How Facebook Can Hurt Your Relationship And What To Do About It
8th September, 2010
What role does Facebook play in your relationship? Is it helping or hurting?
Most weeks, there’s a story that crops up for usually more than one client that involves Facebook. Actually, that’s true of my friends as well.
The usual suspects are checking up on your boyfriend because you’re feeling insecure in the relationship – this leads to the online snooping around…who’s he friends with…who’s he talking to…can that comment be misconstrued as flirty (the answer – yes. Always.)
How can I say that with such certainty? Because if you’re looking for something so desperately, you’ll find it…you’ll find a way.
Or there’s the that guy you’ve just started seeing – has he changed his relationship status…? Who are his friends…? Can you stalk his ex-girlfriend…?
Facebook seems to really come into it’s own when you’ve broken up though. At this point, it can almost seem like an addiction. What’s he doing…Who’s he with…Are there any signs that he misses me? OMG…! Is he kissing that girl! It used to be that you dreaded running into your ex but now it’s all too easy to stay completely up to date with what he’s been doing. This does nothing to help your grieving process.
Here’s a newsflash – Facebook isn’t the problem….it is the relationship dynamics and our all too human reactions that get in the way.
Here are some guidelines to using Facebook without jeopardising your relationship :
- Jealousy and Drawing a Line: If your relationship already has the jealousy-syndrome, then Facebook won’t help. Using Facebook can really magnify the insecurities because you don’t get to see the “behind the scene” interactions between other people. If you are feeling insecure, maybe you and your partner shouldn’t have FB. All those one sentence posts or new friendships can be taken out of context, misinterpreted, or misconstrued. It can set off unwanted alarm bells in your head which can lead to heated arguments. Here’s some radical advice – delete your account.
- Check-In, Don’t Assume: Posts by your partner, friends, or work mates are three words to three sentences about their world. You aren’t in their world, all you get is a sneak peak at their world. Since you don’t have all the back ground to that person’s post, your view of it may be completely off base. Check-in with the other person if you have concerns about an update so that you can fill in the blanks and get the whole story. Take a leap and talk to the other person before you assume
- Be SUPER clear: If your relationship is already on the rocks, be super duper clear with your posts. Don’t post ambiguous posts, such as “Things that make you go hmmmm…” That update could relate to anything…maybe it was the result of some light-hearted work banter. But if you guys are going through a rocky patch, your fella might read that and jump to conclusions. Before you know it, you’re involved in a argument over email in the middle of the work day. Give a bit more info so it shows more of your world. The clearer you are, the less you have to explain.
- Post Safe Topics: Use safe topic posts that won’t strike a cord or can be misinterpreted. Safe topics may include what are doing for the day, how your work day is going, or maybe a few of your favourite quotes.
- Do not air your Relationship Dirty Laundry: Your feelings may be all consuming and all you want to do is let it out…on Facebook. Posting your relationship problems won’t fix them. It simply posts your dirty laundry to the public and causes more problems. Instead, address the issue directly with your partner. It isn’t that people don’t care about your relationship and your struggles, but posting your issues and complaining about it isn’t appropriate…nor will it get you anywhere. Not everyone needs to know the nitty-gritty about your relationship. Think twice before you post. It is a public forum.
- Change your Privacy Settings: Sometimes personal life really shouldn’t mix with business, or certain people shouldn’t know your daily life activities. Piecing together someone’s life by Facebook posts is very common, yet very challenging to get the puzzle pieces to fit exactly. Filter who can and cannot see your postings; save yourself a lot of pain and heart ache.
- Cut back: It is very very easy to caught up (or addicted) to social networking and you could find daily surfing increasing and checking your iPhone for updates, or as soon as you wakeup/go to bed to Facebook. Your relationship is happening here and now…not online at Facebook. Show up in your relationship, be present for your boyfriend. Facebook is fun, I get that, but what’s not fun is having to compete for the attention of someone who’s obsessed by it. Not sexy.
- Hit the Delete Button: Sometimes people may cross a line by posting inappropriate messages or flirty comments. If you and your boy have been able to have a straight-forward and direct conversation about someone who’s posting updates that upset one or both of you…it’s time to think about deleting that person from your list. Your relationship is too important. If in doubt…press delete.
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