We’ve all heard stories about Facebook being responsible for a formerly happy couple’s break-up. A passive-aggressive status update like, “I sure wish someone would stop being so paranoid and checking up on me every minute ….” or a comment left by the wrong Facebook friend (like a flirty coworker) can be all it takes to cast doubt on a seemingly solid relationship. By many accounts, social media does couples more harm than good. Just check the study conducted last year by Divorce-Online which claims Facebook is currently being cited in one-third of all divorce filings.

But even if more is known about FB and Twitter breaking people up, a new report indicates that social media can also be a positive catalyst for strengthening couples’ bonds. According to tech blogger and researcher Alexandra Samuel, social media is a great way for couples to connect and encourage each other during their hectic workdays. She and her husband of 12 years, Rob Cottingham, tweet so regularly that they’ve established a website that tracks their conversations, an endeavor that’s earned them many hopeless romantic followers.

Work and personal obligations often force couples to spend more time apart than together. It stands to reason that any method for increasing communication could be used to their advantage — with some pre-established ground rules, of course. In a recent Mashable interview, Alexandra and Rob discussed what is and is not acceptable to share online:

For the couple, social media came naturally with equal interest. With other twosomes, one person could be more active on social media, Samuel says. If social media preferences are off-balance, then couples will need to have a talk to lay out guidelines.

“You have to sit down and have a conversation about what you feel is private and what you feel like is enough attention when you’re together,” Samuel says. “What things about the relationship are OK to post and what hours it’s OK to be online.”

The duo has learned from experience to follow some guidelines. One rule prevents over-sharing. “Our policy is I wouldn’t tweet something he said or vice versa without asking,” Samuel says.

Even if a couple decides to try using social media to its advantage, most relationship and social media experts warn the practice is not for new couples. The best way to get to know about someone you’ve just started dating remains in-person interaction, rather than FB wall or Twitter feed-reading.

Have you ever used social media to find out how your significant other’s day was going or to send positive or romantic notes throughout the day? Do you find that engaging with one another on social media brings you closer or drives you apart?

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