It’s 1am on a Saturday night and just when you put your head down to fall asleep, your phone lights up to a text message from Bae. Sleep has now become irrelevant because Bae saw your snapchat story of another guy and is now convinced you are cheating on him. No consensus is being made because now due to one extra exclamation point, you seem madder than you are, causing a bigger fight to erupt. Crying face emoji’s and angry gifs are sent back and forth for the next two hours. Once the fingers are too tired of typing and the feeling of arthritis is left in your hand, “I’ll text you in the morning” is finally sent and the war of bubbled messages comes to an end. All over the world, since the start of Facebook, Social Media has redefined romance. Now any romantic affiliation 21st century generations have, is less with a face and more common with a screen. News articles and phycologist today have explained that this new level of constant communication and sharing has affected how people fall in love, connect with significant others, and further develop as couples.
Social media has created a new definition for connection and what it really means. It has created this virtual sense of feeling things for someone through a screen. The wall that social media screens between two people, is taking away from the deep, intimate real life experiences that comes from being in a relationship. No longer are couples sending love letters in the mail or surprising each other with flowers at their door or even throwing rocks at their window late at night. People now are preferring information over mystery. Social Media is creating this impatient need to have this desire to know what people around us are constantly thinking or doing. This aspect of sudden gratification is leaving little to be said when it comes to actual face to face conversations.
With just one click of a button, people are meeting their Romeo to their Juliet and vice versa. Social media has created a huge change in not only what our relationships are like, but how they get started. The Pew Research Center did a study on Social Media and Romantic Relationships. Through one of their reports on teen relationships they discovered how, “social media allows users to curate their online presence in a way that puts their best digital foot forward” (Lenhart). Because of this persona that teens are creating, they are finding it easier to communicate. Teens are feeling less pressure or anxiety when it comes to talking to someone over a screen. They have time to think about the perfect thing to say just so their words can match the essence of their untainted media page. With relationships starting through the media, couples are finding it harder to maintain the chemistry. There’s a huge phenomenon to social media and how it has become the reason for so many break ups and divorces. It has contributed to theories of cheating and provides jealousy and distrust in relationships. An article posted on Huffington post called, Facebook Relationship Problems: How Social Networking and Jealousy Affect Your Love Life, explained the story of a guy having an asthma attack after seeing pictures on Facebook of all his girlfriend’s exs. Katherine Bindley, the writer of the article explained, “Facebook isn’t itself to blame for the demise of domestic bliss. Instead it’s an avenue by which threats can develop if you fail to communicate about them.” Once social media disrupts a relationship it makes it even harder for the couple to further develop. Time magazine interviewed Kim Stoltz, former contestant on America’s Next Top Model and Author of Unfriending My Ex: And Other Things I’ll Never Do, about her thoughts on Social Media and how its ruining our relationships. She explained how the more a couple spends time on the media and using their phones that, “you lose ability to have genuine reactions to real problems and real things.” When a couple’s whole relationship is determined through the media, it makes the real interaction seem like there was nothing there in the first place.
Dockterman, Eliana. “Kim Stolz: How Social Media Is Ruining Our Relationships.” Time. June 24, 2014. Accessed October 10, 2016.
Bindley, Katherine. “Facebook Relationship Problems: How Social Networking And Jealousy Affect Your Love Life.” The Huffington Post. January 03, 2012. Accessed October 10, 2016.
Lenhart, Amanda, Monica Anderson, and Aaron Smith. “Chapter 4: Social Media and Romantic Relationships.” Pew Research Center Internet Science Tech RSS. October 01, 2015. Accessed October 10, 2016.
Authors: Haley Pappas, The University of Vermont. http://www.uvm.edu/
I firmly believe that Sunday morning pancakes and a glass of orange juice are the best way to kick start any type of week.
Advisor: Rob Williams, Ph. D., University of Vermont Professor of Media/Communication