Facebook and Twitter Aren't Killing Your Relationship. You Are.

Categories: News

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"Ugh, you guys, you would not believe what my boyfriend just tweeted. #breakup."
In today's "no duh" news, two studies out of the University of Missouri say people who spend lots of time on Facebook and Twitter are more likely to fight, cheat or break up with their romantic partner over Facebook- and Twitter-related conflicts.

News about social media's impending threat to the status of marriages and relationships went viral this week, popping up in several national and international outlets. (The study got lots more press than another recent Mizzou discovery that boys face more sexual coercion than we realized, mostly from female perpetrators.)

See also: NSFW: Cardinals Pitcher Carlos Martinez Comes Out as Not Gay on Twitter

Luckily, the study's findings -- as published by Russell Clayton, a doctoral student at MU's journalism school -- aren't really news as much as they're a reminder not to you-know-what where you eat.

Here's what Clayton found: Active Twitter and Facebook users are more likely to get caught in social-media-related conflict with their partners than occasional tweeters and Facebookers.

MU News
Russell Clayton, a doctoral student in the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
"The more a person in a romantic relationship uses Facebook, the more likely they are to monitor their partner's Facebook activity more stringently, which can lead to feelings of jealousy," Clayton says. "Facebook-induced jealousy may lead to arguments concerning past partners. Also, our study found that 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."

But Clayton only studied couples where both parties were plugged in to social networking, so, as Amanda Hess at Slate points out, there's no control group. That means there's no way to compare the couples Clayton studied with couples who aren't active on Facebook or Twitter.

"Instead of telling us that using Twitter actually causes infidelity or divorce, it tells us is that the more time you spend on a platform, the more opportunities you have to mess up on that platform," says Hess.

Clayton's findings seem similar to the oft-cited statistic that most car accidents take place within 25 miles of home. That's not because home is dangerous; it's because drivers spend most of their time near home. So maybe it's not so surprising that people who spend lots of time on social media get into conflicts on or about social media.

But for couples who are active on social media, Clayton finds that Facebook poses a threat to newer couples, and Twitter can ruin a relationship no matter how old it is.

Couples who'd been in relationships for three years or fewer were the most likely to experience Facebook-related infidelity and break-ups, according to surveys of Facebook users ages 18 to 82 years old.

"Facebook may be a threat to relationships that are not fully matured," Clayton says. "Although Facebook is a great way to learn about someone, excessive Facebook use may be damaging to newer romantic relationships."

But when it comes to Twitter, it doesn't matter how long you've been together. The more you tweet, the more likely you and your sweetie are to get into a fight, cheat on each other or even break up.

"I found it interesting that active Twitter users experienced Twitter-related conflict and negative relationship outcomes regardless of length of romantic relationship," Clayton said. "Couples who reported being in relatively new relationships experienced the same amount of conflict as those in longer relationships."

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

Social Media does not Cause infidelity. It just makes it easier to cheat and oddly enough, easier to get caught lol

Sara Olack
Sara Olack

The chick in the photo look like Claire Underwood

Zac Barclay
Zac Barclay

It doesn't cause it. Much like everything else in society, it's just become easier due to the instant ability to contact and communicate. Correlation does not equal causation. That's just sloppy science.

Dan Bonham
Dan Bonham

Faux science? Yeah, those empirical studies are so faux, you're so right and also very smart. The article didn't even say why not to believe it, what a shitty article/publication. Go back to making lists about where I can get BBQ, not this tripe.

Harrison Elfrink
Harrison Elfrink

Whether it be guns, social media, cars, video games, violent movies, it's not the thing, but the person.


Exposure to more people via social media fucks up relationships, news at 11.

Fred Peiffer
Fred Peiffer

What kills a relationship is not being open with your partner. Definitely doesn't help posting things on Facebook. That sends mixed messages to your partner either. So stay true to who you are. And hope your partner will to. Because that's what lead you too each other in the first place.

Cab Cabbage Richardson
Cab Cabbage Richardson

An in depth research from a medical student vs. A schmuck whos publication's articles get worse everday

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