Relationship experts applaud Facebook 'couples' pages
A Facebook 'couples' page is shown in this publicity photo.
Published Sunday, November 18, 2012 8:00AM EST
Some say it’s cute, others describe it as cringe-worthy: Facebook pages for couples.
The Facebook ‘us’ page is one of the newest features launched by the social media giant, and if you believe the online reaction, it may be the most nauseating one.
“Facebook launches ‘Couples’ pages. In related news, I just threw up all over my desk,” wrote one Twitter user.
The new feature automatically combines tagged photos of the couple, along with wall posts between the two, shared events and mutual friends to create a virtual relationship scrapbook.
While the development isn’t entirely new -- Facebook friendship pages were launched in 2010 and display posts that you and a friend have in common -- the company announced a new URL that navigates to the couple’s page, facebook.com/us, last week.
What has irked some Facebook users is the stealth-like fashion the new feature was released. The joint pages were automatically developed, linking the user with whomever they’ve listed in their relationship status.
“Is there an opt out option?!,” wrote one CTVNews.ca reader when asked about the ‘us’ page. “I prefer to be an individual on Facebook and not ‘share’ a space. If I wanted to share I would have already set up a Facebook with my spouse like some of my friends have done.”
However, others said the new feature has a silver lining.
“The only redeeming quality here is that maybe it will be the end to all those annoying couples who have joint Facebook accounts with their names jammed in together in spaces intended for a single first name, etc.,” wrote another reader.
Alberta-based relationship expert and author Debra Macleod told CTVNews.ca that she applauds the development of the ‘us’ page, as many relationship issues she guides couples through begin online.
“I think people need to be more defensive and be more public in the fact that they’re with somebody,” she said during a phone interview.
Macleod said when she works with couples dealing with infidelity, nine times out of 10 the problems start, in part, because of Facebook.
“Facebook is massively problematic in the sense that all relationships have ups and downs and when it’s going through a down it’s too easy to have that temptation,” she said. “It’s at your fingertips -- that old flame or that co-worker that’s just a little too supportive.”
Rather than be embarrassed about the cutesy photos and messages, Macleod said it’s important for couples to be more public about the fact they’re in love.
“I don’t see it as you’re compromising your individuality,” she said. “I just think your individuality and personality and uniqueness is made from more substantial stuff than you’re status on Facebook.”
Toronto-based relationship guru Jen Kirsch said it’s great for couples to have a virtual space to look back on their relationship.
“I love it,” she said. “I think it’s really sweet to look back and have all these memories provided for you.”
Kirsch warned, however, that ‘us’ pages have the potential to cause problems in relationships rather than bring couples closer together.
“Often when there are insecurities in relationships and trust issues, so many fights lead back to Facebook,” she said. “When people are insecure in their relationship, they want to feel like their partner is showing them off. I could see this causing problems, say if someone doesn’t want to be listed any more in a relationship because of these ‘us’ pages.”
In terms of every Facebook moment between you and your significant other correlated in one place for the world to see, Kirsch said it’s likely that the majority of your friends couldn’t be bothered to give it a second glance.
“Unfortunately, no one is as happy about your relationship as you are,” she said.
Macleod added that there’s nothing wrong with being in love and wanting to project that love online.
“This is nothing new,” she said. “People who are in love have always been a little nauseating to people who aren’t.”