People have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. And many real-life relationships are ruined because of Facebook—don’t let yours be next.
We have seen it all on Facebook: from flirting, to dates, to fights, to breakups. We’ve all had at least one friend who features her relationships on Facebook like it’s something from a reality show—and in fact, that friend broke up because of *you guessed it* Facebook. See how social media can ruin relationships and what you can do to avoid it.
How Facebook ruins relationships
#1 TMI. Sharing too much information about yourself can be harmful to your safety and privacy, as well as annoying to people who look at their newsfeeds and just see you all the time. This behavior is even more problematic when you’re in a relationship. Online Public Displays of Affection *OPDAs, if you will* can be acceptable, but only to a certain extent.
Your partner may want to keep your relationship *and fights* private and set boundaries on just how much people are allowed to snoop into your relationship. Part of the beauty of your relationship is that it is just you and your partner, so it’s really best to keep some of it secret. [Read: 16 attention whore signs to watch out for!]
#2 Revealing too much. You can reveal too much in your relationship even without words. Revealing too much can take the form of posting sexy and suggestive photos that you’re better off sexting to your partner. This can spark jealousy and insecurity from your partner, especially if you have male friends—or even strangers, if your photos are public—liking and commenting on your photos.
Putting your body out there in a suggestive way, when it should be kept private and for your partner’s eyes only, can trigger negative feelings from your partner and cause you to fight with each other.
#3 Entertaining exes. Chatting and messaging, as well as coyly replying to comments from the opposite sex from your past can make your partner uneasy, suspicious, and all-out jealous. Communicating with an ex, in any form, can be a very touchy subject to your current bae, and talking with your ex on social media, in front of everyone, has the potential to humiliate your current flame. [Read: 12 things you do on Facebook that makes you look really pathetic]
#4 Flipping out. Your partner posts something random and seemingly harmless, yet you overthink it. Each time they post something on social media, whether it’s their food *Who did you have dinner with?*, their selfie *Where were you in that picture?*, a quote *What’s that all about? Is that about me?*, or anything else, you’re always bound to think it’s about you or your relationship. You will find yourself unnecessarily on your toes, or restless because of the ghosts you have conjured. Step back, relax, and let them be.
#5 Passive-aggressive posts. Posting on Facebook instead of talking directly to your partner can make matters worse, instead of better. Posting vague statuses and quotes on Facebook, and hoping your rather oblivious and dense partner will notice and change isn’t really going to work.
Open communication is key in any relationship, so if you have a problem with your partner, talk to them directly instead of posting about it on social media. Besides, your petty rants and subliminal messages will accomplish nothing but annoy your friends. [Read: 11 things couples should stop doing on social media]
#6 Facebook time instead of quality time. You know when you’re in bed and instead of talking about how your day went and updating each other, you’re both huddled up on your phones? Or, instead of enjoying a nice date together, your partner is busily taking a picture of your meal and taking selfies between bites?
Excessive time with Facebook takes the fun and spontaneity out of the moment, especially if you cannot enjoy your vacation with your partner because they’d rather take selfies and pictures instead of enjoy your time together. Spending a lot of time worrying about what you’ll post drains the intimacy out of your relationship and out of the time you should be spending together.
#7 Facebook stalking. Facebook can also ruin your chances for a new relationship. Instead of the usual getting-to-know-you stage, you already know a lot about the person. Gone is a totally blind date, because as soon as you know the name of the person, you check them out on Facebook and find out all there is to know. You immediately judge the person based on what you see, without even really knowing what they are all about. The same can go for you, as the person you’re dating may have already judged you through Facebook, before they actually saw you.
#8 Facebook official. For some people, relationships aren’t real unless they’re “Facebook official.” There are countless fights about Facebook statuses, when one party changes their status to “in a relationship,” and the other remains “single.” In the age of social media, there’s always pressure to let other people *read: the world* know what your status is or what you’re up to.
If it’s not on Facebook, it doesn’t exist, and this can be said about your relationship, too. No matter how awesome and happy the relationship is, you are not satisfied unless it’s documented on Facebook, which can give your partner anxiety and, ultimately, make you look superficial and insecure. [Read: Why social media is slowly killing your romance]
How to keep Facebook from ruining relationships
#1 There’s more to your relationship than your Facebook status. Instead of stressing yourself out about what to post on social media, try to look at your relationship and your partner. Find out what makes your relationship better and productive. It doesn’t have to be the places you go to or the food you eat and post on social media. It is all about how you treat each other, even without other people knowing about it.
#2 Be transparent. This shows that you have nothing to hide from each other, thereby fostering more trust. However, while it’s fine to share passwords as a way to reassure your partner that you are not doing any monkey business on Facebook or in any other social media platform, it is still best to know your boundaries. Giving your passwords to one another is a nice gesture, but you don’t have to feel like you have to use it—or worse, troll through your partner’s social media accounts, messages, and friends.
#3 Don’t be friends with exes. Exes should be left in the past, as still seeking them out is rarely provoked by good intentions. If you must, add your ex to your friend’s list—but only if your partner is okay with it. Think about how you would feel if the tables were turned, and it was your partner who was communicating with their ex. [Read: 12 reasons why the no contact rule always works with exes]
#4 Don’t air dirty laundry. What’s worse than incessantly posting about displays of affection on Facebook? Posting about your problems and fights with your partner. In fact, no one wants or needs to know about those. You don’t have to tell the whole world the details of how your partner cheated on you, either. It can hurt your partner’s feelings, as well as cheapen your relationship.
#5 Set rules. To avoid having your partner poring over their Facebook newsfeed while you try to catch up with them, set rules about how much time your partner spends on Facebook, especially while you are together. You can both sit down and talk about this, so that you are showing that you respect their sensitivities and preferences, too. Discuss social media no-nos to avoid future disagreements.
#6 Communicate better offline. Instead of making Facebook your outlet for all your frustrations, exercise better communication with your partner. After all, they are the ones who know you better and, if they are the source of your problem, can better address your problem. While expression is fine on Facebook, any issue you have with your partner must be dealt with offline. [Read: 20 things happy couples don’t do in a perfect relationship]
#7 Don’t give room for misinterpretation. Words, especially in spur-of-the-moment posts, can be open to different interpretations. This is true, as well, when you post something that your partner thinks can be a problem with them or with the relationship. Think before you post, and make sure that you are being clear and articulate. Don’t give your partner any room to misinterpret or be hurt by your posts, and avoid any posts that may stir problems, confusion, embarrassment, jealousy, or even gossip.
Like any type of technology, the danger or benefit lies not in itself but on how people use *or abuse* it. When it comes to your relationship, it’s really not Facebook’s fault. You are responsible for how you use social media and how you let it affect your relationship.