Facebook and Relationships – Don’t be a sucker

8 May

Facebook can work a number on your self-esteem. As I mentioned in a previous post, if you are over thirty and single, Facebook serves as a stark reminder that most of your peers are married (or at least in stable relationships). Since I’m a glutton for punishment, sometimes I visit my “friends” profiles and glance through their photo albums showcasing their blissful weddings, honeymoons, angelic-looking children and jovial family vacations. On Facebook, their picture-perfect lives appear to have been ripped straight from the fairy tale ending that I envisioned for myself. But are they?

happy family

Don’t believe the Facebook hype.

There’s a reason everyone adores Facebook. The social media network’s “create-your-own-adventure” platform lets us craft our past and present lives into something a little more palatable. When life throws us an unusually exciting day – we post an update. If we embark on a weekend trip – we “check-in” to all sorts of trendy locations. We carefully examine all photographs and hand-pick the flattering ones – while we discard the other ninety-five percent..

Facebook enables everyone to “live the dream” by accentuating the positive and burying everything else. Thanks to technology, widespread deception has never been easier. Deep down, we all crave the envy of our peers. Thanks to Facebook – now we can vigilantly fabricate our average lives into coveted superficial perfection. I know. I’ve done it.

I was in a toxic long-term relationship a few years ago. Back then, a quick look at my Facebook page could have fooled anyone into believing I was half of a healthy and happy couple. Profile visitors were inundated with our beaming faces in photographs, cute wall comments and status updates detailing our stupid “adventures.”

Happy couple? You’ve been duped.

With a little help from Facebook I concocted a remarkable portrait of a stable relationship and good life. At times, Facebook was powerful enough to temporarily trick me into believing the fantasy I built upon its pages. I liked checking out my Facebook page – it provided a much-needed escape from reality.

Facebook gave me the life I wanted. All the late nights I spent sobbing in the bathroom because my boyfriend had flown into another drunken, jealous rage? Didn’t exist in my Facebook life! His drinking problems? Masked and forgotten. The petty daily arguments and fights? Thanks to Facebook, those ugly details remained dormant. The problems were many, but they were hidden well behind our smiling Facebook photos.

The reality. What you will never see on Facebook.

Facebook has us living in a land of make-believe. So…. stop feeling the pressure to catch up to your settled-down peers based on their Facebook profiles. Sure, some couples might really have sickeningly perfect lives. But for every content couple, there’s another couple ready to kill each other.

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16 Responses to “Facebook and Relationships – Don’t be a sucker”

  1. andrew May 8, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    Hope I’m not too bookish, and if I am…oh well. I like your writing. This is well written and appreciate the word usage like “stark”, “jovial” and “ripped”. They evoke a visualization of what heppens while you are reading. Bravo!

    • Summer May 10, 2012 at 9:43 am #

      Not too bookish at all. Not to mention, there’s nothing wrong with being bookish. Thanks for the kind words.

  2. snarkatussin May 8, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    This is such a great post to read, and really is true. Similar to your experience, I had great ‘adventures’ posted: Trips to Europe, buying a home, plenty of domestic travel — but I was miserable for a good 6-8 months before I ended things. I spent years in an unhealthy relationship with someone who (later) admitted fearing molesting our (future, unborn) children someday. Still, the Facebook pictures displayed something so very different. And everyone, with the exception of a few VERY close friends was shocked when we split.

    Total sham.

  3. snarkysnatch May 8, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    I just posted a something on Facebook last week on this very topic. Personally, I think Facebook is the devil. But I did realize that when I stopped searching for my ex on it then I was truly over him.

    • Summer May 9, 2012 at 9:37 am #

      I’ll have to go through your archives and check it out. You write often (jealous!) so it’s tricky to keep up with you. Facebook is a mind fuck. It’s like a never ending 10-year, 20-year, etc. high school reunion.

  4. Devyn May 9, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    I’ve recently stopped talking with a friend because I felt like she was a negative influence in my life but we’ve kept each other on facebook so I still see her posts.

    Sometimes she writes sweet things that relate to her relationship (the main reason I stopped talking to her: I didn’t like her current bf, who I believe is a bad influence) and I want to believe her. But I’ve been involved with enough bad relationships to know that what you see at the beginning is pretty much how it usually goes for the duration of the relationship.

    But yes, I think I keep facebook around because I like being able to look at people’s travel pictures and read the interesting things that SOME of them put up. I’m also guilty of using it as a photo album, but I suppose I like sharing my mediocre-quality pictures. I hardly ever post because I just don’t feel the need to update people on what I’m doing or eating 24/7.

    When I can afford a good camera I’ll maybe look for a different medium of sharing.

    • Summer May 9, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

      My dad always says “Leopards don’t change their spots.” It’s true.
      I don’t post on FB much either other than putting a funny video on my close friends’ pages from time to time. I enjoy browsing FB, but mostly because I like to laugh at people for posting the most ridiculous crap (that apparently they think is cool).

  5. daterofboys May 9, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Brilliantly written – thanks for posting!

  6. Mr Pink May 10, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    As usual, well said and very true.

  7. Theo Black May 11, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    I’m just about weaned off of facebook; I look at it maybe twice a week. I’m back to thinking that the people I need to be in touch with have my number and email if they want me.

  8. clyde1120 May 12, 2012 at 3:20 am #

    Once again my dear you have done well by your readers. FB is ordinary yes, but it is merely the vehicle on which we purport the “widespread deception”. This deception is a large part of the human context and so very many of us are content to live our lives that way?

    These are the same people whom will berate you and maybe exclude or disown you when you raise your dissent because you cant see the light up ahead in regards to a particular issue.

    Let them go I say. Whilst it hurts me to think it the old adage rings true, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cant make it drink”.

    Cheers Summer.

  9. keithisaworkinprogress May 12, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    Ever since more than colleges were added to facebook, I feel like a bit of honesty has been lost from facebook. My family keeps saying to watch what i say on it, as if I can’t share an opinion without a potential employer finding it and confronting me about it.

  10. sadiepenn May 25, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    I witnessed the false side of Facebook before and after I discovered my husband was having an affair with his friends wife. She and her husband made all their FB friends want to vomit with all the “I love you baby’s” and “you are the perfect one for me” comments they publically posted to each other both before and a mere week after he found out what she had done. Since neither are FB friends anymore I couldn’t say if the have kept it up. My husband thinks any guy on FB is a total weenie though and I think it is a definite good thing he is not on there or perhaps some old high school gal friends would have tracked him down by now. I personally do more looking than posting as well.

  11. Adam C September 19, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    I’m in a 1 year old relationship with a girl who is pregnant with my soon to be first born son. Our lives are not perfect nor have we ever tried to fool ourselves into thinking that. Once she became pregnant, I realized that I had to choose to either truly commit or be a dead beat dad. I, being properly raised, chose to commit. In doing so, I voiced my feelings that there was no longer a place in our lives for Facebook. She didn’t exactly feel the same way, but agreed to go ahead as a young family without Facebook. We both deactivated our accounts. She has resisted this notion since on multiple occasions. I stand strong that, for the time being, with the possible problems Facebook can cause, there is no place for it with a young couple about to embark on life together. What I’m getting at, is Facebook to me is like going out drinking with your buddies in your early 20’s. It’s something that you must put behind you and move on in life. Lawyers across the US have cited an 80% increase in Facebook being involved in divorce. (google it) While divorce rate overall has stayed steady, I wonder how it would be different if Facebook were not in the picture at all.

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