Why Social Media, Texting, and Marriage Just Don’t Mix

By Cathy Neville, LPC

social media

Does Social Media Impair Your Intimacy and Interaction?
Take a look around. It’s happening everywhere, all the time.  Couples barely speak or look at each other. They rarely hold hands, engage in lingering looks, or share a long laugh. Glowing screens and the persistent need to post and tweet are draining the electricity from a legion of marriages. And, often, couples are too distracted to notice.How can you spare your union the negative effects of a media overdose? Look away from the screen. Awareness is power! Consider how your social media and texting usage could be hurting your marriage:
  • Social media can quickly turn sexual. All it takes to create a perfect storm of social media misbehavior is a few suggestive “selfies,” a couple of posted inside jokes, and a few unresolved issues in your marriage. Social media is a breeding ground for problems stemming from 24-hour access and a lack of accountability. When social media becomes suggestive, a secret wedge can work its way between partners.
  • Social media makes keeping up with the Joneses a full-time job. Who has time to focus on real life if you’re always posting photos and inspirational quotes of the life you wish you had? Beyond the problems of being authentic, you may start to find your relationship lacking simply because is doesn’t measure up to the equally inauthentic posts of your “friends” or followers.
  • Social media idealizes long forgotten ideas. Something about social media creates relationship amnesia. We forget that some relationships need to be forgotten, left behind, or relegated to occasional visits. A lot of what happened in high school should stay in the past. Your mature marriage relationship and your high school love need not ever make contact. To build a healthy marriage, keep moving forward.
  • Social media makes you an ostrich. There is no need to cope with real life problems in your relationship when you have the encouragement and support of a “friend” who really understands you. Failure to focus on your marriage leads to a failed marriage. Chances are, your cyber relationship won’t be worth the strain to your union.

Is Texting Hindering Your Communication?

  • You’re texting too much. If you constantly have your thumbs poised to shoot a text to your friends, boss, children, or whoever else crosses your mind, but you can’t remember the last time you actually looked at your partner’s face, it’s probably time to put the phone away and schedule some quality time before it’s too late.
  • You text to avoid talking. Talking is often messy between partners. Yet, attempts to maintain your relationship through texts is often messier. Misread tone and intention often exacerbate misunderstandings. Authentic connection is lost without the ability to visually read nonverbal communication. Respect may be compromised by the ease with which a text conversation can be terminated, used to say things you’d never say face-to-face, and employed as a crutch for poor communication skills.
  • Texting is easier. When life is hectic it’s tempting to think that a quick text is enough to make your partner feel loved. While texting can support a good connection, it can’t create connection. At the very least, try to make an actual call and enjoy the sound of each other’s voice.

If things have gotten out of hand, you can still make a change.

Put down the iPad.

You can do it.

Unplug the laptop.

Back away from the phone.

Seek out your spouse.

Don’t be afraid to call a counselor if you need help plugging back into each other.

Soon you’ll find that your marriage offers more fulfillment than Facebook ever could.