Published by John Aiken: The development of social media was meant to connect us more with the people around us. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook can be wonderful ways to communicate and enhance closeness. However, if left unchecked with no boundaries, it can harm levels of intimacy and create resentment, jealousy, mistrust and feelings of rejection.
So what are the dangers of social media for your relationship?
1. Lack of time together
One of the biggest issues that can arise with social media in relationships, is the time that it can consume. One of the great positives is that you can access it 24 hours a day from your phone. The drawback of this is that it tends to reduce the time you have available to spend with your loved one. Hours can be spent checking Facebook and Instagram, and sending out tweets to followers – time that could be much better spent connecting with your partner.
2. Not paying attention
You may have lots of one-on-one time with your partner, but that doesn’t mean it’s good quality. If your focus and attention is on social media, then you’re not going to be present and mindful. Couples makes bids for each other’s attention throughout every day, and if your head’s down focused on your phone, then you’re going to miss you partner reaching out to you.
3. Cheating/ flirting with ex’s
Social media has made it much easier for outsiders to come in and threaten your relationship. Whether it’s an ex from years ago, or it’s just an acquaintance in your circle of friends, there is more opportunity now to start engaging with people outside of your relationship. And if you’re not careful, harmless communication can turn into flirting, which can then move into a full-blown betrayal.
4. Airing dirty Laundry
It would be ideal if we always made a point to ‘think before we clicked’, but that’s not always the case. Instead, we can be guilty of using social media to express our feelings and issues in our relationship without thinking it through. If you’re not careful, you can do terrible damage to the levels of trust and safety in your relationship by airing your dirty laundry for the world to see. It’s embarrassing and can create huge levels of resentment that can be very difficult to resolve.
5. Compromising photos
The rise of social media has seen the increase of people sharing images of themselves in all different types of settings. From drunken nights dancing on tables to being naked in the sheets, people love to highlight their experiences through pictures. However the problem with this is that your partner may not be happy with the photos you choose to post, or may be jealous of the images you share. And once they’re out there, they can be very difficult to take down.
So be aware of the dangers of social media and come to an agreement with your partner about some clear rules and boundaries. Discuss your expectations and make a point of managing social media – rather than letting it manage you.
John Aiken, Findsomeone’s dating and relationship expert, as seen on the hit TV 3 show Married At First Sight. He is a best selling author, appears regularly on TV, radio and in magazines, is a clinical psychologist and runs a private practice in Sydney, is a sought after speaker, and offers intensive couples retreats. (www.johnaiken.com.au)