Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Romance in the Social Media Generation: Do's and Don'ts

Once upon a time, all a person needed to worry about was how long to wait after a date to call him or her next. Now, with advances in technology, have come new matters to consider when entering the dating or relationship world

These include when not just to call the person next, but when to text them or how often. These considerations are no longer limited to phone calls or text messages anymore either, now a dater must consider when the appropriate time to send a Facebook friend request or follow your crush on Twitter, without appearing like an internet stalker. 

Even in long-term relationships, when not done appropriately or when the couple is not on the same page, sites such as Facebook or Twitter can cause problems in the relationship. Couples can be upset by certain pictures or friend requests by the opposite sex, say the ex girlfriend or boyfriend. 

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Social media can cause problems when one person is constantly updating their Twitter or checking their Facebook page while the other doesn't feel the need to even have a Facebook page. 

Many people believe that social media sites only cause strain on a relationship, but wife and mother Alexandra Samuel, Ph.D., will tell you otherwise:   Self-described Internet geek, Samuel truly believes the Internet sustains and builds a relationship, not strains it.

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She says that the presence of social media allows her and her husband of twelve years to connect while they are apart. She furthers Twitter allows for a busy couple to keep in touch throughout the day as well as have an idea of what their partner is doing while at work. She says the key to avoiding conflicts over Internet use is with open communication between a couple on what aspects of the relationship is okay to post online, how much time online is appropriate, and so on. 

Dr. Samuel stresses the importance of drawing a line between what is private information and what is okay to share. These guidelines are especially important for couples whose social media preferences are off balance. Helpful online tips for couples include taking down your old dating profile once you become serious about someone, don't post information or pictures online that you wouldn't want your partner to know or see, ask before posting information that mentions the other person, and most importantly; keep your arguments private and off the Internet. It is crucial that every couple has space, both online and offline. Fight the urges to constantly check their page, it is important to avoid obsessing over their whereabouts or what they are doing when you have your own things to do. Not cyber stalking your partner demonstrates trust and that you are comfortable with each other's independence. 

So what about with someone new? Meeting someone new is exciting, but experts say that being able to read their Facebook and Twitter profiles may take away from some of that excitement. A Facebook request or Twitter follow appears harmless, but may result in hurt feelings or drawing conclusions. Relationship experts say to avoid connection on social media sites all together when a relationship is new. It is recommended that the new couple wait at least a few weeks to a month before connecting online, depending on the couple. 

Social media sites can either help or hinder a blossoming or already developed relationship. Whether social media will help the relationship thrive or tear it apart all comes down to how you use it. Balance is the key to successful use of social media within a relationship. 

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