Less Tweeting, More Talking: Why Twitter Killed Your Relationship

By

woman yelling about computer
Is social media the cause or the result of bad relationships?

A new study stating that social media may be responsible for increasing dissatisfaction in relationships is interesting. It's also one that I look at and think, "Duh, we needed a study to show this?" That's because it isn’t the use (or overuse) of Twitter per se, but the amount of time people spend on individual activities. There is also the secondary impact of sharing thoughts and feelings that rightly belong within the relationship.

There are at least two areas specific to social media that can make the use of it more detrimental to relationships. The first is the "addictive" pleasure response the brain has to novel information. Twitter feeds and Facebook postings support this with a constant stream of "new". The second is the fear that you will miss something. What many don't realize is that the thing they are missing is their own life. They cease to be present with the person they are actually with. Banksy's latest painting is a dead-on take on this new phenomenon.

 

This frequent or consistent distance puts pressure on the relationship, resulting in ongoing disagreements and, ultimately, the end of the relationship. While overuse of social media is not the only thing that can lead to this harmful distance, it is one that is immediately and constantly available. Our perpetually wired, 24/7, smartphone existence makes responding to this temptation so much harder to resist.

It is also possible that being in an unhappy relationship is the impetus for spending so much time on social media. Interacting in this alternative world can provide a supportive outlet for the stress of a poor relationship. Unfortunately, this sympathetic environment is fertile ground for infidelity. Your relationship is much more vulnerable to outside influences when one of you is unhappy.

That is why this study is not all that informative on its own. One singular behavior is rarely enough to jeopardize a relationship. What puts a relationship at risk is the way the two individuals approach that behavior, not the behavior itself. Yes, each of you will have feelings about it, as well as a desired outcome. What helps or hurts a relationship is whether the two of you can successfully reach an agreeable resolution — not whether you disagree in the first place.

Unfortunately, most of us don't have the communication and emotion management skills that allow us to reach that place of agreement. We state and restate our position without really listening to how our partners feel. We get more and more upset that nothing is changing without realizing our part in that outcome. Instead of inviting our partners back from cyberspace and into a conversation with us, we drop snarky remarks or outright attacks. I've heard from many people that they go on social media because their partner is busy doing something else. When that partner then wants to engage, the first one is engrossed elsewhere and the disconnect gets bigger.

Unfortunately, one of the real drawbacks to interacting in 140 characters is that the art of having a true conversation is lost. Sitting side by side or, better yet, face to face and really talking to each other is a way to deepen intimacy and create a better relationship. Doing this requires both of you to really be present, both physically and emotionally. Anything that keeps this from happening on a regular basis can be problematic.

Let me know if you have ever experienced these issues in your relationship and if you think these suggestions would be helpful. Lesli@balancedfamily.com

More stories from YourTango:

Article contributed by

Lesli Doares

Relationship Coach

Lesli Doares, MFT

Lesli writes about issues related to marriage and relationships at afearlessmarriage.com.  She is the author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage:  How to Create Your Happily Ever After with More Intention, Less Work, a manual for couples on how to have a long and successful marriage.  Lesli also speaks passionately on many relationship-related topics.

Location: Cary, NC
Credentials: LMFT
Other Articles/News by Lesli Doares:

How To Handle Being Turned Off By Your Partner's Weight Gain

By

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," or so they say. They also say "beauty is only skin deep." Most people would agree that at least some level of mutual physical attraction is a must for a relationship to begin and then thrive. But when significant changes to your partner's physical appearance occur—is that a deal ... Read more

Why I Didn't Realize My Relationship Was Emotionally Abusive

By

Never is there physical abuse without emotional abuse, but unfortunately the reverse isn't always true. During my first job as a therapist with a domestic violence organization, more than one of my clients said that they actually prefer the physical violence to the emotional violence, because at least physical bruises heal. Of course, it is more difficult ... Read more

What Can The Future Mrs. Clooney Teach Us About Marriage?

By

There are two stories in the news these days that say a lot about relationships and women's role in them. The first is the big news that perennial bachelor George Clooney is engaged. Now, engaged is not married, so he is still a bachelor and anything can happen. But it has raised the question, why her? Why now? What does she have that all his other former ... Read more

See More

 
My Videos
ASK YOURTANGO MORE QUESTIONS
Must-see Videos
SEE MORE VIDEOS
Most Popular