Does Facebook Hurt Your Relationship?

On my Fan Page on Facebook, I have over 21,000 fans. I don't know how it happened.

I wrote a book for couples called "Getting the Sex You Want." The book is really about increasing the connection in relationships for couples and anyone wanting more intimacy, but it seems like everyone on Facebook likes to look up the word "sex" and they all hit the "Like" button when they find my "Getting the Sex You Want" Fan Page.

Apparently these Fans of mine are on Facebook all the time. They appear to be sitting there at their computers waiting for me to write something on the site because they are always ready, jumping on within seconds of my comments to offer their feedback. When I post a question on the page I get an immediate response and people from all over the world write in their opinions. Some are clearly looking for a community and want to connect to others on the site. Some responders want to create ongoing discussions and talk about their relationships, and some just type "Add Me."

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Today I posted a question, "Does Facebook hurt your relationship?"

Within twenty seconds almost fifty people responded a resounding "YES." All of those "YES" answers were in capital letters. There were no mild lower case "yes" answers. Obviously there was no hesitation. Facebook hurts relationships. These Facebook fans are clear about this. Some even laughed when they typed their answer, in the way that Facebook fans do, with text letters "LOL" and the less polite "LMAO" response. But they all were absolutely convinced that Facebook can hurt a relationship.

One person even confessed that Facebook ended her 7 month partnership. Another claimed he left his wife because of Facebook.

So why are they still on Facebook?

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Maybe being on a social networking site threatens relationships because it creates easy opportunity to meet other people, and quickly develop friendships. This may explain why people stay on Facebook even when it feels dangerous to their marriage or committed partnership. It's fun, quick and it feels like it's only a game. Almost like a video game, in fact, but with real people.

Social networking is usually a solitary sport. It's something you do privately, just you and your computer, and therefore no one has to know. Yet social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn can serve as a vehicle to meet thousands of other people in a very short time, and at the touch of a keystroke you get to call them all "Friend." It is this false sense of connection and the anonymous distance between you and your new "Friends" that actually creates the risk. It may be easier to reveal intimate details about one's life and feelings when there is no physical proximity - and no eye contact.

Facebook may be society's new way to create intimacy in relationships. Cyber-intimacy may actually be the way that relationships develop as we move forward in this new age of digital connections.

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Or maybe people just like going online and visiting sites that talk about sex. Any page on Facebook that has the word "sex" and 20,000 people to talk to at the same time seems to attract a lot of curiosity. Could this hurt your relationship?

Only you can answer this question. Is Facebook hurting your relationship? Maybe you should un-friend some of those strangers you've been talking to online. (Send them a "TTYL" before you block them.)

About the Author: Dr. Tammy Nelson is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of Getting the Sex You Want; Shed Your Inhibitions and Reach New Heights of Passion Together


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