Are Facebook and Texting Changing College Relationships?
This is accurate for about 90% of the relationships I see on Facebook.
You see a couple–cute, attractive and madly in love. Then jealousy and frustration start knocking on the front door, trying to remind you that your current status is single.
Flash forward a couple of months, or even more, you still see the couple together in more pictures. You start to feel a little helpless that you have been so caught up with work and school to find someone for you.
Then the seemingly inevitable happens.
You notice one or the other post a status saying they want to go out and party, or any of the clear Facebook ‘recently single’ indicators.
The cute couple you loved to hate has now broken up and you are happy that they are single and a little sad too. Maybe you lost hope that it could actually work out for you in the future.
The truth is, you can find someone, and it will work out. The bad news is we are all playing in a completely different ball park with new rules that didn’t exist a few years ago. Facebook has overhauled the social experience and along with it has changed the dynamics of relationships.
The relationship dynamics have changed before, you just have to adapt. The fact that you married someone out of love really isn’t that old of a concept. Giving the daughter to another man used to be almost a business deal, where then he would provide the bride’s father with money and security for the rest of their lives. Those traditions are even still practiced in countries like China and India. So be thankful you aren’t just part of your dad’s business deal.
But you are part of this technology driven relationship shift. So how will this change the way we date?
You now have ways to cheat and flirt that are one poke away. Easily flirting with others increases tension, doubt, jealousy, in relationships where one person thinks they have a promiscuous partner.
We no longer deal with just avoiding the possible partner who might flirt with anyone they meet in a bar. We now have to worry and almost test the person we are interested in from the beginning to see whether they are a tech/text whore or not. Now if you find someone who is constantly getting text you have to wonder if that is something that would bother you or not. Some people don’t mind, and others really care if they are hanging out with someone they like and they get text from new guys or new girls every time you see them.
It seems like cheating is only one text away, and the fact that you are not in person or physically talking to those who you might cheat with, won’t feel as wrong. Maybe they will think, “It’s only one little flirty text, not like I’m there in person” or, “It’s just a Facebook message/poke”. But we all know– one thing leads to another and if you find yourself creeping over the line closer to a full blown cheat-fest.
So how do you deal with the changing times?
Well, there is obviously no one size fits all solution, but there are ways you can protect the relationship dynamics that will greatly increase your chances to avoid these situations.
1. First, you have to be in a relationship with someone who isn’t prone to the kind of behavior you don’t like (what a concept). If you are consistently falling for the type of person who cheats, you probably need to take a step back and look at the kind of people you’re going for. Make sure you go for a guy or girl who is actually trusting and doesn’t have the social butterfly persona or long list of ex girlfriends/boyfriends. Maybe you should think about the way you met and ask yourself if it was the right way to meet someone you would want to be with. If you met the person in a party while they were dating someone else, then don’t be surprised if they are in a party while you’re together and it happens again, only this time you’re the person who isn’t in on the secret. Be smart and stick to your check list.
2. Create an understanding of what you expect from each other. It is simple, if you are starting to move past the talking stage of a relationship and see yourselves getting more serious, you need to have a talk about what you want in a relationship. You need to listen to what they expect too, it’s not only about you. Make sure you time this right. You don’t want to be making some ground rules when you barely started to talk.
3. Look for red flags. If you find a trait or something they do or have done as a deal breaker when you’re getting to know them, then you need to cut the cord. People do not change. Especially don’t at the stubborn age of college. The sooner you understand that the sooner you can abandon ship before it sinks.
4. Be ready to commit. Do not jump into a relationship because you are lonely. Finding someone to fill an empty gap is completely different than finding someone who you are compatible with. You will find someone much more suitable for you when you start to look with a clear mind that isn’t desperate or fogged with hope.
College is a time when you need to focus on yourself and your future. Being in a relationship with the wrong person can seriously damage your chances of accomplishing important things that can help your career. Relationships are a lot of volatility you can’t control. Being very involved and doing well in school will set you up with a job that may not be in the same state where you went to college, going to study abroad will help you see the world, and having a relationship with someone who might move far away for their dream job is an awful situation you can avoid. You might feel like you are the most mature and responsible person, and I’m sure you felt like that three years ago, but you are still changing and maturing.
There is a time and place to be in a healthy relationship and jumping into one now with so much at stake and all the technology that influences college relationships can be risky. Make sure you think twice before jumping so you don’t fall, on your face.
Thanks for catching that.