The internet has been a game changer in dating. According to an April 2015 report from the Pew Research Center about half of all Americans say they know someone who has either dated online or met a partner online. One in five in the 25-34 age range have profiles on a dating site. Still, one in three online hasn’t gone on an actual date with someone they’ve met online! Five percent say they met their significant other online. Unless people still use the “we met at the gym” or “through a friend” line, those don’t seem to be very good odds!
The internet hasn’t just changed the way people meet but what they do once they do get together. You can make reservations through the Open Table app, buy movie tix through Fandango, and even arrive at the date via Uber.
The downside to all this is what happens to social media once you split up?
We all have friends who change their relationship status on Facebook from “Single” to “It’s Complicated” or “In a Relationship with…”
Everyone from middle schoolers to the middle-aged. Lots of couples post a detailed timeline of their relationship, from shared meals to weekends away and those cute cozy photos that might cause the most ardent of singletons to question their own relationship status.
A 2014 study from UCSF published in the July 2013 issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science found that married couples who constantly post about their relationship on Facebook self-report marital satisfaction and security more often than those who don’t.
Not every coupling ends with a walk down the aisle – and even those that do might end in dividing the assets in front of a judge.
Some decide to sneak out without a word, changing the status in the middle of the night and hoping nobody notices in their social media feed. Others might post the reason for the status change – and if Facebook doesn’t hit enough people, send it out through Twitter and Instagram.
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When it comes down to it, Facebook sharing that that jerk you were dating had a different definition of “exclusive” or your husband’s name was on the Ashley Madison roster isn’t all that different from garnering sympathy over a bottle of wine with your BFF in the days before social media – only now, you’ve shared your trails with over a thousand of your “closest friends.”
Plenty of relationships are played out on social media, from the first date – to meet the parents – engagement- betrothal – wedding –honeymoon – first home – baby – kids – anniversary – and if things don’t work out, the breakup.
Then there’s the challenge of the photo stream. Do you delete all the photos of the two of you together like we used to burn any photos featuring the ex? Do we leave them as a sort of testament to our shared history like we would when we watch our wedding videos or look through the wedding album five years post-divorce?
It seems sometimes that breakup may be precipitated by reconnecting with an ex. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Network found excessive Facebook users were more likely to experience relationship conflict than those who weren’t checking once an hour. We’ll all read or heard about “Facebook” divorces where a partner rekindled a romance with a long ago ex or the one that got away.
Whether or not you’ve gone through the marriage/divorce cycle or the relationship never made it out of the gate, over half of social media users don’t delete exes from their social media “friends,” perhaps a challenge when you’ve added what you thought were your better dates on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and in your iPhone contacts! With all those connections, it’s pretty challenging to stay away from a former flame, try as you may. Just under half of people surveyed admit to stalking the profiles of exes and we haven’t even touched on the late night drunken texts!