Many of the clients I work with these days say that Facebook and other social media are causing them some problems in their relationship. Most people have some form of social media account and use this to communicate with both their friends, family and a much wider audience.
Previously in relationships, communication was limited to those close to us in our daily lives such as family, friends and work relationships. With Facebook we now have the ability to talk to and share our lives with anyone in the world. Sounds like a good thing right?
Unfortunately, along with the benefits of great technology, come a whole new set of problems that we are often not aware of until they occur. Some of the problems associated with Facebook are causing relationships to break up or become at the very least, distrustful and hurtful.
Relationships and Facebook
Facebook and social media have provided us with a wonderful way to communicate with a large group of people easily. On the other side however, we are aware that employers use Facebook to check potential employees but did you know that it is also now being used as a tool in divorce?
Recently in America, a superior court judge in Conneticut ordered a divorcing couple to hand over their Facebook passwords to the opposing lawyers to help determine the outcome of the divorce settlement! What is placed on personal pages of Facebook is being used in some cases, to help determine how fit a parent each one is and can have a bearing on custody. It’s a bit confronting to know that the big night out you had last week and posted on Facebook for your friends, may now work against you at some point in the future.
With that in mind, it pays to be a bit careful about how you use Facebook and what you use it for. Have a think about what you are posting before you post it. One aspect that now needs to be considered carefully at the start of a new relationship is “How do we agree to manage our social media as a couple”?
I have outlined some areas that I see come up repeatedly and should be defined ahead of time to help Facebook find a comfortable place in your relationship. Chat about these things so that you can avoid the common problems and maintain a healthy relationship.
Facebook in a Relationship Issues:
Talk with each other and establish guidelines on the following issues:
Do we share our passwords with each other?
This is a common argument that I hear of in counselling. There is no right or wrong answer, just be clear as to what you both want and be respectful of your partners point of view.
Do we allow each other to log into our account either with us in attendance or on their own?
In a healthy relationship you should not be hiding anything from each other. Having said that, do you feel violated if your partner views your content when you aren’t there? Is it ok if they look at it with you? Ask each other these questions and try and find a solution that works for both of you.
A healthy starting point is usually to respect each others privacy and not look into your partners account. However, it should be an open book if you ask to see something that is bothering you. Keep it transparent but respectful.
Do we allow each other to have friends of the opposite sex that we don’t know and if so what are the rules?
Again this one causes a lot of arguments. Having friends of the opposite sex seems to be acceptable to most couples if both partners know them. This acceptance seems to change when it’s someone not known to your partner. Some couples are completely fine with this, others find it a threat. This is particularly true if a ‘friend’ tends to comment a lot on your partners entries.
Discuss where the boundaries are on this. If it does happen, how will you handle it? Will you delete them as a ‘friend’ if your partner is not comfortable? This may sound insignificant, but I see it happen over and over again so work it out before it happens. Try and imagine how you would feel from each others point of view when discussing these things.
How much personal information is disclosed by each of you?
Again try and set some guidelines based on what you both feel is acceptable. Some people only like to post trivial information and others will tell you every move they make. Do you want your partner posting what you had for dinner last night, where you are going on the weekend and including information about you on their page? Remember that whatever you post can’t be taken back so be sure before you post.
Is it alright to talk on Facebook about the state of your relationship?
Sounds like a no-brainer but as Facebook becomes so familiar there is a tendency to share every little bit of our lives. Your partner may not be so happy to find that everyone knows that you had an argument last night. Generally the best thing to do here is to agree not to ever post information on the state of your relationship or at the very least, stick to the positive. You can’t take this information back which leaves you to deal with it in front of an audience. Not a lot of fun and it puts extra pressure on you both.
I see some terrific arguments over this one! One person is trying to have a meaningful conversation while the other one has their nose glued to the phone checking their updates. This also applies to texting and email. Talk about it, set some rules. Often a good starting point is to set times that you both stay away from social media when you are together (this includes excessive texting). Set some basic rules and then review them after a period of time to ensure you are both comfortable with how it is working.
Is it ok to post photos of each other?
Does your partner mind having that really great shot of them on holiday put up for the world to see? Probably not. But how about that sneaky one of them shoving a hamburger down in one breath? Possibly very amusing – to you. Don’t post anything of each other without your partners knowledge or permission. Be respectful.
Many people laugh about having to set rules about social media until something happens that causes a fight. When you decide that a relationship may be a serious one, take the time to discuss and agree to what your personal guidelines will be for your relationship. You can always revisit it later and adjust your rules to work with your relationship but the important thing is that you both agree and have an idea of what is expected of each of you.
Let Facebook be a good addition to your relationship, not the end of your relationship.
If Facebook is causing problems in your relationship and you want to getting solutions, please call me on 0468 950 420 for a FREE 10-minute consultation to discuss your needs and find out how I can help you or press BOOK NOW button to find my available appointment and schedule an online booking.