You know the Facebook romantic type? They are always posting selfies with their significant other and have a penchant for writing about their relationship. Some people find it annoying while some find it sweet and wonderfully romantic. For those who find them annoying, they wont anymore, scientist have discovered that the Facebook romantics are actually on to something.
New research published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking found that dating couples who publicly share things about their relationship on Facebook are more committed to each other, experience stronger intimacy and more likely to be together after three years of dating vs. those who don’t.
For the study, researchers tracked 185 college students, 150 thirty-somethings, 100 forty-somethings and found that posting pictures of each other and writing on your significant other’s wall is the best measure of relationship success for newer couples.
This is likely due to something called the public commitment theory, study author Catalina Toma, PhD, an assistant professor of communication science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, tells Yahoo Health.
“It’s the idea that the claims people make about themselves in public are likely to become internalized about what they think about themselves,” she explains. “People bridge that gap, and we become who we claim to be.”
The same holds true for relationships, she says: Having an online audience encourages you to see your love life from the imagined perspective of your Facebook friends. And when the information you present to your friends is “Facebook perfect,” your relationship may seem a little glossier as a result.
Approval from friends is also a factor, Toma says: “Research suggests that the extent to which people tell others about their relationships and gain their approval is correlated with the relationship lasting longer.”
The new study backs up previous research that also found a link between relationship satisfaction and Facebook use. A study published earlier this year in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture found that people who posted about their relationship on Facebook reported feeling more connected to their partner if they posted for the right reasons (i.e. not to make other people feel jealous or to brag).
Mai-Ly Nguyen Steers, PhD, a University of Houston researcher who authored that study, tells Yahoo Health that Facebook has a major impact on relationships because it’s so public. “By posting about your relationship…you are conveying to people that your partner and in turn, your romantic relationship, are important to you,” she says.
There are a few caveats, though. Toma’s study discovered that the more mutual Facebook friends a couple had, the less committed they were and they less likely they were to still be together after six months.
Toma thinks it may be because couples who have larger social networks might feel that they have more dating options and might then be more tempted to see what else is out there.
She also discovered a bizarre double standard: The more a study participant’s partner wrote on their wall, the less solid the couple. Toma isn’t sure why that happens but says posting too much on a partner’s wall could be interpreted as a sign of possessiveness.
While Toma only studied newer couples, she says it’s possible Facebook declarations of love could have an impact on more seasoned relationships as well — just to a lesser degree since long-term relationships have more to go on.
So, if you’re in a new relationship and wants it to last, posting about the relationship on Facebook will greatly improve those chances.