SHOULD married couples be “friends” on Facebook?
Despite various reports linking the frequent use of Facebook and conflicts in romantic relationships/marriages, a majority (71%) of The Star Online poll respondents agreed that married couples should be friends on social media.
The remaining 29% of the 916 respondents said married couples should not be Facebook friends.
Respondents also had plenty to say in the specially provided comment space.
The tone of comments ranged from rational, funny (“My wife forced me” and “cutting off half of humanity is too high a price to pay to keep your spouse”), to defensive or even outright convoluted and cryptic, such as this: “No secrets between spouses as far as possible. If you are dumb enough to reveal a real sensitive secret on Facebook, then you deserve whatever you get as a result of that.”
In a news release by University of Missouri last year, doctoral student Russell Clayton and his colleagues conducted a study and found that “individuals who use Facebook excessively are far more likely to experience Facebook–related conflict with their romantic partners, which then may cause negative relationship outcomes including emotional and physical cheating, breakup and divorce”.
In 2009, divorce lawyers in the United Kingdom stated in The Telegraph that “the explosion in the popularity of social media is tempting people to cheat on their partners.
Suspicious spouses have also used the websites to find evidence of flirting and even affairs, which have led to divorce.”
Other comments in the poll included:
“Why shouldn’t they? If they aren’t, this shows that they might have something to hide from each other and this wouldn’t bode well in a sustainable marriage.”
“They can monitor each other.”
“It’s fine... provided they know their boundaries”.
Housewife Lina Azman (not her real name) said although she was not an active Facebook user, she and her husband are not friends on Facebook. The reason? Personal space.
“It does not matter if they want to be friends or not on Facebook, but don’t be silly enough to share intimacies. That’s private,” said another respondent.
Some comments were deep, like this − “Subconsciously the deepest treachery and desire may be festered due to a fair degree of impunity offered by online flirting as compared to real-life encounters, where ethics and social judgment still play a significant role in bounding impropriety.”
Others were rather bizarrely funny, like these:
“It’s plain immoral.”
“No, unless they are Kim Kardashian.”
“They’re married, not friends.”
Many felt it was important to “declare the marriage” for reasons such as these:
“Because you can reveal that you’re married. At least it can minimise the risk of some people’s intention on trying to flirt with you or your significant other.”
“Yes, to check if your spouse is particularly close/interested in another person.”
Respondents who answered “no” had this to say:
“I see my husband every day at home, so it is not compulsory.”
“Give each other some space, there’s no necessity to be inclusive of each other all the time.”
“Married couples have ample opportunities to exchange views and interact actively. Why should Facebook be another inconvenience intruding into their private time?”
“Being friends on Facebook is not a true relationship. Why do we need Facebook to interact when you are together? Communicating face to face is more sincere and honest.”
“No, because all they do is be all lovey-dovey which is unwanted on a social platform.”
To a question if they thought being friends on Facebook could create marital problems, 57% said “no”, while 43% said “yes”.
“It can be if the person is a stalker and is relentless in trying to hook up with a person who is already married, or he/she could cause misunderstanding by posting inappropriate comments.”
“If not being considerate and using wrong words to express themselves e.g. ‘Oh God, my wife doesn’t know how to do housework. Regret marrying her!’ The outcome is sleeping in the living room forever.”