Maria and Kenny have been having issues in their four year relationship. She has done her best to keep their issues between them away from friends and even family. She woke up one day to see her BlackBerry Messenger filled with messages. They all asked the same question in different words. Concerned ‘friends’ wanted to know when she broke up with Kenny. His Facebook status page had been recently updated to ‘complicated’ and unlinked from hers.
A Facebook survey of 1000 users showed that 25% of users found out their relationship was over by seeing it on Facebook first. When you are in the same friends circle as your partner it means that you and all your friends will be finding out just about the same time or they may even beat you to it if they are online before you.
If you are using a social networking site. It just may be the best idea not to follow your partner or even have them follow you. In fact, have different friend circles. Yes, I know it may sound insane. You may point out many who follow themselves and seem to have a perfect relationship. That indeed is the point. In my close to four decades of existence on earth I am yet to find a perfect relationship and when certain couples come and present such a front it has a dual effect:
1. It breeds a condition which researchers refer to as Facebook envy. Your friends and followers wish they were you and some would actually go a step further to plot how to put a chinc on your wall of perfection. Why would you want to set yourself and your relationship up for such unnecessary scrutiny?
2. Since there really are no perfect relationships, what happens when things go wrong? Remember, you and your partner are hardly on the same level of maturity and when things go awry in a relationship, the hurt may push one of the parties to talk about it. The result? Deleted accounts or a war of words leading to airing of dirty laundry before the world. What is more, your actions will be documented for posterity.
Did I hear you say “If I don’t follow them how would I know what they are doing on social media? Let me turn the question around: why do you want to know what they are doing on social media? Following your partner on social media can easily turn you into a watch dog and stalker. If you have ever found yourself asking your partner why they posted this or that status or why they posted this or that comment, then it is about time you unfollowed or even blocked them. Remember, social network is first of all social. You and your partner are forming relationships with others and the friendships automatically influence you. How would you react if your partner went against your views? My people say: what you don’t know, will not kill you.
Need I mention the jealousy that breeds when one of the parties has a higher social ranking than the other. What if you were in a relationship with an overlord or overlordess? Even if he or she decides not to flirt with anyone online, innocent exchanges can be easily misconstrued. Don’t forget, social media makes flirting so much easier and it is even seen as cool. I have seen ladies jump on innocent posts by men and vice versa and some of these people have very strong personalities. Save yourself high blood pressure: block your partner.
Then there is the matter of sometimes innocent posts being misinterpreted at subs at the partner especially when you are having issues. I have heard several couples complain that one of the partners was refering to them in their update. Most times this is totally untrue. Would you see the update if you don’t follow them?
You may have heard the expression ‘Nigerian Twitter’. It simply tells you that this is such a small community where everyone seems to know the other. It will be to your best interests if you joined this community as separate individuals. People who know you offline will of course know you are an item, but coming online to put your relationship up on exhibition is mostly counter productive. This is not to say there are not people who it is working for but the demerits far outweigh the merits. Relationships are coming under attack, it would help if you didn’t add one more reason for a break up.
I dare say that following your partner on Social media can be linked to distrust. I mean, if we live together in the same house, share the same bed, why would you want to follow me on Twitter and constantly tweet at me? And even if our relationship is a result of a social network meet, you should give each other space to breathe and not force your relationship down everyones throats. Remember, once you make your relationship social, you give everyone that sees your update the right to contribute to your conversation and some people may actually knowingly get nasty.
So, are you still following your partner on social media? Hit that button, now! Unfollow, mute, or block…pick your own poison. If you really think about it, this is the best option for most people.