Are you a regular on social networking sites?
Are you also currently in a committed offline relationship?
If the answer is yes to these two questions, I’m glad that you are reading this article right now
In case you’re not familiar with all the recent controversy surrounding social networking sites and divorce, Facebook was cited in one in five divorce petitions in the UK last year.
As with any new technology, social networking can create some anxiety or fear. Social networking is also linked with feelings of jealousy, hurt and anger. It’s understandable that if there are problems, it feels intuitively right to see the technology as the problem rather than the way we approach it. I think many issues can be avoided by effective communication and setting up some good boundaries.
Here are 3 ways in which you can Facebook-proof your relationship
I invite and encourage couples at my own counselling practice to explore how they want to use a social networking site.
- Explore with your partner your individual expectations about visiting social networking sites. Pick a time when you can give each other your full attention and give some thought to your needs and expectations in advance.
The following questions give you some topics to think about:
- What level of flirting is acceptable to you?
- How much time do you spend on social networking sites compared to the time you spend together?
- What about confidentiality? Is it appropriate to post about your partner?
You can tailor some more topics to suit your particular relationship needs.
2, Golden Rules:
Make a common set of rules that you will both abide by so that you have a common frame of reference. Make sure you create a level playing field by being open and honest with each other – even if you believe your partner will not like what you have to say. Here are some sample rules; I’m not saying that you should agree to these particular rules, I invite you to come up with your own set of rules based on the results of your exploration; these are merely food for thought:
- We do/don’t allow access to each others personal profile.
- For every 30 minutes we spend on Facebook we will spend an hour talking together.
- Be clear about what sort of personal information is acceptable to share with friends and/or acquaintances.
- Nobody’s perfect; what do you do if one of you breaks your rules?
Remember, it can be tempting after an argument to post hurtful or negative comments about your partner or the relationship and those comments can come back to haunt later on.
Although you may have to compromise on some rules there will be much less chance of destructive secrets later on.! By being open and honest you can feel good about yourself and the relationship.
3, Choose Wisely:
It can be very exciting connecting with old friends from the distant past (see my post Are social networking sites really putting your relationship at risk), but before accepting ask yourself the following question: Would my wife/husband/ partner be happy about me connecting with this person?.
Three Signs That Your Relationship Needs Help Now
Are you sharing intimate details about yourself or your relationship with some-one else online?
Do you believe that if your partner knew s/he would be unhappy?
Does this person leave you feeling important, special or adored?
Is there implied or actual sexual references with this person?
Peter left this great comment in the comment section “The first sign that your relationship needs help is when you find yourself lying to your partner.”
If you would like to comment on any of the blogs I’d love to hear from you