They always told me that freedom was all about choice.
Then I got that choice and realized that things weren't so easy.
How is one supposed to choose when one has 300 TV channels or 150 bars or 500 million members of one's target sex on Facebook?
We are not equipped for discernment. We are mere chemicals trying to get through the day.
Now, the worst has been confirmed by science. A study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking says that the more time you spend on Facebook, the more your eyes will wander toward Wanda. Or Sheila. Or that weird girl with the pointy ears you met at the dentist.
As CBS Los Angeles reports, lovers and spouses are feeling threatened by their partners being exposed to the human candy store that is Facebook.
One of the major temptations lies in reconnecting with an ex.
Your current partner will notice, because Facebook is a depressingly public activity. Your current partner will get mad, because he or she is depressingly human. Then your current relationship may go up in smoke, because that's how fragile so many relationships are.
"Facebook is the ultimate fidelity killer," Ramani Durvasula told CBS Los Angeles.
That's odd. I always thought that infidelity is the ultimate fidelity killer. But Facebook, it seems, is the wingman who helps you pick at forbidden fruit.
Durvasula, a psychologist and expert on these things, describes it like this: "Now you can find them in a late night search -- bang bang, put their name in and there they are. And then so it starts a little bit of liking, a little bit of flirting and something that seems so harmless to start with escalates like wildfire."
Yes, bang bang and your marriage is dead.
"The more that I'm on it, the more I worry about him being on it, so I get paranoid," Kate Wise told CBS Los Angeles about her husband, John.
But is this drift toward infidelity so inevitable? Don't we partly look at our exes on Facebook in order to reassure ourselves that we are better off without them? Don't we look at their updates, photos and banalities and feel relief that there, but for the grace of a bartender in Hackensack, go we?
After all, it's possible that our exes have put on weight, chins and pretenses. Their lives may not have progressed as our own have. And their current lovers might flatter the intelligence of two short planks.
More Technically Incorrect
Indeed, it's often worth heading to your ex's current lover's Facebook page to realize that perhaps your life isn't so bad after all. "She went for that? She's going to marry a banjo-strumming CPA? She still lives in a one-bedroom in Brooklyn?
Surely this is cause for relief or even the opening of bubbly.
The study confined itself to relationships of three years or less. But perhaps the length of the relationship doesn't matter. It's the quality of a relationship that ultimately dictates whether you are tempted -- be it on Facebook or not.
It may well be that Facebook offers easier access to the lives of those we have left behind or who left us in a heap of despair on the stairs.
But the only true temptation lies in our imaginations.
It may well be that we regret certain choices we've made. There are surely those who we think got away, or whom we allowed to slip through our greasy grasp.
But if we had to spend every day with them again, would it all be so wonderful?
Or would we soon be back on Facebook in search of that, you know, wedding planner we once chatted to at the circus?