Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Social Media & My Partner

Robert's Problem

Hi Babs - I am not sure whether this is actually a proper problem but I find "social media" actually very anti- social. My partner spends a large part of her downtime facebooking, tweeting, texting and BBMing to the exclusion of actual conversation between her and me ( the ones alive and present in the room).

It's all rather irritating to me.Should I just chill out and accept this as the way of things in the 21st century or address the issue? If I address the issue what should I say?

Bab's Response

Thanks for contacting me Robert. I find your dilemma is all too common. I see lots of couples who identify Facebook or Twitter as the source of their problem/s.  It is my experience though that when we start exploring it's usually a symptom not a cause.

 In my opinion good relationships are all about balance. If the two of you have quality time as a couple, are able to communicate and have a shared intimacy then I'd be wondering what's the problem with sitting together at times just sharing your space perhaps engaged in different activities. If you don't have these things, however, perhaps you do have a problem.

What is it about the messaging that irritates you? It sounds as if you're saying you feel ignored or that your partner is not accessible to you in some way? That she may prefer her social media friends to you? Perhaps if you write down how you feel about her messaging habit then you can work out what's happening for you.
I am also wondering what's the payback in social media for her? Is it a form of escape? Is it fun? What did you used to do together before she began relating on the Internet?

It is not my decision to make but remember if and when you decide to speak to her, be sure to tell her how you feel not that you disapprove of what she does. If you do she's more likely to listen.


  1. I think this happens in a lot of households - I love FB and twitter yet my husband has never used either. We laugh about it as he gets to watch sport and action films while I chat to my friends - yet we are still in the same room and still in each others company - if I didn't have GB and twitter and didnt like what he was watching I would probably would be off somewhere in the house doing something else. So everyone is happy :-)

  2. This happens a lot in my house too. I love Facebook and spend time chatting to my friends while my husband watches his stuff on the TV or spends time on his computer. We have varying tastes so it doesnt always suit for us to watch things together but we are still in each others company. I can imagine (from the amount of friends that I see on facebook) that this happens in a lot of households. Personally as long as you are not isolating one other and can strike a happy balance of me time and shared time I dont see it as being unhealthy.

  3. I usually find that if my husband has a negative comment about it and I log off to spend time with him, he goes off a does something else. Personally I feel that there's a pocket tantrum occurring. Maybe a spot of attention seeking.
    I realise it does cause issues, but talk to her. Try to agree on the amount of time she spends on it, but only if you want her to interact with you, dont tell her what she can and cant do!
    If you're watching a film she wouldnt like, it would be wrong to expect her to sit through it. Suggest things you both like.

  4. This doesn't happen (often) in our household, as both myself and Pan work within the 'Social Media' environment. However, there has been the odd occasion when one of us has asked the other to 'leave it alone' because we want to do something together.

    As with anything in life, balance is crucial.

    I remember when texting was the 'in' thing, our daughter - then a young teenager - was constantly reprimanded for texting all the time. I never thought I would see the day when our daughter said to us 'Mum, Dad, will you please put your phones down!' but she has!

    I can understand why Robert may feel left out. All the updating, tweeting and messaging can become very addictive, time consuming and bleed into 'couples' time. Because we receive these updates & mentions in real-time we often think we have to respond to them immediately, but we don't!

  5. hi babs thanks for your advice .
    After i thought about the whole thing for a while i realised it was not the social media activity in of its self. it was the quantity of time spent doing the thing that was grating.

    i have decided to keep my counsel and seek contentment from my books and music and live and let live!!

    thanks again for your advice