Facebook was once a place to post how you were feeling and where you were going to spend your Saturdays.
Now, it’s sucking so much time from people’s lives and it may have a profound effect on marriages.
According to a study cited by the Christian Post, Facebook has been linked to an increase in divorce. As the Facebook population has risen, the divorce rate has also increased, the study found. This isn’t all that surprising, given that one-third of divorce filings in 2011 named Facebook as the reason for their divorce, New York Daily News reported.
But that’s not the whole story. Time’s Eliana Dockterman noted in July that the study linking divorce with Facebook fails to consider that the people joining Facebook aren’t necessarily the ones getting divorced, and that the social network’s not necessarily correlated to the divorce rate.
Still, Facebook could be hurting your marriage. Here are eight and a half things you’re doing on or because of Facebook that could potentially damage your marriage.
1. You’re checking Facebook on your phone, instead of talking to your spouse
According to the Daily Mail, new research has found people spend more time on their smartphones than with their marriage partners. People tend to use their smartphones for about 119 minutes a day, whereas they spend about 97 minutes with their loved one, the research found.
2. You care more about what other people post than what your spouse does
Some would call this “the Instagram effect,” but the idea is simple: You care more about what your friends and family are posting on Facebook than you do what your wife or husband is doing right in front of you. Instagram does have more than 150 million users (many of whom post their stuff to Facebook, too), so people are bound to see some things on there that can grab them and take their attention away from their spouses.
3. You’re not liking your loved one’s status
This may seem simple, but it’s an important one. Much has been written by bloggers and dating websites about the effects of liking someone’s statuses, mostly because a large number of likes implies that the liker is interested in the likee. By avoiding the like button for your loved one, you may be giving off a colder impression about how you feel about them.
4. You like someone else’s statuses way too much
According to data from Facebook, Facebook interactions are heavy between soon-to-be couples, with post sharing and likes increasing within the 100 days before a relationship starts. By liking someone else’s statuses and photos too much, you may be giving off the wrong impression that you’re not tied down into a relationship and that you’re looking for a way to leave it.
5. Careful with some of those Facebook friends
It’s no question that you and your spouse are going to have some mutual friends. But be wary of them because they may cause you strife. According to the Pew Research Center, half of Facebook’s users have more than 200 friends in their network, so a shared friend is bound to pop up among married couples. Just make sure those 200 friends aren’t going to comment something off-putting or discouraging on your loved one’s status. It may raise problems within the marriage and friend circles, too.
6. You quit Facebook, but you still ask questions about it
According to research cited by the Daily Mail, more people are saying their goodbye to the social network, as they’re worried about privacy and getting addicted to the website. But when you’re done with Facebook, you may start asking your loved one some questions about it — who your spouse is interacting with, what they’ve been posting and what they recently saw on the website, for example — and that could raise arguments and complications regarding trust.
7. You didn’t do a good job with your privacy settings
Marriage should involve trust and being able to open up to someone. But Facebook creates the possibility for many other people to see what you’re all about. NBC News reported that privacy is a major concern for Facebook users, as it leaves them open to review and judgment by their friends and possibly the public. Conversations that should happen first between husband and wife are posted for the public to see. For example, one source told Deseret News National that his wife shared that he and his wife’s kid started on walking on Facebook before sharing it with him. That was not an easy conversation to have. Facebook may also lead to people finding out things about you before your spouse knows about them, which is another sign of failing trust.
8. Your Facebook photo isn’t right
That’s right. What you display as a profile picture says a lot about you. In fact, The Atlantic reported that what makes a profile picture look good is the amount of engagement it gets — such as likes, shares and comments. But if you keep something unattractive up — like a photo no one likes — your spouse may feel the pressure to ask you to take it down.
There are other problems. But what are they?
Of course, Facebook is filled with a variety of users interacting with a vast number of people every day, so there are bound to be problems we didn’t think of.