The following post is written by Troy Spry. Troy is a relationship coach and certified life coach. He is the creator of XKlusiveThoughts.com, a place dedicated to inspiring people to become their best selves. In addition to his website, you can find him on Twitter and Facebook.
“SOCIAL MEDIA HAS RUINED MY RELATIONSHIP!”
That’s the cry of many people today! But my response is this: social media didn’t ruin your relationship he, she, or BOTH of you may have played a part in the ruining of your relationship.
Let’s back up and come to an agreement: social media is here and it probably isn’t going anywhere. So, we have to address this issue head on. It is definitely possible for your relationship and (insert social media type here!) to happily co-exist. Here are 4 ways to keep social media from ruining your relationship:
1) Stop Being “Single” Online but “In a Relationship” in Real Life:
Let’s be honest. For many people, social media is another form of online dating. With that said, people need to know very clearly that you are involved with someone. I get the whole argument, “people don’t need to be in my business.” But, guess what? You made it peoples’ business when you decided to get that account and create a username.
People might not need to know the ins and outs of your relationship. But they should at LEAST know you are married or in a relationship so that the lines don’t get blurred or any false messages are sent out. I can’t tell you the amount of times I hear people complain, “ I didn’t know they were married until it was too late.” (“Too late” usually means feelings have developed).
Being transparent will hopefully hold people to a higher standard of how they decide to communicate with you. This won’t stop everyone from pursuing you, but you have to care enough about your mate and your relationship to stop certain behavior before it starts. People may message you privately to get a feel for your willingness to be “more than friends” with them. But, this needs to be nipped in the bud by you, and it needs to happen immediately!
2) Don’t Believe Your Own Hype
You know, sometimes social media is a platform for people to subliminally tell you everything you want to hear. Between “likes,” “winks,” “pokes” and private messages, people will woo you all day and, naturally, you’ll start to like it. Suddenly, you may find yourself flattered because your Facebook “friends” may be showing you the attention that your partner hasn’t been showing you. It’s at this point that you must CHECK yourself!
This means it’s time to start communicating your needs to your partner instead of falling into the Facebook trap of that ex from back in the day, or that person you always had a crush on in college. You can’t glorify an Internet relationship over your “real-life” relationship and you can’t hold them to the same standard. So often, I see how the “harmless flirting” online turns into lunch in-person, and then into an affair that leads to a divorce or a break-up. The person online has probably pulled the same trick with their other 100 friends or followers. So, get back into communicating with your mate.
3) Stop It with the Sneaky Stuff
I’m not saying that your mate needs to know all of your passwords to everything. But, I am saying it will look very suspicious and make them very uncomfortable if you are uncomfortable with them seeing your pages or interactions. If you are uneasy every time they come around or if you close out of your pages when your mate enters the room or takes a look over your shoulder, then something isn’t right. If you are sweating bullets because you left your page up and your spouse is the next person on the computer, then you will look GUILTY!
When you are able to be completely open, your mate will feel more comfortable about you and your relationship with social media. This is not to say they don’t trust you, but it is to say that everyone has some level of curiosity and hiding things only makes for unnecessary tension and concern. Additionally, when you are open, you think twice about the things, whether innocent or not, that could be misinterpreted or seen as disrespectful. It makes you more cognizant and also you gain a level of peace in your relationship.
4) You Must Have Some Limitations
I’ll admit it. I’ve been guilty at times of being so engulfed in social media for my business that I forget that my wife, at home, needs the same kind of attention. Social media is so accessible we don’t realize the amount of time we spend on it. Furthermore, we don’t see how much it bothers our mates to have to compete with it.
Place some limitations on yourself. For instance, after a certain time, you unplug. No electronics during dinner or during dates. Whatever you have to do, try to do it so your mate knows he or she is most important to you in the time you all spend together instead of the online friends we spend so much time keeping up with. It may take some self-reflection and some strategic planning (especially if you use it for business), but it will be worth it for you and your relationship.
Remember, your mate wants nothing more than to be able to trust you 100%, even beyond the screens of social media and the Internet. Remember that when those cyber friends are gone, your mate is the one who is actually going to be there in person, where it matters most. Don’t allow social media to ruin your relationship.
What other suggestions do you have to prevent Social Media from ruining relationships?