A study done at a university in Canada found that Facebook might be contributing to feelings of jealousy, specifically towards your significant other. Facebook might be fueling that little green-eyed monster in your head as you scroll through your partners’ Facebook page. Maybe it’s because our Facebook is still littered with our past loves. A whopping 74 percent of those surveyed said they were likely to add exes as Facebook friends and 78.9 percent said that their current partner had previous partners as Facebook friends. No surprise that keeping the past virtually around may make your current lover jealous. What is surprising is that people who tended to be the most jealous, were simply those who spent the most time on Facebook.
In the past we weren’t aware of the looks our partners were receiving from others or how often they were conversing with an ex, unless they chose to tell us. Today it’s all over their Facebook wall, when you go to your girlfriend or boyfriend’s Facebook page and view their updates, who “likes” or “comments” on the post. This could be adding to a sense of jealousy and could even lead to the mistrust of your partner.
The study asked 308 undergraduate students in committed relationships to fill out an online survey to assess the relationship between Facebook use and jealousy felt when looking at their partner’s Facebook page. The students spent an average of 40 minutes a day on the site. The study found women not only tended to be online longer, but also report higher levels of jealousy.
There are limitations to the study. It is difficult to pinpoint whether more time spent online gives scope to jealousy or if jealousy triggers a person to spend more time probing for details online.
These strong feelings of jealousy may be related to the feedback loop that Facebook provides, one that didn’t previously exist. Because the information people are receiving about their partner is ambiguous, this may cause an increase in checking, rechecking and triple checking your partner’s wall, thus increasing Facebook use and jealousy in a cyclical fashion.
If you find yourself Facebook stalking your partner, maybe lessen the time you are spending on Facebook. Or, if you really are concerned about your relationship, talk about it; face-to-face interaction is the best way to solve a problem.