For many men, social media is a helpful way to stay in contact with buddies from college, initiate friendships with potential lady friends and market yourself to potential employers. For all the positive connotations these public forums have garnered, they’ve also created negative changes in the most essential part of human life—communication, specifically relationships. Studies indicate that the introduction of social media is cited as a major contributor to the demise of many marriages.
However, is it Facebook’s fault that a husband or wife can’t control their behavior? Or has social media just created a unique world of opportunities in which to dig a communicative hole for oneself and destroy trust? The jury is still out on most of the arguments regarding the subject.
However, there are simple actions a guy can take to make sure he doesn’t fall into the treacherous marital paths of so many before him. And here are five:
1) Don’t excessively like her friends’ photos, even if she’s in them.
Example: We get it; you were scanning through your news feed and saw a photo of your beautiful wife at a soiree and decided to like it without question. Or, your wife just made a new friend at work and said friend added you on Facebook and posts funny photos that you like or comment on at least four times a week.
Seems harmless, but it could be sending an, albeit unintentional, subtle message to your wife that you’re spending your days looking at her friends’ Facebook pages. Not only that, but the perceived closeness in a female friendship is relative.
Women usually only have two to three close friends and by welcoming this female into your lives you are setting a precedent that could make things awkward for your wife. Additionally, this female friend might see these actions as inappropriate or suspicious.
Liking a funny meme or commenting on an interrogative status occasionally is fine, but keep in mind that your social presence reflects not just on you but on your wife as well.
2) Don’t hack into her account and make a joke about her bowel movements.
Example: Your wife heads out to dinner with friends and when you open up the laptop you see she’s left her profile logged in. You decide a funny joke to play would be announcing that she’s relieved herself so intensely that you must exit the premises. Everyone will think that’s funny right? No.
It’s terribly sad that this even needs to be listed as a “don’t”. You’d think any adult man with the sense of a Shih Tzu would know that hacking into your wife’s Facebook or twitter and making a fart joke is the most immature thing you could do. However, it happens every day on Facebook. Even if your wife is the kind of gal who finds that funny at home, it doesn’t mean you should broadcast those quirks over the web.
Seems harmless but you’ll risk altering her professional reputation to followers/friends that she works with (you might not know all the people needing to be including in the privacy setting). Sure, you might get a few laughs, but if you’re mature enough to be married you should be mature enough not to act like you’re in middle school. Just. Don’t. Do it.
Additionally, it’s depressingly embarrassing to read.
3) Don’t keep your social media passwords a secret.
Example: Your social media account is where you network, where you catch up with old friends and where you sometimes receive crazy messages from crazy ex-girlfriends. Having a password that only you know seems the best way to preserve your career, social life and healthy marriage. Think again.
Seems harmless, but being secretive about your social media messages or activity is a short road to a disastrous relationship. No, you don’t have to have a huge ceremony with roses and candles while you stand under an altar with a banner stating “VikingWarrior368”. In fact, an intense need to know passwords could stem from trust issues and insecurity, which can be equally disastrous to a relationship. Just be casual about staying logged in; don’t freak out when she opens your laptop because she left hers at work. You’ll find that being open and honest is much more freeing in the long run.
4) Don’t show that you obviously spend A LOT of time on social media.
Example: You’re out at dinner and your phone buzzes with a twitter update; you check it. Then you update your status to let followers know the restaurant you’ve chosen. Then you take a walk in the park and can’t help but take a photo of the beautiful fall or summer scenery. Then you post a status about how in love you are with your wife. Sweet right? Um…
Seems harmless but, your wife is starting to feel a little left out. This should be a “don’t” for both spouses. It’s incredibly difficult to maintain a healthy relationship in the modern world; it’s fast paced, full of ego feeders and distracting. If you have the opportunity to show the world that you’re in love with the woman you’re married to, don’t do it by posting a status, do it by putting your phone away. The only statement you’re making by excessively posting at all hours of the day is that your wife isn’t more entertaining or important than social media.
5) Don’t carry on excessive conversations with exes.
Example: An ex, whom you were once very close with, messages you out of the blue asking how you’ve been and if you’re married. You respond with a friendly and respectful message. She responds back. Pretty soon you end up in a long conversation that involves you talking about what you hate about work and how she just can’t find the right guy with whom to settle down.
Seems harmless but, if not careful, you may find yourself becoming a social media shoulder to cry on and risk your ex assuming your interest is not purely friendly but something more.
It’s normal to want to catch up and find out how people are doing and, as a wife myself, I think it’s a healthy and respectful move for a husband to allow an ex some closure if it’s needed. However, there’s a limit—for wives and husbands alike.
Messaging exes can send a confusing message just as receiving and responding to them can; regardless of how innocent you think it can be. If it’s someone you really miss spending time with, invite her over for dinner to meet your wife. If it’s someone you could do without seeing again, why are you wasting precious time messaging her back and forth? Life is short; spend it on people that matter in your current life. Say a quick hello back, state that it was good to hear from them and you’re glad they are doing well; nothing less, and nothing more, is needed.
Obviously, social media hasn’t necessarily created marital temptations that weren’t present since the dawn of his and her bath towels, but as stated, it has made it easier to slip up.
As married individuals we can either throw our laptops and mobile devices into the corner for an extended time-out, or we can shape up and take on the reality that marriage isn’t always easy; it takes responsibility. You sacrifice a few status updates and the rekindling of flames and what have you got? A quest for the wealth of friendship and love in one of the closest (presumed) committed connections. Not a bad deal; if you’re willing.
Let’s be willing.