An Added Complication? Relationships in the social media age

Relationships in the social media ageBack in the day before widespread use of social media and technology, relationships might have been much easier to conduct. People met in a more traditional way and got to know each other in ways that are slowly dying out today.Writing letters (on paper), phone calls and arranging the next meeting were the extent of a couple’s focus. Apparently simpler times. We still do this but today we live in a different world.

There has never been a time when it is easier to meet and indeed discard people. However, once in a relationship, social media can and often does play a major role in any potential dynamic that might exist. Anyone who has an account on any of the popular social media sites will probably have their history (recent and beyond) open for scrutiny. If you are a person who is basically insecure or unsure of your partner’s feelings (or statements), how tempting it must be to trawl through this mine of information, looking for answers.

These days, everything you need to know about a potential partner can be found by checking phones, social media and computers. It begs the question: How seriously should this information be taken and indeed how much right does a partner have to even access this information?

It has come to my attention during couples therapy that checking each other’s technology is becoming a more accepted practice. Even when this is done secretly, a justification can be found. Many people have found that their partner has cheated or doing something inappropriate. There we have it. The information about a betrayal of trust was gained via a betrayal of trust.

On the one hand, social media is often used to cultivate extra-marital relationships but breaking into private accounts can never be the answer. At this point, it could be prudent to mention that the term “cheating” has mostly been redefined by technology. These days, cheating can also be seen in terms of cyber-relationships where a physical meeting may never take place.

So what is the answer? While it has never been easier to “check-up” on people, one must say that those people with trust issues would find another way to ease their fears (on indeed to confirm them). The answer is open, honest communication where fears and insecurities are worked through and solutions found that work for both. Anyone who constantly checks a partner secretly has deeper issues than just that. Anyone who is using social media to cheat on their partner deserves all they are likely to get.

In effect, a couple can look to simple times for the solution. Trust is an essential part of a relationship which must be earned through experience with another person. No amount of social media content will replace that.

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