Do online marriage portrayals distort the institution’s reality?

Is marriage being distorted by Facebook?

Today’s blog post focuses on that very question, given that most people reportedly seek to portray their married lives in an upbeat, positive way, even if that reality is, well, not real.

A recent article visiting the topic of Facebook and its effects on how marriage is commonly portrayed online notes that the “average” American has quite a love affair — if not an outright fixation — on Facebook.

Spending a reported 4.5 hours a week on the social networking site would seem to readily confirm the view that there is a lot of personal engagement with the forum and with sharing many of life’s personal details and moments.

Just for fun, consider that above cited weekly number juxtaposed over a one-year period. What it equates to is this: That average Facebook participant is interacting online with Facebook every hour of the day for nearly 10 calendar days each year.

And, of course, most people share details concerning their personal lives. The gist of the above-cited source article is that, while most people feel it is OK to complain about things deemed primarily external to their lives (jobs, pets, other people), they tend to draw the line at marriage.

That is because it most centrally involves them, with one commentator noting that “any hint of weakness, insecurity or conflict isn’t good for our [that is, Facebook users] personal brand.”

Does the so-called “fairy-tale marketing of marriage” noted by one Facebook participant skew the true reality that, while some couples do indeed seem to qualify for a perpetual white-light portrayal, others are struggling in bad relationships most likely headed for divorce?

It is an interesting question and one that reasonably comes to mind when the portrayal of couples’ marital relationships online is closely examined.

“Maybe if more people were honest about their marital problems on Facebook, it would start a trend,” says one national divorce writer and editor.

If that trend begins to materialize, it will be well noted. After all, that aforementioned “average” American will literally be staring it right in the face online for several hours each week.

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