Courting Disaster is Jackalope Ranch's weekly column of dating horror stories, observations, how-tos, and more by Katie Johnson. Names of ex-boyfriends, past hookups, and bad blind dates have been changed to protect the guilty.
To all the happy couples on Facebook who have polluted my news feed with one-month anniversary celebrations, public love letters, and other cheesy proclamations of your undying obsession with each other, this post is for you.
Actually it's more for the people who can't stand you. But still, I think it's worth a read for all involved parties. Since my threats to unfriend you on social media have done nothing to diminish the amount of emoji hearts and "I love you to the moon and back" memes, I'm hoping that a new study published in the academic journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin will at least persuade you to tone it down.
The study, entitled Can You Tell That I'm in a Relationship? Attachment and Relationship Visibility on Facebook, was conducted by a group of researchers and led by Lydia Emery, a doctoral student as Northwestern University. As the title explains, Emery and her team were interested to see how accurately couples' depictions on Facebook correlated with the actual well-being of their relationship.
Researchers surveyed 108 straight couples for the study, asking each partner to keep a daily log of their thoughts and feelings regarding their relationship for two straight weeks. During that time, Emery and her group monitored each person's activity on Facebook, keeping track of wall posts, photo uploads, status updates, and comments made during that same time period.
As it turned out, the people who were feeling most the insecure or anxious about their relationship with their partner were the sames ones who posted most often. "On a daily basis, when people felt more insecure about their partner's feelings, they tended to make their relationships visible," reads the study in its July 2014 publication.
That being said, the study also noted that "avoidant individuals showed low desire for relationship visibility." So the rule of "no news is good news" doesn't exactly apply here. In other words, there's a fine balance between alerting everyone on social media each time your partner has a healthy bowel movement and not bothering to changed you Facebook status from "single" to "in a relationship."
Side note: Does anyone even still use "it's complicated?"
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So the next time you feel like crying at the idea that everyone you know on Facebook has found their soul mate except you, just remember that the grass is always greener on the other side of the virtual fence.
If that doesn't work, just unfriend them. Seriously, do it.