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My husband, Bill, and I are in our early 30’s and have been married for six years. We are happily married, and have a thriving relationship … or so I thought. Now I am not so sure. Recently, I saw on “Facebook” that his old flame, Shirley, is listed as one of his friends. It seems that I am seeing him use his I-phone more and more during dinner and after evening meals. I have questioned him about this, and Bill gets annoyed and says, “You are on Facebook, too. I am just catching up with today’s events.” I am just uncomfortable with him communicating one on one with his ex-flames. Am I just being too paranoid? I feel like all this social media is taking away from our relationship. It doesn’t feel like we have quality time or are communicating with each other, especially in the evenings after work when it used to be our time together. Maybe I am just overreacting, am I? Please let me know. I need someone else’s opinion besides my own!
Fretting in Phoenix.
I think you need to have a heart to heart talk with Bill about your relationship and “boundaries”. First, ask yourself, “do I have a tendency to become a little more ‘jealous’ than necessary?” Do you two, in your relationship, have trust issues? If you are that concerned about him being on social media, then you need clear rules for your relationship. There is no clear right or wrong answer here. And sometimes, unfortunately, talking with people online can be a form of “flirting” and can open up the door to temptation and intrusions into your relationship. But the key, I think, is being open and honest with Bill about how this bothers you and makes you feel very uncomfortable. Be up front with him that you are concerned that he is engaging in “sneaky stuff” on social media, i.e. Facebook, Instagram, etc. We all know nothing is really private on the internet anymore.
So I would explain to Bill that (1) you are concerned with him talking online or on social media with his old girlfriend; and (2) that you are concerned you aren’t getting enough quality time with Bill uninterrupted from social media.
So as a suggestion, you may want to discuss possible limits such as:
- You are very uncomfortable with him talking one on one with old girlfriends online and ask him if he will consider stopping.
- No I-phone use during any meals at home.
- No I-phone use during your quality time together – special outings, date night, dinner out, fun day trips.
- No I-phone use while you are at home having one on one conversations.
Bill may find this too restrictive or doesn’t want social media “rules”. Be sure to ask him how he would feel if you were “talking” online to some of your old boyfriends. But, wait about a month and see whether you see any positive changes. Obviously, this is a big point of concern for you and I would suggest going to see a couple’s therapist to discuss this one on one if you see no improvement over time.
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