Is Your Relationship Better On Facebook Than In Real Life?
Facebook and other social media has been responsible for bringing people together, including my husband and I. We first started dating on and off more than 15 years ago for about three years until we eventually went our separate ways. About 10 years later, I decided to enter his name into the search section of Facebook and there he was. I sent him a message to say hi, he responded, we reconnected and three years later we are now married. Sounds like a romantic tale of social media bringing old lovers together, and it is. But outside of the obligatory birthday and wedding anniversary shout-outs or an occasional tag on a photo of our son or a video I think my husband might find informative or amusing, I avoid posting to him or about him on social media like the plague.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love being able to see my friends and family post about their loved ones, including spouses and significant others from time to time. But I’d be lying if I said some of it doesn’t get on my nerves. I’m not talking about posts of wedding photos or flicks from when you and your boo went on vacation. I’m talking about the “my wife is so perfect” or “my husband is my king and he never does anything wrong” posts. You all know what I’m talking about – and we all have them in our friends list – the couple that seems “perfect” on Facebook.
If you believe that perfect people exist in perfect marriages then this is probably all well and good to you. But the rest of us know that isn’t true. Now, that isn’t to say that I don’t find the couple who always airs their dirty laundry and who fights publicly on Facebook equally annoying. Some things we just don’t need to know. Yes, at least you know you’re not alone when you see another couple going through what all couples go through at some point – conflict — but when it comes to the good and the bad, I prefer to keep my canoodling, caressing and conflict strictly confidential – at least where social media is concerned anyway.
I tend to keep the details of my marriage to myself outside of social media as well, but there might be a time or two where I might call my sister or one of my besties to vent. They’ll listen, tell me if I’m trippin’ or not, offer advice, if asked, and then we’ll move on. But in those moments, they know what most people know: men and women get on each other’s nerves when in a relationship and my marriage is far from perfect. Which is why I feel I’d look like a fool — and a hypocrite — if I only posted status updates, photos or memes depicting how truly blissfully happy I am.
I know what you’re thinking – you can be truly happy in a relationship even when you have relationship issues. And this is true. But what grates my nerves I guess is the façade that people put on when it comes to social media in general. We all know there’s your real self and then there’s your “social” self — the “self” you only want people to imagine online. I find that folks who only post perfect “selfies” or information of their man or woman doing “perfect” things or just being “perfect” altogether is more about them trying to convince themselves of something while trying to hide the “real truth” from the rest of us. I mean, what else would be the point of such over sharing? To me, it’s just a way to create another identity, exaggerate the whole picture or completely lie about who you are for the sake of “likes” or to stroke a delicate ego. This way, you can escape the real world by creating an alternate one. And it’s all incredibly easy to do behind a keyboard and a computer screen leaving your friends to believe that your relationship is better or worse than it actually is.
Now does this possibly sound like “hating?” Perhaps, but I can’t be the only one who notices that Facebook has impacted the way we present ourselves, our relationships and the lives we live in general, or wish we could live. So rather than having my hundreds of “friends” that include casual acquaintances, colleagues, old classmates and other folk outside of my inner circle who would only know what I show them all up in my marriage, I choose to show them nothing. My relationship status, which includes my husband’s name, and photos of my son are really all you get. You can know it’s our anniversary. You can know it’s his birthday and even how we celebrated (or not). But you won’t know that he’s a great cook, lover or handy man any more than you’d know that we had a big fight the other night either. What happens between us stays between us – on and off of social media – good, bad or indifferent.