Social media breeds comparison because of what is being posted on a daily basis. One partner may use it excessively and it starts to program the other person's brain in a way that watching too much pornography programs one's views of sex. It is the repetition/compulsive aspect of social media that does this. Also, since social media is literally run by likes, posts aren't always authentic. So if you have a partner who is on social media too much and/or is constantly preoccupied with what kind of posts will get the most likes, this will cause significant friction for the relationship such as breakdowns in communication, decreased quality time, and squabbles over very superficial things.

I stand by the practice of not following your partner on social media as it is super healthy for couples to have a life of their own outside of the relationship. Partners will be able to avoid fights over the content posted by their partners, as well as know the content posted on social media isn't always authentic. Couples can avoid dissecting the other person's content on social media, thus avoiding conflict. Each person can just live their best social media life without adding any undue stress to the relationship.

In my experience professionally, I have seen about 50% of couples follow each other on social media. I suggest to couples that do follow each other to discontinue doing so, at least while they are in couple’s therapy. This challenges them to stay focused on themselves and how they show up for the relationship. I think jealousy and insecurity leads to couples following each other. If we are not okay with who we are independent of the relationship, we will want to monitor what our partner is doing "just in case." Cultural factors play heavily in this not being more acceptable. As a Latino myself, part of me is aghast that I am even suggesting to folks not to follow their partners on social media. We have a tendency to be all up in the business of our loved ones.

As a general rule of thumb (whether partnered or single), we need to mindfully and intentionally use social media—not let it use us. Let your partner show you what they posted instead of checking on their posts once an hour. Make it a topic of conversation and bonding instead of one of conflict. Discuss how you would want to show up in social media, individually and as a couple. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

August 18, 2020

Tags: social media, relationships, love, mental health, Facebook, instagram