Just pairing the words “social media and relationships” together gives me anxiety.
Although the topic may seem naïve, silly or immature, it’s not. It’s a real issue – an issue that I wanted to write about because when it comes to social media and relationships, there isn’t much out there.
The topic of social media and relationships is one of those guilt and shame-inducing unmentionables that we’re too scared to admit we have an issue with. We’re scared because there’s a part of us that feels like we have no right to impede upon someone else’s right to do whatever they want with their OWN accounts.
A big reason why this topic never gets discussed: whenever it starts to become a problem, we automatically generate a bandaid-on-cancer excuse, with the ease of breathing air:
“He had these accounts (and a life!) before me. Who am I to have a problem with it?”
“I FINALLY have what I want. He’s an amazing guy in every aspect. I need to get over this pettiness before I lose him and fail at yet another relationship. I’m not getting any younger. This is just me trying to self-sabatoge a good thing.”
“It’s better than him cheating on me! At least he feels comfortable enough to create relational discomfort right in front of my face.”
“All guys do this! I have no right to be embarrassed or feel shameful about it. He’s just being a guy. It’s not like he’s sexting/DM-ing or Snapchatting these Instagram models and a*s/boob accounts. It’s FINE. I need to work on MY issues and insecurity, not obsess over trivial things that don’t matter in the long run.”
And the list goes on.
So, we give ourselves the excuse pacifier and seek to work on becoming “more understanding,” “less sensitive,” and “stronger.”
Yet, there it is – this omnipresent, unknowing, shameful, “if-I-was-enough-he-wouldn’t-have-to-follow/comment/like,'” lingering, mind f*cking MADNESS that you just can’t shake no matter how many excuses you try to douse the voyeuristic fire with.
Is there an Instagram/Facebook etiquette for dating and being in relationships?
What are the pink flags that precede the red ones?
How do you know if YOU are being the unreasonable one?
When does “normal” social media activity become a deal breaker?… When does it become wrong?… When does it become creepy?
I’m fortunate to have dated men that could care less about social media. All it took was dating ONE guy that was extremely “active” on social media, to unearth my most humiliating behavior, reverse-narcissistic mentality and deepest insecurities (that I didn’t even know I had in me).
The thing about social media and relationships is that, if you’re being disrespected, it’s the ultimate indirect and passive slow motion torture.
There’s nothing that’s being DIRECTLY aimed at you, so if you ever call your partner out on it, YOU look like the unreasonable, boundary-less a*shole.
When it comes to social media and relationships, here are 5 red flags to look out for:
I hear often from women that say they’re in great shape, their self esteem is in tact, they feel like they’re with a great guy… BUT – he follows an excessive amount of Instagram accounts that display everything that they physically aren’t.
Their self esteem is in tact, until they see who he’s following.
And whether he knows the people behind the airbrushed accounts or not… it hurts.
Another impossibly annoying scenario – he follows his exes – & the commenting/liking is mutual and excessive.
As far as deal breakers go, that’s not for me to say. It’s ultimately up to you to decide what breaks your relational deal. What I am going to provide are some red flags to keep an eye out for when it comes to social media and relationships.
Your head, heart and libido may be excusing and hanging onto a crumb diet for dear life, but YOUR GUT KNOWS when the crumbs are being taken for a loaf.
Here are the 5 red flags to look out for when it comes to social media and relationships
If your partner follows an excessive number of accounts that you deem as disrespectful; that you, your friends, family and the world can see, what about the things that you can’t see? I’m not trying to fear monger here. What I am trying to express is that if your partner is highly sexualized in the public world of social media (& casually follows/likes/comments on numerous model/sexy/naked/ex/inappropriate photos a day for everyone to see, WHILE he’s dating you), that’s a problem. If your partner isn’t even going to pretend to respect you on a PUBLIC platform, what’s he going to do in private? And if he doesn’t deem that as disrespectful, what then? This is so much LESS about insinuating that he will cheat and so much MORE about the kind of mentality that prevents a MUTUALLY loving, honest, loyal and respectful relationship from EVER forming.
Preoccupation with activity.
If he’s more preoccupied with likes, followers and comments than he is INVOLVED with and an active participant in your relationship… red flag. Conversely, if you have all the females that he follows memorized and are stalking his every social media move WHILE being in a relationship with him, that’s not love. That’s distrust, that’s a red flag and THAT needs to be addressed. As far as how it needs to be addressed – keep in mind that if someone is going to advertise their unavailability, empathetic bankruptness and disconnectivity for the world to see, it’s safe to assume that explaining to them the hurtful effects of something they’re totally fine with doing on a public platform, won’t be effective. Sometimes you just need to speak with your actions and know when to fold.
As humans, we are wired to yearn for connection, meaning and belonging, but when it comes to social media and relationships, attention seeking behavior is a definite red flag. When you consistently attention seek attention on social media, you translate to the universe that image and outward attention takes precedence over authenticity, intimacy, substance, meaning and connection. And what is life without any of those? It’s a red flag when your partner consistently looks for attention outside of your relationship in the name of cyber hearts.
“Without communication, there is no relationship. Without respect, there is no love. Without trust, there is no reason to continue.”
If you’ve lost respect for your partner (due to his social media activity), and you’ve lost respect for yourself (due to your social media stalking, excusing and lack of backbone), true love is going to have an impossibly hard time finding a way. If your partner does not provide an environment in which you feel safe to express your concerns, feelings and emotions (in a KIND and civil way), without feeling like you’re going to be abandoned, rejected or made to feel/look crazy… you’re in red flag/relationsh*t territory.
The worst kind of threesome.
Understand that if you’re dating someone that has consistently questionable social media habits, you will ALWAYS be in an emotional threesome. As I’ve said before – true love is linear, not triangular. Inhabiting a relationship triangle is, in and of itself, a red flag. If your relationship can be defined as you, him and social media – that’s not true love, that’s a very sh*tty, dysfunctional and heartbreaking threesome. Emotional threesomes always start as little pink flags that enable us to feel “passion” (because we suffer from low self esteem and are in a state of having to prove ourselves, be chosen over something and win). However, they quickly turn into deal-breaking red flags that will always be present unless you ACT by exiting the dynamic. There’s no need to explain why you want linear to someone that’s professional triangle constructor and inhabiter.
Thank you all SO much for your comments and messages. My Mom and I had such a wonderful time together and my surgery went well! I’ve been working on some amazing things for you guys – coming soon 🙂