In Readers Ask Questions today a question about Facebook versus relationships.
How a simple Facebook post can destroy trust in a relationship and the effect of seeking likes on your emotional status update on your significant other (SO)
The question is:
My GF changed her relationship status to ‘it’s complicated’ after an argument with me. Should I be worried?
To be frank:
Yes, you should. Not so much about the complicated status update but about the behaviour of your GF jumping to Facebook the moment she gets annoyed with you and sharing her feelings with the rest of the world instead of you.
Facebook plays a major role in peoples lives and it also affects a lot of relationships , and not always in a positive way.
Status updates and photos in Facebook reveil sometimes more of our feelings than we share in real life with our partner and can cause a lot of arguments
What would have never become an issue in a relationship before the ‘Facebook Boom’, becomes an issue nowadays through status updates and photo-sharing, like-behaviour and friend-lists.
With everything about your personal live on display on different social media platforms, the audience for a fight or a romantic evening is huge.
Even I find myself posting pictures of him and the fun moments we have together, or posting relationship-quotes I can totally relate to.
But in an adult relationship the SO does not have to turn to Facebook to get to know the real you or your true feelings. So if your GF is unhappy with you after an argument, you should know by her mouth that she finds it complicated to be in a relationship with you and not through her Facebook status update.
My love knows how I feel, he does not have to look to my Facebook to find out. If I share something on Facebook that concerns our relationship he already knows. Another thing is that I value his privacy. Writing about my relationship experiences like I do on my blogs goes by him first to check if he is okey with it. After all, his family and friends might be reading also and seeing a total different side of him.
That said, he also knows that part of my articles are based in research and not always first hand experience. So not all that I write is about him, or me, or him and me.
My advice would be that there are a few things you avoid doing on Facebook when you have a healthy relationship:
- Don’t build your relationship on Facebook
Everything you post on Facebook should be known by your SO before you post it. Do not present your friends (and your SO) with a relationship that does not exist in real life. It is so easy to be more in love on Facebook than it is to show when being together with your lover, or to be more romantic in your status updates than you are in real life. Live up to what you share, or even better: be what you want to share even before posting it on Facebook. Let Facebook be the confirmation of your true love and not the stage of a wishful thinking or deep longing for something different.
- Don’t share your arguments on Facebook
I remember following a couple on Twitter that communicated through Twitter while sitting next to each other on the couch. When they started arguing and went offline on Twitter I saw later that they continued that argument on their Facebook wall. She posting how annoying men in general can be, not understanding women and he posting posts about how much he misses his single life with friends and how women can nag you to death.
Needless to say they separated and we, followers witnessed the whole ugly path. Expressing your unhappiness with your other half on social media is the most damaging thing you can do to your relationship.
The world does not need to know about your fights. The only person that needs to know about your hurt feelings is the person that hurt you. And sometimes not even that, sometimes you need to take a close look at yourself why you felt hurt and deal with it on your own, sharing with your partner afterwards what life lesson you learned about yourself and how you’ve grown. As a blogger I know that misery loves company, no better red blogs than those about me feeling lonely, upset, crying. You guys love reading about my misery. And I love to share it with you because it sells. Blogging is my business. But when I’m in a relationship I share my hurts first with my BF before I throw it out in the open. And when I do decide to share my newly gained wisdom with you guys, I check with him first if it is okey. And I leave the gory details out of it. So it becomes more anonymous. If you do share about your relationship on Facebook, than build a history of lessons learned and happy memories
- Do not share (the lack of) intimacy on Facebook
What goes for the arguments also goes for your intimacy. It is called intimacy because it concerns only few people, not the multitudes. So keep it to yourself. You can only expose so much before someone gets offended or hurt. And if that someone is your loved one it can bring serious damage to the relationship. And here again: Yes I do write about my love life and intimate matters as well, but I do not share specifics, and I always run it by him to see if he agrees. If he doesn’t, it will not be published.
In this case do not take an example in me, since I have a different profession, it is my job to share with you about my private life. My BF knew upfront what he got himself into and he assured me that he did not mind. But I can tell you from experience that I have dated men that so totally disapproved of what I share. It can really damage your relationship if you share your loved ones intimate details without their consent. And intimacy covers not only body-parts, it also covers the area of sharing deep emotions, thoughts and fears that usually bring you closer together. Be aware that posting them on Facebook may drive you apart.
- Do not follow your partner over the internet
From conversations with others I know that jealousy and distrust is a deal breaker, and although there are a lot of people out there that share pass-words and let each other check up on Facebook accounts, Messenger and email: I dare to say: when you have the password, you have the trust, no need to check and start your own private investigation.
If you have trust issues, deal with them, do not use them to abuse the privacy of the other person. But the timeline of your partner is not entirely your partners. I speak from experience, my eyebrows raise on a few occasions when I see what other people can do to a BF’s timeline. Tagging your partner or sharing photos that you wonder why? But talk about it, do not jump to conclusions. And maybe change the Facebook timeline setting accordingly so you can check what is been posted on your timeline first.
- Do not stalk you ex on Facebook
While being on the subject of controlling and checking up on behaviour: Do not ever stalk your ex on Facebook.
When you are in a new relationship you need to focus on the future and not on the past.
Do not be friends with your ex and do not follow them around. Not even to show off how happy you are right now with your new found love.
If you feel the urge to do so, you are not over that person and you have to deal wth some issues here. Do you still have a lot of photos of your ex on your Facebook: please do set them on “only me” and close the chapter. Do not confront your new lover with your past more than necessary. If you love them, you focus on them only and let go of your past life. Are you still friends with an ex: explain why and how you two deal with the feelings of sexual attraction that were once there. It is up to you to reassure your partner that those feelings are long gone and that there is nothing left but a good solid friendship. Encourage for the two of them to get to know each other either on Facebook or in real life and be open to your partner about everything you share with your ex. An ex lover of me is coming over in a few months to spent his vacation here, and my BF felt very insecure about this. It is up to me to communicate, to share with him why I broke up with that person and why it is a platonic friendship and how we set the boundaries to keep it that way, so he can truly enjoy meeting my friend.
In the end all these 5 points boil down to communication, communication with your partner and not with your Facebook Friends.
The key to a healthy mature relationships is to communicate openly about your feelings for and towards each other. About your hopes and dreams, your dedications, about your doubts and fears and more.
Loving someone makes you vulnerable and communication builds trust. Your relationship should be a safe haven for the both of you, and you are the only one to provide that for your partner.
So handle your Facebook postings wisely.
Talk to me: Anything to add to this? Do you agree with me? Or disagree? And why?