Put the Phone Down: Dating in the Digital Age

Every couple has had at least one argument and the majority of the time it is easy to resolve together. One that I have seen in not only my past relationships, but many others in this day and age is over social media. Have you ever experienced your significant other worried about your presence online? For example, whose picture you like, who you are following, or has your partner ever been so consumed with social media that they pay little to no attention to your emotional, physical, and/or psychological needs. I have been on the side where I am not the one monitoring what they do, but the one being monitored by my past romantic relationship.

Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay
Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

In an academic paper called “Evaluating the Use of Social Media in Escalating Conflicts in Romantic Relationships” published by Wiley, they discuss the correlation between social media and conflicts in romantic relationships. The purpose of the study was to evaluate if there is a significant relationship between social media use and conflict in romantic relationships. The study also explored whether jealousy, monitoring, and infidelity helped clarify the negative use of social media in romantic relationships resulting in conflict.

In the study, they gathered 567 undergraduate students from the ages ranging from 18-35 years old. The first question they asked was “Are you in a relationship?” only those who answered yes could continue on in the survey. This resulted in the number of participants dropping to 373 undergraduate students. The study had consisted of 221 Females (59.2%) and 152 males (40.8%).

After they had conducted their research they found that when romantic partners use social media there is a high tendency to engage in various activities that may lead to conflict in such a relationship. Examples of this are when one partner may become distracted and pay more attention to activities on social media such as chatting, reading news feeds, and commenting on pictures. Another example is if one partner becomes so attached to their social media platforms they may begin to pay little to no attention to their significant others’ emotional, physical, and psychological needs.

The study also established that social media use in romantic relationships might facilitate individuals becoming jealous of their partners’ activity online. Some examples of this would be if your partner would never post you on Instagram for instance you may feel jealous towards this as it is something you would like them to do or maybe you may feel like they are hiding your relationship. Another example would be if you begin to monitor what posts your partner is liking, what accounts he is following, or who he is communicating with online. This can lead to jealousy, which then brings conflict into the relationship.

For infidelity, the study has shown that social media is not necessarily a predictor of it in romantic relationships. Even though partners may interact with others online it doesn’t mean it is considered infidelity.

Overall, the study shows that jealousy is the highest cause of social media leading to conflict in a romantic relationship. It also shows that when romantic partners monitor the activities of their partner on social media, we can predict that there will be conflict.

In my own past relationship, I was very open with my significant other. There were times that I was asked by him to block people online because of how they interacted with me or he did not feel comfortable knowing they could reach out to me. This made me upset due to the fact that I felt he didn’t trust me when I was very open with everything on my social media.

When getting into a relationship there should be boundaries placed or there should be a very good lane of communication open. This could potentially help in the future to avoid any conflict that may arise. But also put the phone down sometimes, when you become so consumed you can eventually begin to start ignoring your partner’s needs. Social media has a hold on all of us, but we need to make sure that it is not affecting our relationships, especially our romantic relationships.