Sex Relationships

5 ways social media can ruin your relationship

When it comes to romance, it's best to leave your smartphone in your pocket.

Technology can be a wonderful way of meeting new people, but its impact on our romantic relationships is far from straightforward.

Social platforms and the digital devices that engender them can drive a wedge between couples, triggering conflict and shattering intimacy.

This is as true for people who have just met - or those indulging in a one-night stand - as it is for marriages and long-term commitments.

Here's five reasons why excessive social media can run riot on your love life, creating arguments and ruining sex.

1. Digital devices act as a barrier to intimacy

It's important to recognise that phones, laptops, TVs and tablets are all detrimental in the way that they isolate you from your loved one - both emotionally and physically.

A staggering one in 10 people admit to looking at their phone during sex, according to one study.

"Your devices are an enemy of your relationship," warns therapist Zach Brittle in the Washington Post.

"Decide on times when you’ll put the phones out of sight — at meals for instance, or when enjoying time together outside. Gently signal each other when those rules are being violated — or any time you feel you need your partner’s undivided attention.

"And consider a no-devices-in-the-bed rule, even if you have to get out of bed to answer your smartphone."

2. The presence of a phone can make a date more awkward

The mere existence of your mobile on a date can make things more stilted, according to 2013 experiment by University of Essex researchers.

Psychologist Andrew Przybylski and his team paired over 100 students who didn't know each other and asked them to talk together about something meaningful for 10 minutes.

Some couples had a mobile phone lying unobtrusively on a nearby table, while for others this phone was replaced by a blank notebook.

Even when the phone didn't ring or bleep, it still had a negative impact on the conversations being held nearby.

"When people were having an important conversation, relationship quality was lower, and partner trust was lower and empathy was lower when the mobile phone was there," Przybylski told Live Science.

This was despite the fact most couples hadn't noticed the phone in more than an incidental way.

"If you actually turn your phone off — and not make a scene of it, do it in a cool way — it definitely communicates care and compassion, and that the present moment is really important," Przybylski said.

3. Excessive Facebook use is linked to jealousy and cheating

A 2013 study from the University of Missouri found that people who use Facebook excessively are far more likely to experience Facebook-related conflict with their partners, which in turn can trigger cheating, break-ups or divorce.

Researchers quizzed 205 Facebook users aged between 18 and 82. They discovered that those who used Facebook a lot tended to monitor their other half's activity on the platform more stringently, sparking "Facebook-induced jealousy".

They were also more likely to connect with other Facebook users, including old partners, leading to emotional or physical affairs.

This effect was most potent in relationships of three years or less, prompting researchers to say that "cutting back to moderate, healthy levels of Facebook usage could help reduce conflict, particularly for newer couples who are still learning about each other".

4. Social media distracts us from having sex

A landmark poll of 15,000 Brits found social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter may actually be to blame for the fact that modern couples have less sex compared to the 1990s.

Figures obtained by University College London showed that those aged 16-44 were having sex fewer than five times a month; compared to more than six times a month that was logged in both 1990-1991 and 1999-2000, when the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles was previously carried out.

"People are worried about their jobs, worried about money. They are not in the mood for sex," said Dr Cath Mercer, leading the study.

"But we also think modern technologies are behind the trend too. People have tablets and smartphones and they are taking them into the bedroom, using Twitter and Facebook, answering emails."

5. Instagram selfies have a negative impact on relationships

The more selfies individuals post on Instagram, the more likely they are to experience conflict or break-ups within their romantic relationships.

That's according to a 2016 study by Florida State University. The research team conducted an online survey of 420 Instagram users aged between 18 and 62.

Those who were more satisfied with their body image were more likely to post selfies. So far, so predictable.

But if these snaps drew a negative reaction on the platform, this sparked "Instagram-related conflict" which then had a detrimental impact on relationships.

In other words, Instagram can make you feel worse about yourself - which will then spill over into arguments with those closest to you.

Via Grazia