Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Is the Internet Negatively Affecting Our Relationships?

The other morning on a local radio station they did a segment on the danger that sites like Facebook and Myspace pose to married couples. They sited a survey that stated 40 % of the couples coming in for counseling gave online networks as the main source of conflict in their marriage. With all of the new ways to get in touch with old friends, have the boundaries of appropriateness been blurred? When is the line crossed when chatting with people online?

In my opinion, for what it is worth, it is perfectly acceptable for people to be friends with those of the opposite sex. However, there are times when it could be leading you down a slippery slope. Here are some things that you may want to avoid:

1. We have all heard it before, but it doesn't hurt to reiterate-Don't engage in any conversation that you would not engage in in front of your significant other.

2. Don't spend the majority of your time free time online. If you are spending hours upon hours on Facebook you are obviously taking time away from people who are actually living with you.

3. Don't get caught up in the classic- the grass is always greener syndrome. Sure someone may look even cuter on their profile than they did back in high school. Maybe they have aged well or have a great job, but if they were a jerk years ago, chances are that will still resurface given time.

4. Do not, I repeat, do not friend request an ex that you have never completely gotten over. I personally noticed this the other day. Someone I know had a fiance once that they never really got over. It was one of those situations where the parents didn't approve so they just broke it off to make others happy. This person eventually got married to someone else, but never really treated her the way he treated the first fiance. I was rather shocked when I saw her, fiance #1, on his Facebook page reminiscing everyday about old times. It was also a little sad that his wife was nowhere to be found on said page.

Are these behaviors perfectly innocent? Possibly. However with so many people losing their jobs, children to raise, the always present in law issues and countless other problems is it really worth adding another potential source of conflict to the mix? Keeping in touch with family and friends can be a great thing, but making sure you have appropriate lines drawn when you are on the internet will likely save you trouble down the line.