Natasha Murashev is the author of Psychworld.com, a digital magazine focused on applied psychology.
Twenty-five year old UK citizen Camille Mathurasingh never suspected that joining Facebook would be her fatal mistake. Mathurasingh was brutally murdered by her long-distance boyfriend, Paul Bistol, after he saw Facebook pictures of Mathurasingh with her new boyfriend according to BBC News. Although Bistol took his feelings of jealousy to an extreme, feeling jealous because of Facebook is very common among romantically-involved Facebook users. According to a study published in the Journal of Cyberpsychology and Behavior, the more time your romantic partner spends on Facebook, the more jealous he or she will likely become. Here’s how to prevent Facebook jealousy before it happens.
Responding to Facebook Jealousy: A Recipe For Disaster
Imagine that you log onto Facebook, and you see a picture of your partner hugging their ex at a fun party. How would you respond? According to Miller and Perlman’s Intimate Relationships book, men and women respond to jealousy differently.
When confronted with the likelihood that their boyfriend may be attracted to another woman, women tend to work to improve the relationship by making themselves more attractive than their rival while showing indifference. As a result, women are more likely than men to try to get their partner jealous in order to test how much the partner cares about the relationship. In other words, women expect men to react to jealousy in the same way that women do.
When confronted with a jealousy-invoking scenario, however, men strive to protect their ego by possibly confronting their rival and then considering ending the relationship to pursue other women. For women the point is clear: find other ways to test your relationship rather than making your boyfriend jealous through Facebook. Inducing jealousy in your man will only drive him away from you. Men, when a woman is trying to make you jealous, instead of running away, consider questioning why that is the case and work to improve your relationship.
5 Steps To Prevent Facebook Jealousy
Although your partner may not mention it to you, he or she has looked at every part of your Facebook profile and is monitoring all of your stories in his or her News Feed every day. So to prevent any confusing and potentially relationship-ending situations, do your relationship a favor, and follow the following 5 steps to prevent Facebook jealousy in your partner:
1. Unfriend Your Ex
Yes, you both said you will still remain friends after the break-up, but there are ways to be friends outside of Facebook without everybody knowing about it. After all, you just broke up, and seeing pictures of your ex with people of opposite sex will not help you get over the relationship any sooner.
2. Untag Pictures Of You and Your Ex Together
Although the process of untagging all those photos of you and your ex is tedious and possibly even painful, your new potential partner will definitely browse through those photos. Do you really want your new partner feeling insecure from hours of comparing him or herself to your ex?
3. Communicate With Your Partner
If you think your friends may tag you in an inappropriate picture from last night, tell your partner about last night before the picture goes up. That way, your partner will learn to trust you instead of wondering what else you’re trying to hide.
4. Spend More Time With Your Partner
The more time your partner spends away from Facebook, the less jealous he or she will be. Spending more time with your partner, instead of stalking him or her on Facebook, will allow for the two of you get to know your true (instead of cyber) selves. Seriously, your partner probably has new favorite movies and books than what he or she posted on Facebook five years ago – get to know each other’s current interests.
5. Change Your Privacy Settings
Jealousy is genetic. So if your partner gets really jealous all the time, and the two of you fight a lot over what your partner periodically finds in your Facebook profile, consider changing your Facebook privacy settings.
How To Deal With A Jealous Partner
To late to avoid the jealous partner syndrome? Since you cannot prevent jealousy in your partner 100 percent of the time, a constructive way to improve your partner’s feelings is by reminding him or her how awesome they are. According to Miller and Perlman’s Intimate Relationships book, having a high self-esteem – knowing that you are a worthwhile and valuable individual – helps keep jealousy at manageable levels.
Although it may be hard to deal with a jealous partner, how would you feel if your partner didn’t get jealous no matter what you did? Yet, although it makes us feel better about ourselves when our partner gets a little jealous, jealousy can have unpleasant consequences, such as in the case of Camille Mathurasingh and Paul Bistol.
How have you dealt with Facebook jealousy? Do you know anybody who’s relationship has been damaged by Facebook?