Don’t Let Social Media Wreck Your Relationship

Don’t Let Social Media Wreck Your RelationshipSome couples look so good on Facebook.

You know they’re happy.

They post sweet little comments on each other’s pages. They’re snuggled tight in their profile pics. Each time they go off to the beach or the mountains, a photo slideshow pops up the next day.

It’s enough to drive anyone jealous.

The worst thing is, researchers confirm that couples who look good on Facebook are probably happy in real life, too.[1]

Couples who go official on Facebook are more likely to be satisfied in their relationship than couples who prefer to keep their relationship status private. It’s true: when you’re in love, you want the whole world to know.

Researchers can even predict the strength of a relationship from examining Facebook profiles. They look for clues like couple photos, affectionate comments, and a coupled-up relationship status.

But there’s one little problem…

Facebook can expose the cracks in a relationship, too.

Couples counselors and divorce lawyers are well acquainted with the havoc Facebook makes of relationships.

It often starts when an ex or a former flame makes a friend request. You don’t think anything of it. After all, it was so long ago, and you’re keen to find out what they’re doing now. But your significant other notices. Jealous creeps in. Arguments ensue.

Before social media arrived on the scene, it wasn’t always easy to avoid an ex, but it certainly wasn’t impossible. Once you got into a new relationship, you knew to delete your ex’s contact details and throw out all old memorabilia—or at least hide it in a box in the back of the closet. You didn’t shove your past in your new boyfriend’s face.

But if happy couples post photos of each other on Facebook, what happens when they decide to go their separate ways?

The photographic evidence remains … unto eternity.

Once relationships have gone public on social media, they’re incredibly difficult to erase.

You could delete all your pictures of each other and ask him to do the same, but what if a friend took pictures of the two of you and tagged both your names? What about all those lovey-dovey posts dating back years?

Luckily, Facebook now offers the ability to untag yourself.  But exes emerging from a long-term relationship still face a mountain of work to clear themselves from association with one another.

It’s a no-win situation:

Couples who go public on social media reap the rewards of greater relationship satisfaction. But if they ever split, they face being reminded of the past at every turn, which could dampen the fun of any new relationship.

It’s up to you to close the doors on the past. Don’t give past relationships a second life by leaving their ghosts online.

Here are three tips specific to Facebook.

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Feeling Vulnerable? Use it to Your Advantage

Feeling Vulnerable? Use it to Your AdvantageA wonderful woman came to me one day and said,

“James, I want you to fix me.”

I was taken aback. She explained:

“I want you to tell me everything I’m doing wrong. I want to know the right way to do it. I’ll change, and then I’ll finally meet the right man. I just know everything will work out once I know what’s wrong with me.”

I sat in silence for a moment. This woman was attractive, friendly, and confident. She had a decent career and good people skills.

“Okay,” I said. “Tell me what you think is wrong with you.”

She pulled out a list. She’d had it since New Year’s Eve, when she spent a few hours thinking hard about her life and what was stopping her from having the life she wanted.

She read it out loud to me. The list included being too nice, too talkative, too naïve, and falling in love too fast. She also considered it a problem that she was too heavy around the hips and thighs, was starting to show her age and didn’t know how to dress for dates.

“Can you fix me?” she asked again. “I’m tired of going through life like this.”

“No,” I said.

She looked shocked. “But why? Am I too far gone?”

Then I told her what I’m going to tell you now.

Each flaw we think we have is a beautiful imperfection.

Brené Brown has a wonderful book, The Gifts of Imperfection, in which she writes that wholehearted living requires us to stand up and proclaim:

“Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

We often think we must fix every place we are imperfect or broken to stand a chance at love. Men are no different. We all want to hide the places we feel vulnerable so that the opposite sex only sees the shine and polish of a perfect potential mate.

The ironic thing is…

It is those places in which we are vulnerable, imperfect or wounded that endear us to the right mate.

Imperfection is endearing. It’s beautiful in its own way. The Japanese have a phrase for it: “wabi sabi,” or the beauty of that which is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.

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3 Ingredients for a Spicy Relationship

3 Ingredients for a Spicy RelationshipBad relationship advice is everywhere.

Not too long ago, I read an article[i] in a well-known women’s magazine that was full of shady suggestions. Here’s one of the worst.

The writer claimed you should never have to ask how to stoke the passion in your love life. “Really, really good relationships” are always spicy, she claimed. “If you’re not seeing fireworks every time he walks into the room, it might be time to move on.”

Um, no.

There’s only one time a lack of passion is a red flag—right at the beginning of a relationship. If there’s no spark while you’re getting to know him, maybe he’s not the guy for you.

But if you’ve been with someone a while, there are going to be lulls. It’s inevitable. A dip in passion doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed.

Keeping the passion alive takes work.

As you get comfortable in your relationship, it’s easy to slack off a bit. If that’s happened to you, here are three easy ways[ii] to put a little oomph back into the mix.

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Use this Force field on Your Ex

Use this Force field on Your ExIf a man you loved ended the relationship, does that say anything about you?

Did you do something wrong to make it end?

Did he see something in your personality that made him turn away?

Your answers reveal how well you deal with rejection.

That’s the word from a study published in the January 2016 Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.[1]

Taking the end of a relationship personally by blaming yourself makes it more difficult to move on and find someone new.

On the other hand, people who see breakups as something that happens to everyone can move on more easily. Their faith in themselves and faith in love remains intact.

Any time you open your heart to someone, you risk rejection.

Even if you marry the man of your dreams and celebrate your tenth wedding anniversary, you both retain the option to walk away at some future point.

So reducing the negative emotional impact of rejection is worthwhile for all women, whether they’re in a relationship or not.

Study authors Lauren Howe and Carol Dweck suggest the best way to thrive in the face of rejection is to realize that we are all capable of growing and changing as people.

Even if you did something to cause a relationship to end, you can learn from your behavior. You can use what happened as a springboard to become a better person.

But not everyone believes they can change. Some people believe that who you are now is who you’ll be forever.

This “fixed mindset” hampers your ability to recover from rejection.

If you believe you have some fundamental flaw that sabotages your relationships, you’ll be wary about exposing your true self to someone new. You’ll put up walls and hold parts of yourself back.

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