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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Social media helps couples plug into their relationships

    Two hundred and forty miles might be quite a distance for some, but for high school sweethearts Jaclynn Chen and Chris Carton, it might as well be nothing at all.

    “It has been almost three years,” Jaclynn, 21, said. “At first it was harder, but now I can manage.”

    Jaclynn and Carton, students of Stony Brook University and Binghamton University, respectively, are only one pair among many who will spend this Valentine’s Day with their significant others over the internet. Partners of  long-distance relationships, those whose significant others live a county, a state or even a country away, have turned to using Skype and Facebook to keep contact with their loved ones. But just how effective is social media for keeping the distance problem easier?

    Anna Chen, a sophomore history major, said texting and chatting on the webcam made her long -distance relationship easier to bear.

    “You can’t always meet the other person, but Skype is free messaging and calling,” Anna said. “It makes it [our relationship] easier.”

    Anna, a resident of East Setauket, said she meets her boyfriend, Evan McArthur once a month. For the days they do not see each other, Anna and McArthur would call, text or use Meebo, an instant messaging program like AOL Instant Messenger to chat. “Social media definitely helps you to know what they’re up to,”  Chen said. “Kinda like stalking, but not. Just spying.”

    Facebook stalking, however, was not so funny for Jaclynn, who is a double major in biology and women’s studies. She had almost deactivated her Facebook account because of the comments she had see on Carton’s profile page.

    Neither was it a light topic for Tiffany Lay, a biology major. Facebook, she said, had been more of a curse than a blessing on her “first and only” long-distance relationship of two and a half years.

    “Facebook was a problem in our relationship,” Lay said. “His exes and other female friends would post inappropriate things on his wall, and he wouldn’t tell them to stop. And if I brought it up, he’d just tell me that I was being stupid. ‘They don’t mean it,’ he’d say.”

    Eventually, the lying and the distance that perpetuated it caused them to break up, she said.

    But what really determines the success of social media on a long-distance relationship, according to Jaclynn, is trust.   “You’re just gonna have to learn to trust them, that you love them enough to trust them,” Jaclynn said. “You have to learn to trust each other mostly, and not let those little comments bother you. [Carton] has no problem explaining things if things seem odd [on Facebook].”

    “It’s worth it,” she said. “If you have someone, those little things won’t really bother you that much.”

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