Entertainment of Sunday, 30 October 2016
When it comes to the major reasons couples fight these days, you can put social media right up there with money and sex. “I’ve seen social media cause so many big rifts, and be the source of so much conflict,” says Dion Metzger, M.D., psychiatrist and co-author of The Modern Trophy Wife.
And that’s not even counting the stories of Facebook-fueled infidelity. Even seemingly innocent social media activity can morph into major resentment, hurt feelings, and worse, she says.
As with all relationship dynamics, communication is key to understanding the kinds of things your spouse is sensitive to, says Shelli Chosak, Ph.D., psychotherapist, and author of Living Your Legacy: How Your Parenting Style Shapes the Future for You and Your Child.
“Besides learning what kinds of things might clash with their values, you also need to take into consideration that words on a page can be interpreted in many different ways,” she says. That goes both ways, and sensitivities will vary with each individual and couple.
Take a look at some of the social media behaviors that have the potential to sabotage your relationship in real life, and make time to talk to your hubby about setting some ground rules for each other:
1. Posting Photos of Hot Celebs
If you like to partake in “male crush Mondays” with your girlfriends, you probably think of it as harmless fun, but your man might not, warns Metzger. “If your husband was posting about women online all the time, how would you feel about it, especially if they look different from how you look?” she asks. Putting yourself in his shoes is sometimes a good way to realize that even social media silliness could cause hurt feelings.
2. Sharing Memes That Poke Fun At Husbands, Or Men In General
“Memes and jokes can be funny, but if done too many times, it becomes serious,” says relationship expert Charles J. Orlando. “I always say, once is a joke, twice means you’re not kidding, and three times means you’re fighting in public.” Ask yourself why you’re sharing these jokes in the first place. “Sometimes when you try to be funny, you may be disguising some anger or resentment,” says Chosak. “The underlying message will reflect that, even if you don’t realize it.”
It’s okay to showcase your sense of humor online, just be careful about overdoing it if it’s at someone else’s expense – especially your spouse’s.
3. Complaining About Housework/Money/the Kids
We all like to commiserate online from time to time, but there’s a fine line between airing frustrations and belittling your partner, says Orlando. “If you’re including friends in something that’s a sensitive issue between the two of you, that’s not the way it should be handled,” says Orlando.
You might just be looking for support or to get a laugh, adds Metzger, but think about how it reflects on your partner and your relationship if you’re always putting forth negativity.
4. Chronicling Your Entire Day
“We live in an age of complete oversharing, and the truth is no one cares,” says Orlando. However, when you put every detail of your life out there, you’re also potentially putting your marriage up for public scrutiny. “You end up entertaining lots of people that don’t really matter in your world. Go to the people who matter, who are right in front of you,” says Orlando.
5. Sharing Big News On Social Media First
Whether it’s your child’s straight-A’s or a promotion at work, it’s become instinctual to share good news with your online networks, but that shouldn’t be how your husband finds out about it, says Metzger. “Finding out news via social media prior to telling him can ruffle feathers,” she says.
Chosak agrees, adding that it sends the message that he isn’t the most important person in your life. “It might even cause him to question what other things you are not sharing with him, and that could be one of the most important risks for your relationship,” she says.
Posting passive aggressive updates might have nothing to do with your husband, but again – perception is something you can’t control, says Orlando. Just imagine how your partner might feel if someone asks him if he’s in the doghouse because of something you posted.
“It might feel good to air how you’re feeling, but instead of doing that online, break out a diary and air your feelings there,” says Orlando. Ultimately, cryptic messages do not end up not helping the situation, but can stir up drama and controversy.
7. Political or Controversial Posts
As the past election season has shown, social media can really escalate differences of opinion into full-out conflict. “When you have all of these connections of people who are more associates or acquaintances rather than friends, you have to be mindful of what you’re saying and who you could be offending,” says Metzger. From your husband’s perspective, if you’re social media friends with your in-laws or his co-workers, it could create an awkward situation for him if you’re very vocal on touchy subjects.
“If something you want to say could be inflammatory, I recommend trying to keep it within your immediate circle,” Metzger adds.
8. Showing Off Your Body
Whether it’s family vacation photos involving you in a bikini, or your fitness before-and-after photos, some men may not be comfortable with their wives Instagramming too much-exposed skin, says Dion. Everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to modesty, so if you think your spouse might not approve of your sexy selfies, it’s best to respect his feelings, she adds.
9. Broadcasting Every Minute of Your Date Night
While some men love when their wives show admiration and affection for them on social media, others might feel put off by it, says Chosak. “They might see your time together as private, and posting about it could be intruding on your intimacy,” she says.
Being in the moment is so important, agrees Metzger. She suggests that couples try her “15-minute rule” for social media. “If you want to take a pic, or document where you went, do it in the first 15 minutes, and then after that, put the phone down, and enjoy each other’s company,” she says. “Focus on each other and have a conversation face to face. One on one contact is to be treasured.”