Balchik, Bulgaria

Strategies for Social Media Sanity in Relationships

By Jonathan Roseland

My girl and I were enjoying one of the first days of a well-earned week of vacation at the sun-drenched Black Sea seaside. Damn near everything was downright paradisiacal until (as you do) we got into a little argument...

Here’s the crux of the argument: Being on vacation you’re inclined to take a lot of photos of yourselves looking fabulous and enjoying the colorful environs you find yourself in and my girl was a bit upset that I wasn’t uploading more photos to social media of us looking like a cute couple as she was doing. Most of the photos I was uploading were just of me looking adventuresome and generally being museful in nature.

cactus garden

In the past a large marriage ceremony was the way a couple made a public declaration of love to one another, now we do it by instantly broadcasting JPEGs around the world. Obviously, my girl wants that validation.

This is my reasoning…

  1. I don’t want to drag her into the public space with me — The internet can be a really rude and nasty place for public intellectuals who take controversial or unpopular positions as I sometimes do. I don’t want her to ever be harassed because of my opinions. The fewer photos and digital paper trails that we have linking us the better. Different public intellectuals that I follow like Stefan Molyneux, Joe Rogan, or Sam Harris are careful to keep their loved ones’ images and names hard to find. Mindset guru and culture warrior extraordinaire Mike Cernovich has exposed his lovely wife to deranged harassment campaigns by opening a window into her life with social media. Look at all the harassment and hatred Melania Trump faces. I’d rather maintain a modicum of separation between my public and private life.
  2. I don’t want to feed her vanity too much with an allowance of social media cross-promotionLikes, hearts, followers, and “friends” are currency in our narcissistic era, especially for women, who just have this voracious appetite for validation. A lot of e-celeb guys do this thing where they pay women to be in their life with social media attention — I’m far from being a real e-celeb but I know just how intoxicating a deluge of likes, comments, and followers can be (especially for women) and I don’t want to put my girl on that dopamine treadmill to nowhere. Constant social media validation for women is the same thing as porn addiction is for men — it makes them shallow and vapid and poisons any chance of a healthy pair-bonded relationship. I want to be loved and respected for my virtues, personality, and accomplishments - not because of the vague possibility of internet stardom that I can dangle before someone.
  3. I want to limit the encroachment of social media into our relationship — social media makes humans weird, narcissistic, envious, shallow, unfocused, unhappy, and stupid — I do a pretty effective working memory rehab regimen to block the negative side effects of being a social media power user. I have yet to convince my girl to habituate a similar mindfulness regimen though and I don’t want to use social media in a grotesque way to stimulate jealousy and envy among those who follow me.

 Why Women’s Social Media Obsession = Men’s Porn Addiction…

Social Media Compatibility

Relationship gurus have long told us that we should on the first or second date ascertain the political compatibility of our potential partners. I’d urge the same when it comes to social media usage. If one person is a social media addict and the other hates social media that sure seems like an irreconcilable difference — why waste time?

Delineate your social media following

Delineate social media following

If you use Facebook create a separate friends list of people you would actually like to hear from and stay in touch with who you wouldn’t mind peeking into your personal life. Facebook and Google+ give you the option of delineating who you share what with. Sure, if the CIA is out to get you they can probably get a hold of your most scandalous social media content anyway but by practicing discretion using Facebook’s settings you mitigate a lot of drama and heartache. A lot of people just opt to leave Facebook, but for many of us it has become an essential tool interfacing with the modern world; don’t flippantly broadcast your most intimate moments and feelings to everyone whose friend request you might accept

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