How to handle your relationship and social media
What would our world be like without social media as a factor? ... well, private, then a lot of outside sources won't be affecting how you handle your situations.
Checking up on romantic partners via social media, even when benign or mutual, can create a potential for conflict—just like any other form of communication can.
Even though social media is different from email, texting, or other forms of interaction, how couples handle social media and monitoring should be similar to how they deal with any other type of communication issue, let's look at how one can handle his/her relationship together with social media.
Talk to your partner openly about how you want to handle social media—from Twitter to Facebook to Instagram and other apps/sites.
Let them know what is acceptable for you and listen to your partner’s thoughts on how they use or plan to use networking sites.
Be honest if something you found online about your partner bothers you.
For example, if you find that your partner—who has agreed to be exclusive—is still active on a dating app, talk to them directly and nonjudgmentally as soon as possible rather than letting it bother you over a long period of time. Whether you were the one who found the information or the person being monitored, an open and blameless discussion can help both sides better understand each other.
Don’t judge or criticize yourself for your feelings
While one might feel guilty for checking their romantic partner's profile, or feeling upset that a partner looked, it’s actually very common behavior. Checking on a partner doesn’t necessarily suggest doubt or control. It could stem from a natural desire to be connected to and aware of a partner’s life. Either way, it’s important to try to have these conversations together without judgment or blame.
Be aware that small gestures can take on unintentional or bigger meanings
What does it mean when you or your partner likes or comments on a photo or accepts a friend request? It’s important to acknowledge that small gestures can mean a wide range of intentions, and it’s helpful to clarify things early by having a direct conversation with your partner.
Recognize the difference between your public and private lives—and that the two spheres can impact each other in both directions
Even though appearance is often different than reality, appearance can still impact a partner’s feelings and reactions in a very real way, so it's important not to minimize or downplay your partner's feelings or response.
Question whether the conversation is really about social media or if it’s a deeper relationship or communication issue.
If you find that your or your partner’s use of these sites makes either of you uncomfortable, it is important to recognize both partners' feelings and examine the potential reasons. There may be other underlying questions unrelated to social media—trust, commitment, amount of quality time spent together—that can be raised directly with your partner.