In keeping with the Halloween spirit, hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s some sorta creepy news: Facebook might be able to figure out who youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re in a relationship withÃ¢â‚¬”and how likely you are to break up.
A new research paper completed by researchers at Facebook and Cornell University looked at 1.3 million Facebook profiles to see if itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s possible to determine a personÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s S.O. just by checking out his or her network structure. What they found: Something called Ã¢â‚¬Å“dispersionÃ¢â‚¬Â is a pretty accurate indicator (the researchers only looked at people who listed spouses or relationship partners and so were able to confirm).
Basically, dispersion is when your partner is mutual friends with people in many of your different friend groups. For example, your partner might be friends with a few of your coworkers, a handful of your relatives, and some of your college friends. Your college friends, on the other hand, are probably mutual friends with way more college friends, but with hardly any people from other clusters.
Another finding: The people for whom the researchers couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t successfully identify partners based on the dispersion method were significantly more likely to change their relationship status to Ã¢â‚¬Å“singleÃ¢â‚¬Â over a 60-day period. Yikes.
What This Really Means for You
OK, hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the thing: The point of this research wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t to give Facebook users relationship advice. According to The New York TimesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Ã¢â‚¬Å“BitsÃ¢â‚¬Â blog, Ã¢â‚¬Å“For Facebook, the research is part of its automated efforts to look more closely at the relationships among its users to tailor content and ads.Ã¢â‚¬Â
And hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s another thing: This isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t real life, so your Facebook friends and your partnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Facebook friends (and your relationship status, for that matter), arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t necessarily representative of what your non-digital relationship actually looks like.
All that being said, it is important for your partner to get to know all of the people in your life who make you you. If you and your partner are living in a vacuum and not socializing, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no good.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Relationships have to go somewhereÃ¢â‚¬”they canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stay in romantic restaurants and bedrooms forever,Ã¢â‚¬Â says relationship expert Wendy Walsh, Ph.D., author of The 30-Day Love Detox. Ã¢â‚¬Å“If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re staying in this romantic bubble and never test-driving the relationship out in the real world, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to be in for a big surprise when you get out there.Ã¢â‚¬Â
More from Women's Health:
Don't Let Social Media Wreck Your Relationship
Are You Guilty of Oversharing?
Is Facebook Ruining Your Sex Life?