You and your partner have had an argument. Perhaps, it’s something petty like over dishes left in the sink. But, it’s the fourth time you have had the same argument about the dishes and you know your partner is fed up.
You go to your respective corners with no resolution. You are sitting in front of the television not really watching anything and trying to calm down. You decide to scroll through your Newsfeed on Instagram.
You notice your partner is posting meme after meme that seem to be directly related to the argument you have just had.
Her friends are liking them and making comments asking if everything is ok. Your partner isn’t directly responding or talking about the issue between you, but you know she is passive-aggressively talking around the issue. There is a sick feeling in your stomach as you suppress the urge to defend yourself.
You close the Instagram app and now you are fuming. You feel attacked with no way to respond without her knowing you saw her posts and also seeming passive-aggressive or outright confrontational.
Social media isn’t responsible for how the couple chooses to use it. The couple has to decide if they will use it responsibly.
Insecurity and Jealousy
Social media doesn’t breed jealousy or insecurity, but it can raise the levels of what may already exist between a couple. It can also exacerbate communication issues and relationship problems.
Whether a couple follows one another or not, it is possible to see what a partner is doing on their social media. And, it is tempting to view their activities with either innocent curiosity or a desire to police and judge their behavior.
Where things can go wrong is in how one partner interprets what another partner is doing.
Likes, Comments, Favorites
One partner may not think liking the post of an ex is a big deal, while the other partner may see it and interpret it as being flirty. The partner may think they are having a casual conversation, but the spying partner may view it as crossing emotional boundaries.
The misinterpretation could be cleared up if the spying partner could ask their partner questions about the interaction. But, if they feel like they shouldn’t be looking or feel insecure then they won’t ask and they will suppress their concerns leading to them coming out in other less healthy ways.
How can a couple navigate social media?
I have been in numerous online discussions where the attitude was that within a relationship that a person just shouldn’t feel insecure no matter what behavior they see. The assumption is either the person shouldn’t be looking or they shouldn’t feel jealous.
But, the nature of social media is to watch the behavior of other people. And, it is human nature to be curious especially when you have something right at your fingertips.
And, let he or she who has not felt jealous or a little petty in a relationship, please cast the first stone at themselves, because no one believes you.
Create a social media policy that fits your relationship.
Sit down with your partner and figure out how both of you feel about the behavior online that is acceptable for your relationship.
- Do likes on certain pictures make you question your partner’s intentions?
- What type of comments cross a line?
- How do you feel about exes being on the friend’s list?
The goal isn’t for one person to get their way or for one person’s insecurities to rule over the other person’s online activity. The goal is for both of you to come to a compromise and agreement on where the boundaries should be.
Let me caution you: If you are the insecure partner, do not play a victim and make your partner responsible for your insecurities. The decision you come to may require you to learn to become comfortable with your own insecurity if your partner has assured you that you have nothing to worry about or question.
When you find a code of conduct that you can agree with, then allow for open communication.
You’re not going to be able to cover every possible scenario that you may encounter online. So, allow for modification of the rules as things happen. Find a way that you both feel comfortable bringing a behavior up and discuss how it made your partner feel. From there, do the same thing you did when you created your policy. See how it feels for both of you, examine the intentions and figure out how to proceed.
It should be an ongoing discussion. The most important thing is that you put the relationship first.
It’s not just about likes, comments, and interactions. If you are intentionally posting things to make your partner feel punished, embarrassed or imply there are issues within your relationship, you should discuss finding a way to communicate those in a way that doesn’t involve a public forum.
Social Media doesn’t have to affect your relationship unless you allow it. And, it’s not the reason why you are having relationship issues. You can simply use it as intended which is entertainment, business networking or to connect with family and friends. Or, you can choose to use it to sabotage or escape your relationship. It just holds the tools, you decide how to use them.
Use it in the best way to serve yourself and your relationship.
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