By Marta Brzezińska-Waleszczyk, Aleteia, June 05, 2018
These may be common sense, but it’s good to make sure you’re not sabotaging your relationship.
Infidelity, dishonesty, lack of mutual interests, lack of intimacy, marrying the wrong person, and money problems — these are among the most commonly cited reasons for divorce. But, what about social media?
Social media activity has a lot to do with divorce. Divorce court proceedings often including posts from Facebook as part of the evidence. What we post and share can reflect on our relationship and how people see us.
1. Scrolling through Facebook in the presence of your partner
One of the many things constantly taxing a relationship (and especially your partner’s patience) is if you’re constantly checking your phone, tablet, or laptop. It’s like the device is a part of your hand!
Your loved one may hope for an engaging conversation, or maybe even a romantic evening, and you’re always looking at new photos your friends posted, commenting and writing posts.
Yes, yes, I know that FOMO (fear of missing out) is quite a serious matter, but nothing is as necessary in a marriage as turning off all the electronics and spending uninterrupted time together every day, even if only for half an hour.
2. Being dishonest
Although connecting with people on social media can feel less significant than doing so in real life, it still can have consequences. If you connect with someone important to you in real life — let’s say, you meet up for coffee with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while — you share that with your spouse, because it’s significant to you; the same should apply to online interactions. Who you’re chatting with shouldn’t be a secret from your spouse; after all, you wouldn’t want your husband or wife to hide anything like that from you either.
Secrets are not good for a marriage. It doesn’t mean you have to explain every post, by any means, but it’s good to be honest about what you do online to avoid any misunderstandings.
3. Contacting old flames
Who of us hasn’t, at some point, remembered one of our past girlfriends or boyfriends, and looked them up out of curiosity to see what became of them? We need to be very careful about acting on that curiosity, especially when it comes to connecting on social media, where we can start to chat and comment on their posts. Memories of dates, letters or crazy adventures can, of course, be fun … IF they don’t lead to anything more, and don’t cause you to start comparing your old partner with the current one. Such comparisons are not a good idea, and are pointless. And, as mentioned above, transparency with your spouse is of the essence. There should never be any doubt in your mind, your spouse’s, or your former love interest’s, regarding your intentions. Your heart needs to be firmly in your present relationship, not in a rose-tinged memory of a former romance.
When in doubt, it’s better to remember those people fondly, but from afar.
4. Thinking other couples look better
Social media can be cruel. There, every couple looks amazing! They look so perfect together, you think, whether they are posing in a casual embrace, with wind-blown hair and sunny smiles in a beautiful landscape, or dressing their best for a formal dinner.
Por Monkey Business Images
And yet it’s just a selected and curated instant of someone’s life! Everyone has better and worse days. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t fought. Sometimes plates fly, and words become sharp as razors. You probably will not see that behavior on Instagram, unless someone is an exhibitionist with masochistic tendencies.
You should stop confusing a small sliver you see of someone’s life with the entire truth about the relationship. Don’t compare yourself to others — but maybe allow yourself to draw inspiration from them. If Rosie’s husband John brings her flowers for no particular reason, and she posts it on social media every time (of course), or he makes a pretend drive-in movie theater in the backyard — or if he posts photos of special meals she prepares, expressing his gratitude, or posts photos of her saying he loves her, instead of goofy selfies … If that sort of creativity and appreciation sounds exotic to you, then it’s time get to work.
5. Sharing too much personal information
Intimate details about a relationship should never be posted on social media — in theory, at least. In reality, we can often learn a great deal about couples from Facebook, including how they spend their time, what they read, where they go on vacations and weekend trips out of town, and even where and what they eat.
If you and your spouse both have social media accounts and consciously share your private information, so be it. But if one of you has no clue what the other posts online, that’s not so good. Remember what we mentioned above about how people curate what they post, showing only what they want to make an impression? There’s good reason for that; some things are meant to be kept in the privacy of the family, or perhaps of marriage counseling. Betraying too many secrets can result in a decrease in trust between partners. If you’re going to share something, and you’re not sure whether it’s appropriate, it’s better to err on the side of discretion.
6. Envying the adventures of single friends
When you look at the posts of your single friends, you might have a hard time not being jealous; they post photos of romantic dates, exotic vacations, concerts, fancy restaurants. … But being single has its difficulties; one of them—the most obvious—is loneliness. Don’t let envy for what you see on Facebook ruin your appreciation for what you have. Remember that a loving relationship can be worth more than any luxury or apparent freedom afforded by single life.
I write all these things while making a personal examination of my activity on social media. How do I measure up? Well, nobody is perfect, but there are ways to be better.
What ways, you say? Leave some space just for you two. My friends, who are very active on the internet, run blogs, etc., say that even though they share quite a bit on Facebook, it’s only a small part of their world, a few minutes from an entire 24-hour day. The rest is for their eyes only.