Dating in the age of social media has been a game changer. Once upon a time, dating and relationships had time tested do and don’t’s. Now with the explosion of Apps and online social platforms, we have a whole new set of waters to navigate. While it’s easier to find a date, there’s also the issue of moving through the early stages of dating to the relationship phase.
So to take some of the confusion out of it, I’ve put together a few guidelines for you based on questions I get regular on a basis.
Navigating Dating, Love & Relationships In The Age Of Social Media
1. When Should You Friend Request Someone On Facebook?
When you’ve decided that you’re exclusive and only dating each other. Prior to that, becoming Facebook friends can become a source of strain and anxiety. Once you’re connected you can scroll through their life without really knowing the “who’s and what’s”. Which can lead to feeling insecure, and making up all kinds of stories that have no basis in reality.
Thoughts about what the other person is up to, the photos they’re liking, who else their friend requesting / dating. Thinking “I texted them an hour ago and they haven’t messaged me back but I see that they just liked this person’s picture.”
It will drive you crazy and lead you down a very unhealthy and obsessive path. When the truth is that it’s all speculation and you really don’t know.
2. How Long Should You Be Dating Before You Change Your Relationship Status?
This answer is similar to above with one significant difference – When you are in a committed relationship AND introducing each other as boyfriend / girlfriend in real life to friends and family.
It’s important to keep in mind that that everyone you know will see your status change and feel free to chime in and comment on it. Especially family members, so be prepared to have a conversation once its changed.
3. Is It Okay To Have An Ex On Facebook?
Every relationship is different. This is actually a great opportunity to make a social media plan and have real grownup conversation around how you each feel about everything from Ex’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, to who you follow, who you friend, private messaging, etc. All the way to those random numbers you’re keeping in your phone.
This can be uncomfortable to talk about. You might feel like its not romantic, but it’s important to have these conversations. Because without clear communication couples often get into conflict.
And all the problems that come with assuming that your partner has the same point of view, expectations and boundaries as you do.
As for Ex’s, it depends on the nature of the relationship you have with them now. And if there may be any lingering feelings or need of closure.
Generally, most people are ok with an Ex from High School, 10 or 20 years ago. The person you used to have friends with benefits with or that you only had a few dates with, is a No.
It’s also okay to say no Ex’s at all and that doesn’t mean you’re insecure or jealous. It just means that this is how you’d prefer to set up your boundaries.
4. Is It Okay To Like A Photo Of A Person Of The Opposite Sex?
This comes down to having a social media plan in place that works for the couple and is respectful to the relationship. So that whenever you do like a photo or comment it feels comfortable for the other person.
But that said, use your own judgment and keep your partner in mind before you like and comment on pictures that are overly sexy or inappropriate.
Shout-outs To Your Partner, Birthdays, Man Crush Monday etc. How Much?
There have been studies that found that the little shout outs and status updates that show positive interactions and commitment to their partner score higher in being happy with their relationship. So it’s a good thing to do in moderation, especially if your relationship and the sentiment are authentic and genuine.
While positive shout outs are good in moderation airing your dirty laundry or fights with your partner is not. What you say and post in the heat of the moment can haunt you forever and these days nothing you post is ever really deleted.
Always error on the side of caution. After all, you never know who’s taken a screen shot and sharing it, think before you hit that post button.
5. Should I Be Concerned If My Partner Doesn’t Show Affection On Social Media?
If they used to show affection and now they’ve stopped and it bothers you, it could be a symptom of something going on between you in real life. But it could also be nothing, so just ask.
If you have a relationship with strong communication in real life and that’s normal for them, there‘s no reason to be concerned about it. There are many people that prefer to keep their social media presence a little less personal and that’s ok.
6. Should We Share Passwords?
Social media can be a source of assumptions leading to jealousy and anxiety so many couples have an open password policy. Though its not meant as an all access pass, but more to help foster and build trust.
If you find yourself feeling anxious and doing things like breaking into their account or stalking them online, these are red flags. At this point you should to take a closer look at your relationship. Why you’re feeling the way you are and have a conversation with your partner.
7. What Happens If We Breakup?
Delete your Ex’s pictures, posts mentioning them and messages if there are any and of course The Ex. When I work with clients we do a complete social media purge. Its important to heal the past, so you’re completely ready and free to move on and into a new relationship.
8. Is Flirting Online Harmless?
Online flirtations are a slippery slope. If you’re in a conversation with someone on social media that you wouldn’t have with your partner there listening to in real life, then you shouldn’t be having it.
For many people, social media is a fixture of daily life. So much so, that navigating it as a couple, has to be a part of the conversation in a healthy relationship. In the end social media is just another tool, and can be helpful and fun, if you know how to use it to your benefit.
Here’s to Happy, Healthy Love,
**THE NEXT STEP**
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