The gradual encroachment of Facebook into our personal lives has earned itself poor status in the eyes of some relationship experts. They often view Facebook as a catalyst to relationship distress and in some cases, divorce (exchanging post flirts and intimate pictures with ‘friends’ have allegedly led to an increase in the divorce rate caused by jealous searches.) Is Mark Zuckerberg really to blame for the declination of healthy intimate relationships? If we metaphorically open up another browser, we may be able to see how we can potentially turn our need to connect into a long-term plan for happiness in just 9.3 minutes per day.
It is easy to connect online and according to Nancy Kalish, professor and author of Lost and Found Lovers: Facts and Fantasies of Rekindled Romance, people look initially out of curiosity. She calls first loves the most often sought out and the most dangerous to ‘real world’ relationships for two reasons: biological and emotional. Facebook offers the clear cut forum for these two people to reconnect by simply providing clear instructions for ‘sharing’. But my question is, once they “friend” each other online, how do you think they are communicating? A closer look will show how the Facebook browser just may be the key:
These individuals are Sharing their status. Letting this “friended” individual know how their relationship is going, discussing the aspects about it that they are happy and unhappy with and seeking advice, validation and encouragement. They are asking Questions about things that interest them, facilitating good dialogues. They are sharing Photos of good past and recent memories that trigger warm, connecting feelings. They share what is on their mind and of interest to them via Links and Videos so they and their friend(s) can literally be on the same page. Eventually, Upcoming events are planned that they can look forward to together.
How can an intimate relationship last in the context of this deep and evolving connection? Once a loved one catches on to this initially emotional-conection, time is spent stalking a loved one’s Facebook, discussions over who should be de-“friended”, having your partner post that infamous “couples photo” as their profile picture, and even seeking out their passwords, critiquing one’s Likes and Photos that are commented on.
Consider a home life filled with:
Status Questions Photos Links Video Upcoming events
The average Facebook user is online for 9.3 minutes per day. Imagine for a moment that for every day (for at least 9.3 minutes) you were to: Share with your loved one, sitting as close to them as you do when you cuddle up with your computer, putting your best face- forward. Thinking carefully about what you want to share before you communicate (showing yourself in your best light). Not only taking a thoughtful interest in them with questions, but following those questions up with reflecting what they have said in terms of what you Liked about what they said and any thoughtful Comments that you can provide to them to make them feel good about what they are sharing with you. Also, imagine you take that camera of yours out again (the one you put away since getting that new camera phone) or even use your camera phone to take more pictures of the two of you, emailing the good ones to each other and even carving out time to reminisce on some past photos of earlier times in the relationship. During times when you are not together, sending a link over something that you think your loved one would appreciate or a link to special plans that you have made for them via Opentable.com, or other event or place you would like to attend with them. Imagine being able to count on upcoming plans that you both prioritized doing (and this could be accomplished together in that 9.3 minutes).
Facebook has been onto something that is so basic yet so very important to successful relationships: the need to connect, and we do not have to plug into the internet to do it – – it may seem easier in the moment for those that have gotten into unhealthy non-connecting patterns with their loved ones, though it is often more rewarding long term to put new patterns into place.
With 9.3 minutes of work on our intimate relationships a day, we may be not only be saving ourselves more time, but allowing ourselves to experience a deeper and longer-lasting connection.
If you have any thoughts or questions on this article or anything else on my website, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.