Your Love Life and Facebook are in a Relationship and It’s Complicated
By Devin Miller
Remember the days when people found out you were dating someone by seeing you kiss
outside of class or hearing about it through the gossip grapevine? Thanks to society’s networking
powerhouse, Facebook, the beginnings and endings of our relationships are broadcast to the
public with a simple click of the mouse.
Relationship therapists and coaches Lori and Bob Hollander, from Relationships Work,
have shared their expert advice on numerous radio and television news shows. When it comes to
social networking and dating, the couple agrees “it’s a different world.”
With a quick glance at a Facebook profile page, one can learn an immense amount of
information about a potential date. Lori Hollander believes the window into one’s life is a benefit
of social networking. “You can find out a lot of information about people, where in the
traditional days we knew nothing about them,” she said. “You can get a better sense of who the
person is, what kind of friends they have, and what they’re interested in.”
Bob Hollander agrees, but also mentions that this could create a “false sense of security;”
a preconceived notion about a person that could end up being completely wrong.
According to TIME magazine, 60 percent of Facebook users are listed as “single” or
“married.” Of those that are single, there is often pressure to create a profile that attracts others
looking for a relationship. “There might be anxiety to look a certain way, and then there is a lot
of anxiety to fully accept the way you are presented,” Bob Hollander said.
So now you have committed to a relationship, eagerly changing your status from “single”
to “in a relationship.” You have escaped the possible pitfalls of social networking, right? The
Hollanders do not believe so. The relationship experts urge Facebook users not to rely on the site
as a main method of communication.
The couple stresses the importance of face-to-face communication. “You lose so many
dimensions (on Facebook)…when you take away the body language, the eye contact, and the
voice, you are bound to miscommunicate,” Lori Hollander said.
Bob Hollander added that there are about 300 muscles in the face, and all of those
possible expressions are lost via the web. From reading something online, people attach their
own emotions to the text. “They can project those feelings onto the other person, and then make
the words that they’re receiving consistent with their idea about the person,” he said.
From listening to clients’ stories, the Hollanders believe social networking sites can be a
“huge cause” of cheating and affairs. Lori Hollander explains how an innocent conversation with
an ex can turn into an emotional re-connection. She says one should be hesitant when “friending”
ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends. “You’re setting yourself up; it’s like you want to lose weight and
you decide to work in a candy shop. It just doesn’t work,” she added.
Although the Hollanders find several negative effects of social networking on dating, they
believe that if used correctly and for the right reasons, sites like Facebook can be beneficial. “It
has a lot to do with the person,” Bob Hollander explained. They both agree that Facebook is a
useful way to put yourself “out there.”
It may be safe to say our generation has witnessed the extinction of the blind date.
Facebook has altered the dating landscape, giving us the opportunity to discover endless
information about a person without even exchanging a single word. Today, we do not think twice
or raise an eyebrow to the question, “Have you stalked him yet?”