“Social media posts are captured in electronic memory and stay there for a long time, unlike words, which could easily fade away with time.” – Dr Kushal Jain, Consultant Psychiatrist
“The negative is when couples end up focussing too much on social media based relationships rather than real relationships.” – Gopa Khan, Mental Health Therapist
The impact of social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp cannot be denied on how it affects modern relationships and modern day dating. In many cases, relationships have not been able to withstand the constant scrutiny and suspicions that social media incites.
Saumya Tewari spoke to experts Dr Kushal Jain, consultant psychiatrist, and Ms Gopa Khan, mental health therapist, about how social media ruins relationships.
How Does Social Media Ruin Relationships?
The world of social media has a lot to offer, but its offerings can be both positive and negative. Our involvement in social media has increased so much in the past few years, that one cannot evade the disastrous results of the same.
Not all social media is bad, but yes, social media ruins relationships if one uses it in a malignant or careless way. In conversation with Dr Kushal Jain and Gopa Khan, let us see how.
Do you think social media such as Facebook or WhatsApp have changed modern couple relationships?
Dr Kushal Jain: Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become closely associated with people’s lives, as they spend considerable time uploading their pictures, writing posts and tagging others. This definitely impacts modern couple relationships in real time.
We frequently come across clients who are distressed both emotionally and psychologically or are depressed when they or their relationships are mentioned on Facebook or WhatsApp.
Gopa Khan: I had one client who was addicted to WhatsApp and and was on many chat groups. This impacted his marriage and family life severely. That experience was indeed a testament to how social media destroys relationships.
In another case, a newly married lady would spend her whole day on Facebook instead of focusing on her other priorities and this created an immense conflict in the marriage, leading to a messy divorce.
However one has to know that, ‘social media destroys relationships’ cannot be a reason for you to make mistakes like this. It is be unfair to blame social media, as it is actually a person’s inability to draw healthy boundaries that is the issue.
Related Reading: How To Deal With Jealousy In Relationships?
How does social media affect relationships and add jealousy in a relationship?
Dr Kushal Jain: Social media act as a catalyst in magnifying emotions. Social media, especially Facebook, can exacerbate and then sustain small amounts of jealousy. Jealousy is a normal human emotion and therefore social media cannot be blamed for it.
Gopa Khan: Jealousy will always exist but the degree intensifies if the partner is an insecure woman or man. Someone once asked me if Facebook ruins relationships and I said that yes it can.
For instance, a spouse may not like his other half getting too many ‘Likes’ on Facebook or have men in her FB friends’ list or WhatsApp groups, or vice versa. In addition, spouses deciding which friends can be in their respective FB accounts becomes a control issue. In such cases, I ask couples to keep out of each other’s Facebook accounts if possible, as it does get messy.
Is social media activity becoming a tool among modern couples to keep tabs on each other?
Dr Kushal Jain: This is a very common issue that I encounter with couples in relationship counseling. They frequently complain about their partners checking their phones or keeping track of their Facebook and WhatsApp activities looking for signs of cheating or any social media relationships that they might have fostered. We have to accept that nothing can be changed now and we have to live with social media.
This phenomenon of checking your partner’s online activities happens, and will happen even more in the future. Social media have just become another reason for individuals to become more suspicious and paranoid. People should be aware that they are tracked and kept tabs on.
Do modern couples talk about issues arising out of how social media destroys relationships?
Dr Kushal Jain: Every now and then we do get clients who discuss how their relationships are negatively affected by the posts their partners put up on social media platforms. This is usually associated with breakups, fights, relationship arguments and, in rare cases, even violence. This is when I remind them that social media sites are also how people are connected. So social media does act a double-edged sword.
Gopa Khan: It’s very much part and parcel of couple’s counseling now. My standard advice to couples…please don’t share passwords with spouses and refrain from posting personal aspects of your life, and definitely NO selfies… that’s definitely inviting trouble.
On a serious note, sex addiction issues also show up while using social media and are leading to breakdown of marriages. Maintaining healthy boundaries and not putting too much information out there on your personal life is the most sensible thing to do.
So, does social media ruin relationships? Not necessarily. Facebook doesn’t invite us to cheat or use it to talk to other people. At the end of the day, it’s your own actions that determine your relationship. So stay safe, careful and cautious about your online activities.
Saying ‘social media ruins relationships’ is a very broad way of judging the same. But yes, it can be harmful if used the wrong way. Moreover, it can create doubts or suspicions in the mind of your spouse if you use it too randomly. Talk it out with your spouse and make some social media boundaries.
A survey in the UK tells us that one in three divorces resulted in disagreements over social media. So do not take this too lightly. Does social media ruin relationships? Clearly, it can.