arguments concerning past partners. Also, our study
found that excessive Facebook users are more likely to connect or
reconnect with other Facebook users, including previous partners, which
may lead to emotional and physical cheating,” Clayton added.
Clayton also found that this trend was particularly apparent in newer relationships.
“These
findings held only for couples who had been in relationships of three
years or less. This suggests that Facebook may be a threat to
relationships that are not fully matured,” he said.
“On
the other hand, participants who have been in relationships for longer
than three years may not use Facebook as often, or may have more matured
relationships, and therefore Facebook use may not be a threat or
concern,” he said.
In order to prevent such
conflict from arising, Clayton recommends couples, especially those who
have not been together for very long, to limit their own personal
Facebook use.
“Although Facebook is a great way
to learn about someone, excessive Facebook use may be damaging to newer
romantic relationships,” Clayton said.
“Cutting
back to moderate, healthy levels of Facebook usage could help reduce
conflict, particularly for newer couples who are still learning about
each other,” he said.