Kids. Sex. Money. According to therapists, these are the most common topics married couples argue about. After recently talking with a number of counsellors and clergy about common marriage problems they’re dealing with, Facebook should be added to that list. In fact, Facebook is one of the most popular relationship conflicts for today’s married couples.
Why would that be? With over 400-million users, Facebook has become the preferred communication vehicle for connecting with friends and family, and has quickly integrated into the daily routines of adults of all ages. In its wake, many spouses are grappling to keep up with their feelings towards their mates’ rate of reconnected relationships, degrees of convenience connecting to the online social network, and their level of devotion to the website.
In fact, based off the research for our book, Facebook and Your Marriage (which included personal interviews with Facebookers, conversations with therapists, surveying many blogs and websites, and reading the dozens and dozens of comments on Facebook) we’ve discovered that when a spouse says “Facebook is an issue in my marriage,” it is a cry for help without an understanding of what the real problem is.
They mistakenly blame the website when it is most likely one of these five common Facebooking issues.
#1) Time spent on Facebook
Users spend over 500 billion minutes a month on Facebook. (That’s just short of a million years!) Whether they’re playing Mafia Wars or Farmville, corresponding with people or browsing profiles, the amount of time spent ON Facebook is often viewed as time spent AWAY from the family. And for some, they lose all track of time. Too much Facebook attention can create face-to-face tension between a husband and wife.
#2) Facebook Friends
The average user has 130 Facebook Friends. While the master computers at Facebook try to identify connections between users due to common interests, related friends, and past experiences, it is up to the user to “accept” or “decline” a Friend Request. Married Facebookers can unknowingly create a “situation” with their spouse by friending ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, old flames, former crushes, or past love interests. Other problem Facebook Friends include: a nosy in-law or parent, a wacky family member, a friend who is a bad influence, or a toxic co-worker. All of whom, because they’re online friends with one spouse can affect the real-time life of the other spouse.
#3) Facebook etiquette
Not only is Facebook the largest and fastest growing online social network, it is also the most active with half of all users logging in at least once a day. With so many people passing on so much information at such a rapid pace, many can find themselves regretting or second guessing an update or comment they made for the world to see. Some married people forget that the rant against a spouse, the complaint about their marriage, or putting down their mate in an update can create a tense situation on and off of Facebook.
#4) Facebook updates and comments
On average, users create 70 pieces of content on Facebook per month (updates, uploaded pictures, comments, etc). This opens the door for miscommunication, misreading a comment, inappropriate interactions, and more. For married Facebookers who write border-line comments, offer “TMI” on updates, or chat with questionable friends it can create problems on the home front with an embarrassed, hurt or angry spouse.
#5) Discussions about Facebook
For many of those over the age of thirty, this is their first time ever being a part of an online social network. The feelings of uncertainty and anxiety are fairly normal and valid as they try to understand how to operate and function in a 24/7 online community. If they’re married, they are also viewing what their spouse is doing on Facebook. Any expressed concerns about friends, comments, or communications may be quickly dismissed by the other spouse with, “it’s only Facebook,”, “it’s just a website,” or “it’s not real, I’m just having fun.”
With these common Facebooking issues, the sooner couples learn how to talk about setting up boundaries and using common sense in this social media age, the better off they will be. Especially since being a part of an online social network is not going away any time soon…or ever.
Our new book, Facebook and Your Marriage, combines our Facebook experiences, marriage education training, and fifteen years of marriage to help couples handle all five of these Facebook-related arguments.
Here’s how Facebook and Your Marriage can help:
#1) Time-saving tips, time-balancing input, and a framework on how to talk about time spent on Facebook and set boundaries without turning it into a lengthy, never ending argument.
#2) Insightful input on sending and accepting Friend Requests and how to set up boundaries surrounding Facebook Friends to protect marriages from potential problems including high-maintenance people or the chances for an emotional affair!
#3) Basic rules for (online) civility and practical ideas for couples to create their own Facebook etiquette so that both husband and wife can decide what is and is not acceptable to post on Facebook!
#4) All sides of the issues related to public and private correspondences, as well as no-nonsense advice on what should and should not be written in updates and comments!
#5) Successful tools and skills that work so couples can have discussions about online issues, share concerns, and talk about their relationship so both sides are heard, understood and everyone wins!
Facebook and Your Marriage reads like a series of online discussion boards in book form, making it easier for couples to find answers to over 120 common questions and issues ranging from Facebook basics to marriage stressors!
Hopefully, Facebook and Your Marriage can help bring peace between husbands and wives…on Facebook and at home.
Buy the Book here.