What Facebook Can Tell You About Your Relationship

For many couples, Facebook relationship statuses aren't that important, but it turns out, the social network might be able to use those labels to predict how long relationships will last. In a new video, OKCupid cofounder Christian Rudder explains that it has more to do with the friends couples have in common than the labels themselves. Rudder, the man behind the (incredibly fascinating) online dating statistics blog OKTrends and author of Dataclysm, looked at the people listed as "In A Relationship" on Facebook and tracked their romance over time. He found that it was the "shape" of friend networks that mattered. If a couple's mutual friends resembled a web, in which social groups overlapped and they had a lot of friends in common, they had shorter relationships. In fact, couples with lots of mutual friends were about 50% more likely to break up. The shape that suggested couples would have a longer-lasting relationship looked more like wheels, or, as Rudder calls it, a "hub-and-spoke model." Here, a couple's groups of friends remained almost completely separate from one another. Couples who fit this shape were, naturally, 50% less likely to break up. This is not to say you shouldn't introduce your friends to your S.O.'s friends. There are so many factors that contribute to relationship length, so it's unlikely that your romance hinges on your Facebook friends. Just consider this one more way Facebook reflects more about our lives than we'd (probably) like to think.

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