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How Social Media Causes Stress in Relationships

So you’ve got a Facebook profile, a Twitter account (or two), you check into Foursquare and you’re just starting to post pictures to Instagram.

Meanwhile, your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse is on just as many social networking sites (plus Pinterest).

Aware of it or not, each of you stalk the other’s whereabouts — “Why did she ‘like’ five photos of a shirtless guy on Instagram?” and “Why is he checking into a strip club on Foursquare? He better not be!”

So it begs the question … does social media make us more jealous?

Cleveland Clinic psychologist Dr. Scott Bea thinks so.

“Imagine starting a dating relationship and you find out the guy that you’re involved with has 350 female friends,” Bea said in a Fox News interview.“I mean, it creates a whole new kind of stress. You have all of this competition that you might not have known about before.  It might not have existed before.”

According to the Fox News story, the biggest social media-related stress in a relationship is sharing too much information. The second biggest social media stress causer in a relationship is tagging an ex in a post or photo.

So what exactly does this say about people in relationships? Sounds to me like there are a lot of insecure couples out there.

Think of the time you’ve spent browsing Facebook trying to find an ex. Or, if you’re already friends with your ex (or exes), think of all that time spent checking out their photo albums, reading their posts and trying to figure out which person he or she is hooking up with.

But those moments also can be healthy. Browsing their page potentially can make you think of the good times spent with that person and all of the memories you created. Sure, somewhere along the way the relationship went awry, but there had to have been decent times, right?

And besides, you’re hopefully in a better place now and can thank that relationship for helping you grow and realizing it wasn’t meant to be.

On the other hand, if you still harbor feelings for that person, things could be a bit trickier. Photos of their new partner hanging out with your old friends might be too much for your to handle.

But what about when those photos creep up on your current partner’s social media pages?

Huffington Post blogger Oscar Raymundo has an interesting take on how Instagram — the latest craze in social media platforms — is creating a self-indulged gay community.

“I have a photo of myself, wet and shirtless, standing in front of a mirror,” Raymundo blogged last month on his Confessions of a Boy Toy” blog at HuffPo.

“I have another photo of me flexing while licking my bicep. A third photo is a closeup of my face, pouty lips, my Marlon Brando. These photos are hidden in a folder on my computer titled ‘ME.’ I shudder at the thought of publishing them anywhere online, but if I were to post them, I'd definitely post them on Instagram.”

And that’s exactly what Raymundo says many gay men are doing — posting nonstop photos of themselves in mirrors, shirtless, out in clubs, lounging around, etc.

“For gay men, it's a full-on display of the self,” Raymundo wrote. “Posting a photo of one's exotic travels or award-winning imagery will get considerably less ‘likes’ than a GPOY (gratuitous photo of yourself) baring a little chest hair. And this dynamic only propels a push to bare more. First the chest hair, then the filtered abs, maybe a silhouette of the butt, and next thing you know, you're waiting for everyone at the gym to leave so that you can take a self-portrait in front of the mirror while you lift your shirt up with your teeth.”

The craze isn’t exclusive to gay men, though, as straight men and women also tend to post photo after photo of themselves — provocative, silly, sexy or just boring.

But a little flirting and some skin is OK, apparently.

In Raymundo’s post, one man he interviewed said the private shots are “for me and my boyfriend.”

We’ve all seen or been part of a Facebook spat with a partner. Who among hasn’t seen a relationship status go from “in a relationship” to “it’s complicated” on Facebook?

*Crickets*

My point exactly.

And, chances are, that relationship change — short-lived or not — likely happened because of a photo upload or comment on a past fling’s post.

Using the internet and all of its social networking sites certainly isn’t a fad. Without a doubt, relationships will continue to be inundated with underlying wonders of what your partner is up to when you’re not around.

But that always has been part of any relationship — even before MySpace. It just so happens that along with posting every last kiss and hug and romantic thought about your partner also comes the insecurities of their own social media connections.

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Like this article? Check out other great pieces from Bobby Cherry for twodaymag:

     The Self-Help Section

     Spruce Up Your Online Dating Profile

     Hey, Workaholic: Are You Destroying Your Relationships?

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