Your Social Media and Your Significant Other

I don’t share my relationship problems with my social network, barely actually sharing anything about my relationship at all. But I used to, when I was younger and less mature, and I cringe when I think about it. Still I learned and moved on, though I kind of understand why my fellow millennials continue to do it today.

It still makes me cringe when I see it, but I can kind of understand it.

Sometimes when we are having issues with our significant other, we feel alone. Social media is an easier way to feel less alone than dialing a single friend. Posting a grievance on Facebook is in effect casting a wider net. Except, the wider your net, the harder it is determine what you’re going to catch.

My biggest issue with dating, way back when, was generally that too many people and their opinions were involved. What will my friends think? What will his friends think? How does this affect how he thinks?

Because when you date someone new, you’re not just dating them, you’re dating their lifestyle, and the people involved in that lifestyle. If you get married (usually the end goal of all dating- even for those “Oh I’m just here to have fun, nothing serious!” naysayers) their lifestyle, their friends and family, all become a part of your lifestyle, and your friends and family too.

If you aren’t vigilant about keeping the lines of communication clear between yourself and your significant other, and too many voices get involved, it’s easy for things to get muddled. Like a game of Telephone, the more lines of communication opened up, the more interpretations about what was said, the easier it is for things to get tangled and the original message to get lost.

Think about how many voices you invite into the fold when you post a grievance against your significant other on social media, and then think about how that makes them feel. I say “against” because if it’s a grievance, and it’s about them, in a public forum? It’s definitely against¬†them.

Sometimes people make such posts impulsively, and they just need to vent. If this is the case, it would be much better to just take a few breaths and write your feelings out on a piece of paper, then decide in an hour or two if these sentiments are still worth sharing, bearing in mind any negative consequences considered.

On the other side of this, it can also be a situation of good intent, but maybe unintended manipulation.

There are some people who think that if they address someone else’s “bad behavior” in public, then they can shame them into submission. I’ve actually never seen this tactic have its intended result.

I have seen single moms put their children’s fathers on blast for not “being there” more often, or having exes still in their lives due to multiple children out of wedlock… all while trying to make the relationship work?

More often than not, I see memes, or posts with quotes about relationships, about how a person knows they deserve better, how they aren’t asking for much, how they are being taken for granted, or how their partner is disloyal… all while posting about how fantastic their relationship is in other posts and photos?

No relationship is perfect, and we all get frustrated with our partners at times, feel underappreciated, unheard, etc. But attempting to address these issues by dragging our partner through the social media mud is far more damaging than just talking to them about it in the intimate privacy of our own relationships.

If your partner cares about social media at all in the first place, because some don’t, they’re likely to feel abused. Sharing their flaws with as many sets of eyes that are on your friends list, or worse if your profile is set to public, can feel as if you are backing them into a corner, or recruiting others to gang up on them.

If they are non-confrontational and don’t want to duke it out with you online, they’re likely to just disappear from your social media networks, and possibly your life if that’s an option. If they ARE confrontational, and DO want to duke it out online with you, then it’s just (more)embarrassing for everyone.

Changed behavior though, at least into the behavior that you want to see, is probably the most unlikely result from these tactics. They either make your partner feel nothing outside of negative for you, or your partner doesn’t feel anything at all.

There is no benefit to posting relationship grievances on your social media accounts.

Furthermore, when you make vague assertions that your relationship is not doing well, you befuddle and concern your friends and family, as well as your significant other’s friends and family, if you’ve allowed them access to your posts.

And if they voice concerns, or provide an opinion you disagree with, they can hardly be faulted. You cannot make public your private life and assert that only God can judge you. If you prefer that only God should judge you, then have faith that God knows your faults, flaws, and grievances, without you posting it online.

It’s so easy, maybe too easy, to hit “share” on that quote about how you’re just looking for honesty and trust. Hitting “post” only takes a second after you’ve just had an argument, and your thumbs wrote about how “look what you’ve done, once again you failed to meet my expectations”.

These little things, that happen so quickly and sometimes with very little to no thinking, can have a big impact.

Having an argument or fight in public is likely to make your partner uncomfortable, but even these moments pass and people move on with their lives. But when you post something on the internet? That discomfort and damage you caused your partner is kind of permanent.

As I said before, in the past, I made these mistakes of sharing my negative feelings about my relationships or partners in these very public forums. I thought that I could change behavior by “exposing” behavior, when really, I was just exposing my partner, and even myself.

Unsurprisingly, these relationships did not work out. Although, I’ve learned from them, and have made sure not to repeat such mistakes again with my husband and our relationship.

If you really want things to work out, if you truly cherish and respect your relationships, do so. Offline.

With Love,

Millennial Mother

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