Friday

Five Ways to Undo "Social" Havoc on Your Relationship




Social media has overtaken porn as the number one activity on the web. More than 80% of U.S. divorce attorneys cite social media in divorce proceedings, and one in five divorces is blamed on Facebook, according to the Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. It’s obvious that social media is having an adverse affect on our relationships. However, social media isn’t evil in and of itself. It’s our over and misuse of it that’s wreaking the havoc, and taking our attention away from those we love. You might be wondering, why social media is having such negative effects on our relationships, when it’s supposedly designed to keep us connected? Well, the short answer is; the time, energy, attention and enthusiasm that used to be directed toward your significant other is now being poured into trying to keep up with all the different social media networks, news and online happenings. This is interfering with the real, undistracted face-to-face time needed with our true friends and loved ones. Traditionally our relationships are built on the four aforementioned elements; time, energy, attention and enthusiasm. Sharing quality time and open communication is how you get to know someone. Social media connects, but online relationships are unauthentic. It’s very difficult to really get to know someone without actually spending in-person time with them. Once you have spent the time correctly building a relationship however, you have to continue the same healthy behavior in order to maintain it. Neglecting the one you love because you can’t stop checking in on social networks is not going to help keep your relationship strong.
Like anything else that has the potential to become addictive, social media can and is increasingly becoming a chronically addictive behavior, comparable to alcoholism and drug addiction. Too much of anything is a bad thing and will cause other areas of your life to suffer as a result of the imbalance. So, if you’ve experienced or are experiencing problems in your relationship due to poor social media habits on your part or the part of your loved one, and would like to undo the negative effects it’s causing, this article is for you. It’s not too late to begin to take some steps of correction, for the sake of staying together and saving and strengthening your love and relationship. Here are five ways to begin to undo the havoc social media is causing on your relationship.


Unplug As Often as Possible
Increasingly, we’ve become easily distracted and lack the ability to concentrate. This is due to all of the many distractions caused by being connected all the time to social media, the internet and our smart devices. Are you showing your relationship the attention it needs? If not, schedule time daily if possible or once or twice weekly, where you spend time with your significant other with no electronic distractions. This means going “old-school” back to the time when there were no laptops, cell phones or I-anything. Plan a picnic, go for a walk, sit in the park, garden together, go running or cycling. Do you get the idea? Plan a real world, fun activity that will get your blood pumping, rekindle some romance, make you sweat and most importantly get you two connected. Leave the phones on silent or better yet, turn them off completely and re-learn how to enjoy each other’s company. Turning off electronic devices helps you relax more and be present in the moment without anxiety or constant interruptions.


Have at Least One Meal Together Daily Uninterrupted
This might seem like a weird one to make the list, but many couples are so busy they don’t even take the time to eat together anymore. Social media is causing us to lose focus on what’s really important in our lives, each other. What happens when you set the table for two, light a candle and share a meal? You are forced to slow down, talk, relax and focus on each other for a change. You feel as if you matter and your presence is valued when you have someone’s undivided attention. Your partner needs to know they are valued and important in their life, so scheduling in dinner together, breakfast, or lunch will do wonders to improve adverse relationship situations. Whatever is happening in the social world shouldn’t ever be more important than what’s happening with you and your mate at home during your quality time together.


Communicate More Offline
The constant use of social media is lessening our communications skills, and making us fearful of speaking to others. As a result we are beginning to talk less. It’s very difficult to maintain a loving relationship if there is no communication, no words of affirmation and no sharing of thoughts and ideas. The best communication takes place face-to-face when the two of you are together, not via a tweet or status update. Don’t wait until you leave each other and then send the text that says, “I love you” or “I miss you”. Seize the moment and create the memory by sharing your feelings with one another in each other’s presence. Are you using electronics and social media to communicate your thoughts and feelings to your significant other? Do you all live together? Ok, just one more question. Why? Oh, and stop it immediately! Replace the DM with a real verbal heartfelt message.


Intermix Social Media with Real Life
More frequently poor choices are being made to interact via social media over spending face-to-face time with your mate. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use social media to communicate with your special someone, it just means that it doesn’t need to be the only way you interact. Use your social media networks to strength real life relationships and bonds further. Make plans to get together, plan a wonderful surprise evening for your lover or use it to talk dirty and get each other in the mood. Social media if used better could heighten the intensity of real world relationships instead of breaking them down, but this depends on our developing better etiquette. Mixing your use of social media into your real life relationship could definitely benefit the time spent together if done right.


Get Help
Your use of social media might be well beyond your ability to control. In this case, it might be beneficial for you to seek professional help. Social media addiction is real and the effects of any addiction tend to be negative for the abuser as well as those closely associated to them. Just like alcohol and drugs can ruin a marriage, family, career, etc, so can any behavior that is compulsive and becomes uncontrollable. Addictions are usually created to fill a need or calm an anxiety of some kind. Unbalanced relationships, lack of support, lack of love shown are all reasons you might use your social media community as a constant outlet to fill the voids. However, this behavior will only further contribute to your relationship failure.

With Love & Gratitude,
~C. Nzingha