You're letting your jealousy show if you get annoyed by their gushy statuses.
Sitting at home on a Saturday morning as a single mom whose kids are with their dad for the weekend, it could be way too easy for me to wallow in self-pity. And being a single mom in the digital age, I could easily tap a finger on one of my favorite icons, and search Pinterest for the absolute perfect woe-is-me-isms to remind me I am not alone. But really, that gets old pretty quickly. I could tap into Twitter for snarky one-liners perfectly synced to my borderline sick sense of humor, but if I’m going to be honest, that makes me a wee bit jealous. Why the hell didn’t I think of that one first? Dang.
I am pretty easy going on the whole, but apparently a lot of things bug the shit out of me.
I cannot stand the sound of someone chewing on something crunchy, or even something not-crunchy, while we talk on the phone. Or watch TV together. Or sit somewhere remotely close to each other in the slightest.
I cannot bear to see someone picking at their nails, even out of the corner of my eye. It makes me only slightly less than pathologically ill when someone goes off about Facebook notifications from their friends about games like Candy Crush. Learn your privacy and notification settings, people! This isn’t rocket science!
You know what doesn’t bug me, though? Not even the littlest bit? Facebook couples. Happy, loving, sharing – even sometimes over-sharing – Facebook couples.
These wrongly maligned social-media-happy lovers have become a primary scourge of the Earth in the 21st century. They get lumped into disparaging memes and comedy routines along with funny cats, breath-taking baby pictures and proudly prepared meals. They are begged to stop posting love notes to each other and accused of only posting their pictures in order to put up a false appearance of happiness.
When I was married I admit to the occasional (read: constant) rush of jealousy that would strike me when I saw date night pictures and declarations like “Happy Anniversary to the person who has set my world on fire for the past 8 centuries and who will continue to do so until the end of our days in existence as we know it.”
But that is all my annoyance was. Jealousy and resentment that they had something I didn’t have, and worse, feared that I never would.
Now that I am in my early 40s and back in the dating trenches, I appreciate these lovey-dovey Facebook posts on many levels for many reasons, including these top 7.
1. They remind me that there are men out there who are willing to let their feelings be known. Who express their love for their wives (and for their husbands — Stephen and Will, I’m looking at you, babes) openly and without any false bravado or shame.
2. Without realizing it, they are engaging in one of the most important behaviors associated with long-term marital success: bidding and responding. While it does happen, it is rare to see one partner posting happy pictures and the other not somehow present by at least liking, sharing or commenting.
In his renowned research on happy marriages, psychologist John Gottman found that husbands and wives make what are known as emotional bids — “requests for connection” — to each other in hopes that they will receive a response — “a sign of interest or support” — in return. With the difficulties we face related to communication these days, no one should underestimate the positive impact these interactions can have.
According to an article on these studies in The Atlantic:
“These bidding interactions had profound effects on marital well-being. Couples who had divorced after a six-year follow up had ‘turn-toward bids’ 33 percent of the time. Only three in ten of their bids for emotional connection were met with intimacy. The couples who were still together after six years had “turn-toward bids” 87 percent of the time. Nine times out of ten, they were meeting their partner’s emotional needs. By observing these types of interactions, Gottman can predict with up to 94 percent certainty whether couples—straight or gay, rich or poor, childless or not—will be broken up, together and unhappy, or together and happy several years later.”
3. Happy couples make time for fun, creative activities and trips. I find ideas and inspiration I may never have thought of on my own. This is also pretty much the only way I know which movies are currently playing, other than when Alex Yarde or Jay Snook let us know over here, of course.
4. Happy couples who have kids do things with them. Which means I get to see those little smiley faces too. I get the privilege of seeing how they grow, which kid looks like which parent. I love it! My parents only get to see their friends from elementary/middle/high school/college/etc. and their kids once every few decades, if at all. Think about how lucky we are all to be connected this way!
5. Even if some of it isn’t real, which isn’t any of my business any way, at least they are trying. Don’t belittle how major that is.
6. They remind me of how lucky I am to have this second chance to be out there looking for the happiness that is right for me. Which reminds that you really never run out of chances as long as you still have this life.
7. It lightens my own load to see my friends and family feeling happy, loved and loving. It’s just that simple.
This article was originally published at The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission from the author.