Status Changing Strain

Social Media Puts Strain on Relationships CMYK Credit Ed Yourdon via Flickr Creative Commons

Remember when you and ‘the love of your life’ broke up because you’re in college and they wanted to ‘enjoy themselves’ while they could? Remember crying for days into your duvet and tub of Hagen Daas after you changed your Facebook status back to single? Did you have a hashtag for emotional support? Bieber did.

No, really. When Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez called time on their relationship earlier this year, the eternally loyal army of Belibers took to Twitter and thus ‘#StayStrongJustin’ was created. We mere mortals have it easy, suffering the heartache of a break up without the eyes of the world scrutinising us.

That’s not to say, however, that when we break up, it doesn’t catch our friends’ attention. Mary-Claire Fitzpatrick, a first year Law and Society student, says that as soon as we list ourselves as in a relationship we are being watched. “It’s like the intimacy two people are supposed to have in a relationship has turned into another way to draw attention to themselves on Facebook.”

It seems that we now use social media as part of our relationships more than we do face-to-face meetings with our amours. Young people tend more to say the three magic words on Facebook or by text than they will if their partner is in the room with them. Suzanne Cooper, who is in second year Journalism, has noticed another connected trend among young couples. “I know some people who post love hearts and things on each others’ pages, which I think is pretty vomit inducing.”

Facebook doesn’t just play a part in our relationships while we are in them. The idea of ‘courting’ has completely changed, according to first year Journalism student Sean Defoe. “Before you even go out on a date with someone you stalk them on Facebook first.”

The element of surprise on blind dates has effectively taken away the surprise that older generations experienced when they went on blind dates. By the time we meet the person, we can now almost tell them the things they were going to say about themselves, thanks to the ever reliable Facebook creeping. (It is not your fault if their profile was on public. Just keep repeating that to yourself. It won’t make it true, but might make you feel better about being able to tell them that you already know they grew up in Dingle).

Aoife Bennett

Image Credit: Ed Yourdon

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