Relationship advice: Balancing social media networks and your relationship

By: Jen Kirsch

Author: Canadian Living


Relationship advice: Balancing social media networks and your relationship

By: Jen Kirsch
Whether you're married or have just started dating someone, the world of social media is new, uncharted relationship territory. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn give us new ways to connect with many people, including your partner.

In some cases social media can be a wonderful tool to keep in touch with your partner's day-to-day activities -- especially if you're in a long-distance relationship. But it can also be a bone of contention. All it takes is a glance at your Facebook newsfeed and your partner's latest activities to trigger feelings of insecurity or to notice things that might annoy you. (Why does his female coworker comment on everything he does, anyway?) Things like this are generally nothing to worry about, but they can still be a source of arguments for couples.

Before you let your raw emotions get the best of you, it's important to see his profile for what it is, not what you imagine it to be.

Micah Toub, a relationship columnist for The Globe and Mail, weighs in on what action (or lack thereof) you should take, and how much interaction you should have with your significant other online.

1. Feel flattered
Do you trust your partner? If someone seems to be flirting with him, and you are upset, it may be because you don't actually trust him. Examine why it bothers you and at least admit it to yourself. If you do trust him, consider other people's comments and "likes" on his page, as a "Hat's off" to you.

"Take it as a compliment that you are with a handsome and funny man, and then let it go," says Toub. After all, you landed the guy! People often comment on or "retweet" respected people in their Facebook and Twitter communities to show others they are connected to them. It's harmless, yet complimentary. Remember: They may have his Facebook Wall, but you have his heart.

2. Reign in the posting frequency
You don't want to be that woman who likes and comments on every single update on your partner's profile. Think of your online relationship as a healthy "real-life" relationship. "Your online interaction should mirror your engagement in real life," says Toub.

Page 1 of 2 -- Do you comment on your partner's status updates too often? Discover when it may be time to scale back the online connections on page 2
If you are always together and you often write on his Wall, that's reasonable. But if you only see each other once a week and you partake in daily activity on his profile, Toub equates that to calling a guy a handful of times a day. Too much.

3. Pay it forward
When couples include each other in one another's status updates and comments by tagging each other, and they both constantly comment on each other's pictures, Toub admits that it's "kind of sweet." The cuteness lies in the fact that there is an equal balance of sharing between each member of the couple. And let's face it, even if you and yours aren't so "mushy, mushy," there is something sort of endearing about seeing others who are so head over heels.

4. Watch for deleted posts and other warning signs
If you've been with your partner for a while and write an inside joke or sweet message on his Wall, only for it to disappear later on, see that as a red flag -- even if he gives a good reason as to why he deleted it. "You shouldn't be hiding something from the person you are closest with, and if you are deleting a message that they posted, you're hiding them from the rest of the world. That would be a red flag," Toub says.

Your partner has no control over others' activity on his Facebook profile. Where he does have control is in whether or not he responds. If you sense a mutual flirtation going on, banter that makes you feel jealous, uncomfortable or insecure, or just have a bad gut feeling, Toub suggests bringing it up in a face-to-face discussion -- so long as you don't make accusations.

Say to him: "It made me uncomfortable when that woman made a suggestive comment on your status last week," and gauge his response. If you're in a serious relationship and you're concerned, your partner should be there to reassure you and help ensure you don't feel that way again. But if he gets defensive or worked up, you should be mindful that it could be a signal of a larger problem.

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Relationship advice: Balancing social media networks and your relationship