As it turns out, Facebook knows a lot of things about its users’ romantic lives. It knows when they’re falling in love, and it knows when they’re falling out of love. But what it sees in between may have a lot to do with the self-esteem of the individuals doing the falling: New research from Albright College found that people whose confidence is more closely tied to the strength of their romantic relationship—or those with higher levels of relationship-contingent self-esteem, in psych-speak—are more likely to use the social networking site to broadcast their happiness.
Logically, it makes sense that relationship-contingent self-esteem, or RCSE, which has previously been linked to lower overall self-esteem and higher social anxiety, could lead someone to seek validation by systematically “liking” each of their partner’s status updates or insisting on making things Facebook official.
Notably, although Seidman’s previous research found that individuals who overdo it with personal information on Facebook just want to belong, the same pattern didn’t apply to couples in this newest study. Relationship-contingent self-esteem didn’t necessarily mean the relationship itself was lacking; in fact, the same people who posted couple-y items more frequently also tended to be more satisfied with their partners than those who did not.