New Delhi: Have your comments on social media brought unwanted trouble to your steady relationship? Don’t be surprised, as this happens frequently!
Social media has been playing the demon in shattering relationships. According to psychologists, too much time devoted to social media is increasingly becoming a factor in the failure of steady relationships.
“Social media is steadily playing a major role in break-ups because it does not allow privacy. There is no longer space for someone who regularly accesses social media sites,” city-based child and adult clinical psychologist Dr. Ashima Srivastava said.
Dr. Samir Parikh, director, department of mental health and behavioral sciences at Fortis Healthcare, echoed the thought, noting that social media creates disturbances when priorities get misplaced and this affects relationships.
“There are unrealistic expectations from a partner after seeing half truths/incomplete stories on social media and getting affected by it. One gets influenced by the unrealistic life displayed on social media and pressurizes the partner to lead the life thus displayed,” city-based psychologist Dr. Ripan Sippy said.
Essential elements of relationships such as trust, personal opinions and space have become weak and hampered due to excessive use of social networking.
“Issues such as who has liked whose photo, who has commented what where and even things like private chats have become relationship killers,” Srivastava contended.
Being mentally exhausted due to excessive use of mental capabilities on surfing the social media, one is left with little space for accommodating a partner’s thoughts.
“Excessive tiredness and distraction of contents being discussed on social media also occupy one’s mind and even if one is physically present he/she is mentally not totally present there as they are mentally preoccupied with other thoughts,” Sippy said.
‘Likes’ and ‘comments’ provide one with positive reinforcement for posting information, increasing the likelihood that the site will be revisited multiple times a day. 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.
“The main reasons for access are generally relief from boredom or for some sort of occupation while waiting,” Srivastava pointed out.
Couples find it easy to compare their relationships with others as well as compare their partners with social figures, leading to a drop in romance and development of problems in the relationship.
“Social media is a big source of projection of materialistic life as being good,” Sippy said, adding that attempts are made to replicate this.
The smartphone is becoming that “third person” in the bedroom and this doesn’t allow for privacy or the development of romance.
The most common impact of a break-up turns out to be stalking on social media as the need to stay updated with a former partner’s daily routine is psychological.
“The desire to have the lost object of affection and love back in one’s life, finding out about how others are doing without them – like have they adjusted better post break up than with them, have they moved on in life or not, whether the new relationship has given them happiness, has the new life made them forget their ex – are a few of the reasons (for stalking),” Sippy pointed out.
Studies have shown that there is a greater tendency to stalk when the breakup was difficult on one or both of the individuals in a relationship.
“Staying up-to-date about an ex also allows one to reassure oneself that the breakup is affecting the other the same way; it allows people to keep checking to make sure their significant other is just as unhappy and lonely as they are. Also, there is a natural anxiety and fear attached with any break-up – the fear that the ex may just find happiness elsewhere,” Srivastava explained.
Addiction to social media also leads to many behavioral changes post break-up.”One starts repeatedly checking and rechecking the smartphone and finds it difficult to fall asleep when accessing social media before bed. One becomes more agitated if unable to access social media, leading to a greater amount of perceived boredom. People start spending less time with family and friends in real life and desire more for a cyber relationship,” Srivastava said.
Psychologists also suggested ways that can reduce the impact of social media on relationships.
“One needs to learn how to control one’s self over the use of social media and introspect one’s needs and desires. Also, social media should be used in regulated time slots and one should spend more quality time with the partner instead of mindlessly browsing or rather log out when one is upset,” Sippy concluded.