People who have lower level of commitment to their current romantic partner tend to add new and prospective future partners to their friends list in Facebook. This is according to findings of a research that was published in the Computers in Human Behavior journal.
The lead author of the study, Michelle Droulin, said that most Facebook users today use the social networking site and other social media portals to establish romantic connections with others who they think they can possibly have romantic relationships with in the future. She pointed out that most people do so even if they are already committed romantically.
For the study, researchers gathered college students as respondents. Of those, 39 were men and 109 were women. All of them were undergraduates and have existing Facebook accounts.
The research focused on three things. First, it looked at how Facebook users send and accept friend requests from others who could possibly be their future romantic interests. Second, the respondents’ level of jealousy was measured through a 27-item survey questionnaire. And lastly, the participants’ level of commitment to their present mates was scaled.
Findings showed that connections with possible romantic partners created while in a relationship could be linked to lower level of commitment to a present relationship. Thus, respondents who tended to be less committed to their romantic partners were more likely to initiate and accept Facebook friend requests with others who they think could be possible romantic interests in the future.
However, adding old flames to one’s friends list even during a current relationship is unrelated to one’s level of commitment to a present partner. This may indicate that romantic partners should not worry about their current boyfriends or girlfriends who add past flames to their friends list at Facebook.
Furthermore, the author of the research also reiterated that the findings of this study may not possibly be applied to older adults, who logically use the social media less. Droulin plans to extend this research to find out how interactions at Facebook could relate to real physical and emotional infidelities.
A separate past research from another team has found that up to a third of divorces in the most recent years could be blamed to Facebook. Some relationship experts also assert that many modern-day breakups also arise from the use of the social media.