Whether your partner posts some unsavory things, follows politicians you don't support, or has never liked anything you've put out on the web — if your partner's social media behavior makes you uncomfortable, you're not alone. "It is common for your partner's social media use to make you uncomfortable — several studies have found that social media monitoring of a partner’s profile online is associated [with] conflict," Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist, relationship coach and creator of Your Happiness Hypothesis Method, tells Elite Daily. "Additionally and unintentionally, knowing your partner is monitoring profiles can create insecurity within you that previously wasn’t there."
If you've ever been within earshot of a pack of teenage girls, you've probably heard some variation of, "You didn't like my recent!" Hearing people talk about the internet IRL can sometimes sound a little funny. Yet, according to Silva, if your partner's online tendencies make you uncomfortable, it's important to address the topic in person to see where your boo is coming from. "How couples handle social media and monitoring should be similar to how they deal with any other type of communication issue. Talk to your partner openly about how you want to handle social media so that you can avoid any misunderstandings or a breakup," Silva says.
If you're wondering how to broach the topic, Silva suggests checking in with yourself about why their behavior is rubbing you the wrong way. "Before approaching your partner, figure out why you’re upset. Don’t focus on the behavior, focus on what the behavior made you feel," Silva says. "Then be honest if something you found online about your partner bothers you." If your partner never posts pictures of you but frequently "likes" pictures of other couples, maybe you're feeling a little looked over by your boo. Or if they continue to follow someone that's always rude to you, you may feel like your feelings aren't being respected. Tracing your discomfort with their internet behavior to what you're actually feeling can be the key to having an open convo with your boo.
Perhaps, you may have found some uncomfortable things your partner did on the internet because you were creeping just a little. According to Silva, when talking about social media, it's important to create a judgment-free zone, where you can be honest about the things you found when you were creeping. "More than likely you found out because you were watching what they were doing, so an open and blameless discussion can help both of you better understand each other," Silva says. "Explore which direction you want to take in the conversation. Is really about social media or is it deeper relationship or communication issues?"
Maybe your boo is trying to be a standup comedian and wasn't intentionally trying to hurt your feelings when they posted a weird joke about period sex (literally been there). Or maybe their tendency to like and comment on everything everyone else posts, but not even interact with your page, means something a little more (been there too). Whatever the reason for the behavior, being upfront and openminded can help you get to the bottom of it. "There may be other underlying questions unrelated to social media like trust, commitment, amount of quality time spent together that can be explored with your partner. Let your partner know what the real issue is and what you need from them," Silva says.
According to Silva, the best way to address your discomfort is to be as direct as possible. "You might say, 'Hey, I wanted to let you know that I feel uncomfortable seeing that are liking photos of your ex on Facebook and Instagram. It made me wonder if you’re not fully over your ex. Do you still have feelings for them?'" Silva says. Of course, when bringing up their social media use, it's important to stay non-confrontational about your partner's intentions before assuming the worst. "Remember that what your partner thinks is acceptable [may be different than what you think is acceptable] or that they may just reflexively look at their ex because it was a habit. [Speculating] can create a cyclone of unintentional meanings to you," Silva says.
"Ask yourselves the question: What does it mean when you or your partner likes or comments on a photo or accepts a friend request? It’s important to understand their intentions, and it’s helpful to clarify things early by exploring scenarios directly with your partner." If your partner thinks the internet is a joke or has no interest in perfecting their brand, they may navigate the internet entirely different than you do. While knowing that your partner still follows their ex or often posts strings of unfunny tweets may stress you out, it's possible that they didn't put too much thought behind it. Opening conversation about what social media means to you and how their behavior makes you feel can make all the difference.
If your partner's social media use makes you uncomfortable, try to trace your discomfort back to how you're really feeling IRL. Are you sad you're not getting more Insta love and in need of some TLC? Do you kind of hate that they still follow their ex and want to talk about the role of exes in the context of your relationship? Being open and honest about what you're seeing and how it's making you feel can help defuse any social media stress that's starting to grow. You deserve to feel supported in your relationship, and that's something everyone can like and subscribe to.