AS soon as social media came onto the scene, relationships got more complicated. If you’re lucky, your guy’s technological actions just reinforce how drunk in love you two are. On the other hand, navigating the digital landscape in a relationship offers up more than a few booby traps. “Social media is a great way to maintain a sense of connection, but each person comes into a relationship with different needs for contact, commitment, and intimacy,” says Jane Greer, Ph.D., New York-based relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. “That’s where things can go wrong.” Here, Greer decodes what a few men’s social media moves say about their bonds.
“My boyfriend’s Twitter and Instagram accounts are overwhelmingly professional. He doesn’t use social media as a sounding board about his life or our relationship, usually just for news or his job.” —Emily J.
This guy is all for a clear demarcation between his personal and professional lives, while lots of people mix the two on social media. “A lot of times, men use social media more for business and practical reasons,” says Greer. “He wants to keep it functional and probably avoid any relationship issues that could come up if he shared more in that way.” Sure, you might wonder why he doesn’t digitally gush over you the way other guys seem to, but a lack of lovey-dovey statuses can actually be proof of how strong your bond is. “When people are constantly bragging about their relationship, it can actually be a giveaway that it isn’t going very well,” says Greer. “Otherwise, why would you need to toot your own horn so much?”
“I love social media, but my boyfriend refuses to participate. He doesn’t have Twitter or Instagram, has a Facebook but doesn’t use it, and doesn’t like when I post pictures of us on social media. He says he doesn’t like his privacy being invaded. He’s even already told me I won’t be able to put our kids’ pictures online. He doesn’t want his image — or our kids’ — to be owned by anyone except us.” —Sara A.
Sounds like he’s a holdover from the old-school type who doesn’t see the hype behind being able to post any and everything you think or do for all the world to see. But what if, like this couple, you fall on opposite sides of the social media spectrum? “Beyond privacy concerns, he may be more comfortable maintaining a certain level of intimacy rather than putting everything out there,” says Greer. “It used to be that people would just share photos with family and friends, so he may see social media as taking away from that.” If you’re in a similar situation, the fix is easy: Get his input on who should have access to the photos of the two of you or of your kids that you post online. That way you still get to share, and he’ll feel like his privacy is being protected.
“My boyfriend is obsessed with Twitter! He’s on it all day, every day. He needs it for his job, but it really bothers me sometimes because I feel like he isn’t fully present when we’re trying to spend time together.” —Brianna J.
One of the tough things about social media is how easily it can start to invade your private time, thanks to its accessibility. “Many people are constantly on Twitter or other forms of social media because of work, but it can be disruptive and make the other person feel like they’re not fully connecting,” says Greer. To avoid this kind of situation driving a wedge between you two, come up with little blocks of time when neither of you can be on your phones, period. “Tell him something like, ‘I support that you need to pay attention to Twitter because of work, but is it possible to do it before we start eating, then hold off until after we’re done with dinner? I love spending that uninterrupted time with you,’” says Greer. – Yahoo
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