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by Dina Estelle Williams

“Carol” from Upper Darby, PA remarks, “my boyfriend dumped me after he read a post that said, “Thanks for a great night out.” Unfortunately, Carol’s boyfriend did not know that the “great night out” was posted by her boss in response to an impromptu business meeting dinner which was attended by the boss’s wife.” Had Carol’s boyfriend listened and correctly communicated with Carol, the relationship may have lasted.

Is social media causing technical difficulties in relationships? Many are examining this question. The August 14, 2011, “Trending with EZ” show on WOL 1450 AM (WOLDCNews.com) probes into this issue, as well.

A poll done by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers showed that 80 percent of divorce lawyers said they used Facebook and other social sites to catch a cheating spouse or discover online activities that could affect a divorce. And in the UK, Managing Director Mark Keenan of Divorce-Online, stated that one in every five divorces stemmed from a Facebook-related activity.

There seems to be a lot of Facebook flirting and Twitter teasing going on.  According to a 2008 survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 1 in 5 adults questioned said they used online social networks to flirt with their connections.  But while people are clearly using social media as a means to engage in extramarital activities, Facebook and Twitter are not necessarily causing the problem.  Effective communication may actually be the culprit.

If one does not know how to connect with one’s partner, chances are the relationship will suffer, and in most cases, end.  So stop blaming social media and learn how to communicate. Nevertheless, so your relationship can thrive, survive, and stay alive while using social media, take heed to the following do’s and don’ts.

THINGS TO DO:

  • Do discuss boundaries.  What’s acceptable and unacceptable for social networking are key to keep the relationship strong.
  • Do share your user name and password with your mate.  This lets the mate know they can be trusted and can review your posts anytime.
  • Do post nice things about your mate.  A daily dose-a-day may keep the flirters away.
  • Do spend more time with your mate than on social media sites.
  • Do be mindful about what you post.  Social media is public and documents everything.
  • Do realize that bad behavior can easily become exaggerated, reposted, and re-tweeted.
  • Do post safe stuff, such as favorite quotes, “breaking news,” or good news.
  • Do change your privacy settings.  Some people, excluding your mate, but including co-workers, friends, and family, need only limited access.
  • Do allow your mate to sit with you while you are using social media.
  • Do delete dubious friends and followers. Women whispering on your wall or messages from men murmuring have no business being on your timeline.

THINGS NOT TO DO:

  • Don’t engage in electronic exhibitionism.
  • Don’t presume, imagine, or play the guessing game.  You do not have all the background to a person’s post so your reasoning about 140 characters or 3 lines of text may be completely wrong.
  • Don’t post vague comments.  Your mate may think your comment, “If only I knew” means that you’re having second thoughts about your relationship, and not that you should have chosen another sandwich. Be clear and you’ll have less to explain.
  • Don’t vent on the computer, talk to your mate.
  • Don’t investigate online before talking with your mate.
  • Don’t become addictive to social media.
  • Don’t share and air your dirty laundry.
  • Don’t search for bad stuff.  Everything done in the dark will come to light.
  • Don’t use social media if you are insecure.
  • Don’t post stuff that may be mistakenly misconstrued, misunderstood, misinterpreted, or just missed.
  • Social media can present the perfect platform for escape.  It’s a great distraction for disengagement and disconnection and can be amusing and soothing. For successful relationships, however, couples need more than a “tweet” and a “like.” Fulfilled couples complete each other and click in person, knowing their connection extends beyond 140 characters.

    Sources:

    • Erline Aguiluz. “Facebook And Social Media Cause 1 in 5 Divorces In U.S.” The Chicago Family Law Blog, 3 March 2011.

    • Carolyn Davis. “Divorce, Facebook Style.” The Philadelphia Inquirer, 12 July 2010.

    http://pewinternet.org/

    http://www.facebookcheating.com/

    http://www.divorce-online.co.uk/

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