Social media has streamlined online communications with ‘strangers cum friends’ leading to social media addiction. Interactions with some online friends may be purely platonic. However, the absence of non-verbal cues due to the lack of physical presence may cause some online interactions to become aggressively intimate.
In the real world interactions, most people focus on their appearance and make an effort to look personable before the meeting. Some people may not be motivated enough to put in the extra work required to look nice in a face to face meeting. Therefore, they may excuse themselves from meeting in person. In the age of social media, people do not have to worry about their appearance and are more likely to hop on the internet to communicate with anyone anytime. In the real world, people do not meet up as frequently as they do on social media. The availability of internet at all times promotes excessive social media use, which threatens romantic relationship. Excessive social media use threatens romantic relationships due to jealousy, envy, suspicion, surveillance, and infidelity.
Social media addiction is increasingly becoming a problem of the current times. Some social media users frequently invest time and emotional resources with romantic alternatives. These displaced time and emotional investments threaten the primary romantic relationship by lowering relationship commitment.
Recent research showed that age is an important factor related to social media addiction and may determine if a partner will have social media addiction or not. More specifically, younger partners are more prone to social media addiction than older partners. Younger partners also report having a greater number of social media accounts.
Irrespective of age, social media addiction is associated with low relationship commitment. This could be because commitment increases when investments are made within the primary relationship and lowers when the investments are displaced with alternatives partners.
For Further Reading:
Abbasi, I. S. (2018a). Social media and committed relationships: What factors make our romantic relationship vulnerable? Social Science Computer Review, 37(3), 425–434. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0894439318770609
Irum S. Abbasi is an independent post-doctoral researcher currently examining social media behaviors and attitudes towards password sharing in romantic relationships.