Studies Show That Couples Who Facebook Together, Stay Together

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Love, Self

Good news! You're not just humble-bragging about your relationship.

It can get a little obnoxious when couples write things on Facebook like "My hubby is wonderful. He brought me flowers, candy, and did all the laundry. And it's not even my birthday or a holiday. How did I get so lucky!" Do they have to do quite so much humble-bragging?

A recent study revealed that Facebook self-presentational cues (actions that signal a couple is together) such as relationship status, tagging, sharing photos, commenting on walls, or status updates increased the commitment a couple had toward one another.

These social gestures actually improved the chances a couple would still be together after six months. 

In a 2013 study from Western Illinois University Department of Communication, assistant professor, Christopher Carpenter said, "I found that people who report appearing in more photos with their partners on Facebook and who regularly tag their partner in their status updates tend to have closer romantic relationships." 

Carpenter said he studies humans' interactions on Facebook and social media because online networks offer a special window into people's lives.

"We can't follow people around with a tape recorder getting a record of what they say all day. Facebook, on the other hand, offers us the chance to see one part of that record. We can see how often people interact with their romantic partners on Facebook, what they say to each other, and how they present themselves on their profile."

Dr. Catalina Toma, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-author of The Couple Who Facebooks Together, Stays Together says, "People tend to internalize what they say about themselves in public, and we were interested applying this to relationships, and to the idea that if you declare your commitment publicly, you might perceive yourself as more committed to that partner."

Researchers tested the interactions between couples using a survey and Facebook's friendship activity feature at the beginning of the study, then again six months later. The findings are interesting.

"If you present yourself as part of a couple through these displays on Facebook, you're likely to be more committed to your partner, and for the relationship to last longer," Toma told Daily Dot.

"I like to make an analogy to weddings. It's the same concept — you bring together the important people in your life and you make public declarations of love in front of them. That's psychologically meaningful because you start to see yourself from the imagined perspective of others."

Navigating social media in relationships can be challenging, but it adds an another layer of interpersonal communication.

"Going Facebook official or declaring your relationship on Facebook is one really important milestone that people have to negotiate. It's often times a cause of tension or something that needs to be resolved. Facebook creates new challenges for couples in a way, but also new opportunities," Toma says.

Social media can be an extension of our real social lives, and just as we seek approval from our friends and family without apps, we now want validation on a larger scale from friends on social media.

It's OK and healthy for your relationship to tag and share that photo — you're just making your commitment stronger. Even if you're annoying the hell out of your Facebook friends.


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