Metrolife: Wake up, Facebook junkies, before it ruins relationships

Social media sites can affect relationship dynamics, counsellors warn.

Facebook addiction is reportedly the reason for the suicide of a couple in Bengaluru on Monday.

Psychologists see a rise in cases of social media affecting relationships, and leading to extreme distress.

“If you are spending more than eight hours on social media platforms, you are addicted and must come out of it,” says Rajashekhar Hiremath, psychologist, Anunitha Deaddiction Centre.

Facebook addiction is widespread and leads to anxiety, restlessness and depression. Treating it may call for cognitive behaviour therapy, he says.

In recent months, more people are seeking help for social media deaddiction than for alcohol and smoking deaddiction. Online gaming and betting are other common behavioural addictions.

“People go too far trying to see what their spouses are up to on social media. They go into details of who is liking their posts and pictures, how many friends they have, and who are they befriending,” he says. This can bring previous relationships to light and trigger doubts and bitter arguments.

FB wrecks marriages?

Yes, definitely, says Neha Cadabam, consultant psychologist, Cadabams Hospitals.

“In fact, social media has changed the dynamics of all relationships. I find couple fighting after comparing themselves with other couples on Facebook. We call it PDA comparison,” she says.

But public display of affection, abbreviated to PDA, doesn’t always mean true love. “Couples on the verge of divorce post pictures saying they are deeply in love. This shows that Facebook does not always reflect the real picture,” she says.

Most of the time, people are not aware of the impact Facebook can have on their relationships.

They go to counsellors for help with marital and relationship problems and then discover social media addiction is at the root of the problem.

“Intimacy in a relationship also gets affected because of the use of mobile phones in bed. A blame-game goes around and harms the relationship,” says Neha.

It is important to be able to switch off from social media. If possible, remove Facebook from your phones and use it only when you are at a desktop. You can also decide on a specific hour for social media, Neha says.

A suggestion experts make: “Understand what is real and what is just an appearance, and find meaning in the moment.”

Common problems
- Spending excessively long hours on Facebook
- Relationship envy: ‘They are happier than we are’
- Living a virtual life and neglecting people in your life

Deal with it  
- Consider deleting Facebook app from phone
- Don’t believe everything you see on social media
- Talk to your loved ones; avoid snooping on Facebook

Tragic: Before suicide, Bengaluru couple fought over her Facebook obsession
A couple hanged themselves in Bengaluru on Monday after a quarrel over the wife’s addiction to Facebook. Anup V and Soumya, who lived in Bagalgunte near Peenya, are survived by their three-year-old son Hardik.
Neighbours and relatives told reporters Soumya had neglected her husband and son, spending long hours on Facebook. The couple fought on Sunday night over her addiction and went to sleep. When she woke up in the morning she found herself locked in her room. 
Soumya contacted her elder brother Ravichandra, who lives in Somwarpet in Kodagu, to help her out of the room. He arrived in Bengaluru. After repeated knocks, when neither Soumya nor Anup opened the door, he alerted the neighbours and broke open the door, only to find the couple hanging in separate rooms.

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Metrolife: Wake up, Facebook junkies, before it ruins relationships

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