Social Network… How Facebook Can Ruin Our Dating Lives

Even if we’ve lived most of our lives without it, most of us probably can’t remember what life was like BF or Before Facebook. From the simple status updates to the more extreme and from declarations of love to nasty break-ups, Facebook has become integral in most of our lives.
It now has a staggering 500 million active users worldwide. And while it’s a wonderful way to stay in touch with friends, it’s now a well known fact that Facebook makes dating far more complicated than it used to be. So with the new movie Social Network out next week, we look at how Facebook has made finding security in love more difficult.

1. Overanalyzing

From the smallest update to the fact that he has replied to two other comments but not yours. If you’re already feeling insecure or suspicious, your partner’s Facebook feed can only add fuel to the fire. For example, who are those three girls he has suddenly befriended? And at the risk of sounding like Nikki from BB7 – “Who is she?!” (that girl in the photo your boyfriend was tagged in on his last night out with the lads.)
“Facebook nearly ruined my relationship with my ex,” says Michelle Wright a journalist from Dublin. “I found out he was sneakily exchanging messages with the girl he had been in love with for years and I wasn’t impressed!” As a result Michelle found it was easy to get obsessive. “He’d leave his Facebook open at home and I found myself stalking him to see what they were saying to one another. Eventually I confronted him and we broke up – the trust was totally gone from both sides.” But even if it doesn’t get to this, do you need or want the worry of overanalyzing what everything means?

2. Ghost of the Ex-mas past

Facebook is full of exes. Ex-friends, ex-boyfriends, ex-bosses. So while checking your recent ex-boyfriends page might seem like a devious yet good idea at the time, you’ll only end up hurt. Instead of getting over him, you’ll inevitably spend the rest of the week pining and jealous after you see he’s been flirting with that girl from his work or class who you always hated. “It’s got to a stage that if I break up with a fella and he is on Facebook I delete him straight away,” says Naomi Jessup, 25, from Waterford. “It’s really annoying when they update their status all the time with things like: ‘I’m so in love with my new girl.’ And they put cheesy photos up of the two of them. It’s just sad.” If you don’t want to delete them try clicking ‘hide’ in the news feed until you’re over it and resist checking their page. Or if you’re the dumpee try and restrain your dating comments, at least until your ex recovers.  

3. Jumping the gun

It’s the most classic Facebook dating dilemma: Who makes a relationship official on Facebook first? It’s one of the most awkward milestones but practically mandatory. What if your partner doesn’t like the idea of people knowing his business? It would be embarrassing to declare yourself to be in a relationship if your significant other didn’t reciprocate. And the relationship status dilemma can have other dangers too.
“My boyfriend let me know it was over by changing his Facebook relationship status to single,” says Aoibheann Maher, 21, from Dublin. “Obviously it hurt, it was probably the worst way he could have done it – but the most embarrassing part was everyone else finding out before me.” Then there is the question of soon is it okay to switch back to single when it ends? Doing so right away seems cold, but holding on for too long can make you look like you haven’t accepted the relationship has ended.  

4. Everlasting

Your Facebook profile is a record of everything you’ve done since you created it – try scrolling back and you’ll see. You might be surprised of the things that are still there – angry boyfriend’s posts, maudlin status updates – the whole lot. To make things even more frustrating, you can’t modify the privacy settings for things you’ve already posted. If there’s things you don’t want your new boyfriend to see – you’re better off deleting it or better, don’t put your whole life on there. And don’t assume he won’t scroll back and have a nose. After all, Facebook stalking is the new black  

5. The Jealousy wars

Let’s assume for arguments sake that you are popular girl with an army of guy friends. Perhaps before you met your new boyfriend you had innocent Facebook flirtation with them. But what if your new boyfriend can’t handle it? As a result you might find he becomes very jealous very quickly, ruining an otherwise good relationship. This proves that Facebook brings us too close to people too quickly. The boundaries for new relationships are often crossed too soon. Similar to dating someone who works in your office, you can’t control the exposure you have, and that can be a problem.