Kim has come to loathe the internet. Because she's in her late 30s, she can remember a time when the world didn't revolve around the computer. She can remember a time when dating was more straight-forward than it is now.
When she was a teenager and even in her early 20s, social networking was not an issue. Unlike today. When Kim's husband gets home from work, it seems like he rushes directly to the computer. He stops for dinner, but then is back online.
Kim thought her husband was mostly playing around with his fantasy sports teams and reading online newspapers. Recently, however, Kim looked at her husband's Facebook page. She saw the name of one particular woman crop up over and over again.
The joking back and forth between her husband and this woman seemed innocent enough, but there was something about it that made Kim feel suspicious and jealous.
“Why is he ignoring me and spending so much time online and cyber-flirting with this other woman?” she worries to herself.
The internet has most definitely changed the world. The limitations of making friends and getting to know people, sometimes intimately, have mostly been removed through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
If you and your partner argue about how either (or both) of you interact with others online, you can probably relate to Kim. You might feel ignored, less interesting than the games and people online or you may suspect that your mate is having an online affair.
It can be difficult to know what is true when you see certain comments on Facebook walls. If you ask your partner about it and he or she says, “It's nothing!” you might not know what to believe.
If internet use-- specifically social networking-- is a volatile topic in your relationship, creating clear agreements with one another can bring more harmony and closeness to your relationship.
Consider this “Code of Internet Conduct” and create agreements you both feel good about...
Remember, it's absolutely essential that any agreement or code of conduct be talked about and freely and fully agreed to by both you and your partner. If this is a set of demands or an ultimatum, the dynamics shift and it becomes a “make or break up” statement.
#1: If you can't say it in front of your partner, don't post, tweet, comment, instant message (IM) or email it.
No matter how private you think your line of communication with another is, do NOT use the internet as a place to put down or gripe about your partner. True, sometimes you might need to vent or process your feelings before talking it out with your mate, but the internet is not the place to do it.
It is especially not appropriate to complain about your partner to someone who might misinterpret your words as invitation to be more than friends. Vent and process in your journal or face-to-face with a friend and then resolve the issue with your mate.