Some things should be kept private in relationships... so why are we obsessively sharing?
Sharing snippets of our lives via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram has become the rule more than the exception. It's a wonderful way to connect with friends and family far and wide. Thanks to the handy App (or Play) store on your smart-phone, it's a cinch to instantaneously share your breakfast, your kid's first day of school, and that article on YourTango that your best friend will love.
Most of my clients explain to me that they have a love-hate relationship with social media. They love the volume of information and connection at their fingertips, but are less comfortable with the perceived loss of privacy. Suddenly, TMI has become TMIS: Too Many Internet Shares.
Are your social media habits hurting your relationship?
Two of the most important components of a monogamous relationship are the trust and connection between partners. Earlier this week, several news articles reported the break-up of golfer Rory McIlroy and his girlfriend, tennis player Caroline Wozniacki. Though reports indicate that the relationship had been a bit rocky, it seems as if the final straw for McIlroy was the tweeting of an unflattering photo of him sleeping.
In the moment of sharing pieces of our lives, it can seem funny to share a silly photo of our partner or post a Facebook status about him leaving the toilet seat up. Again. However, what this type of sharing actually does is weaken the bonds of love.
How can you balance the line between what is private and what is sharable in your relationship? Ask yourself these questions before you post.
- Are you violating privacy? If you're sharing a vulnerable or intimate moment, ask if the sharing of the photo or status update violates your partner's privacy. Would you be okay with people having the same information about you?
- Are you acting out of love or anger? It's tempting to use social media to vent, but acting out of anger only weakens your connection and sometimes, no amount of make-up sex can overcome what you shared during an angry moment.
- Are you compromising security? Burglaries are on the rise thanks to folks posting about vacations on social media. And when it comes to children, are you allowing strangers to more easily identify and approach your child?
- Are you potentially damaging your partner's image? It isn't just celebrities who need to worry about how they are perceived by the public. Social media results are a mere "Google" away from employers and potential employers.
- Always choose strengthening your connection. Ask yourself if sharing something about your partner is going to strengthen or weaken your connection with your partner.
- And last, but not least: create a joint vision. As a part of deciding how you want to create a shared life, if one (or both) of you are active on social media, don't be afraid of talking about the boundaries for use.
Apply the Golden Rule. Before you hit "send", ask yourself how you'd feel about the same status or photo being shared by your partner. Are you being mean or catty? Are you airing dirty laundry? Are you being social, or will your behavior leave you single and anti-social?
Debra Smouse believes that busting all kinds of clutter is a great path to clarity. To learn more, visit Debra's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook or Twitter, where she shares snippets of creating a life she loves (but keeps her partner's privacy in mind).
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