People who say that Facebook, other social media platforms or dating sites ruin relationships are avoiding the real issue. People have a responsibility to own their own actions on these sites. If you or your partner is insecure in the relationship, or disinterested, then spying on the other’s activity online may be a consequence, but the online activity is not the issue. The problem is with the relationship to begin with. Owning up to that fact and not blaming social media is a first step in taking personal responsibility to address the main issue: a relationship that has gone off the rails.
If your goal is to brush things under the rug and pretend everything in your relationship is fine, then by all means stay off Facebook.
Cancel girls’ night out. Stay away from any bachelor parties. Monitor each other’s internet use, and check each other’s phone. You know, just in case.
But if your goal is to have a solid, healthy relationship, one that is based on trust and commitment, recognise that any fears you have about Facebook in your relationship are deeper issues that should be worked through in counselling.
I’ve heard several people say that infidelity in their marriages ultimately served to strengthen the marriage. Clearly it was not the act of infidelity that improved the relationship, but the resulting attention paid to the relationship after the affair. Rather than wait or hope your fears never materialize, confront these fears early on. In a healthy relationship, you won’t have to spend your time worrying about what your partner will do. And you won’t worry that you’ll be tempted to stray, either. You’ll trust each other. You’ll trust yourself.
Facebook is NOT the problem. Figure out what is, and work through it together.
When you and your partner address the underlying issues with your relationship, it is important to also define specifically what you each feel defines cheating in terms of interaction with others on social media sites. How much attention are you both comfortable with the other giving and receiving from other people? Once you have defined these boundaries and agree to adhere to what is good for both of you, then you are on your way to using social media in a healthy manner. Or maybe you are just not meant to be together. In the wise words of Edna St. Vincent Millay “I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year.”