Social Media: Helpful or Hurtful in Relationships?

Recently, I read an article about the use of social media and how we can use it in a positive way.  Being a complete Facebook addict and nosy by nature, I’m always curious to see how people use this particular outlet to engage with one another.

The article I read dealt with friendships and how to make social media work for us.  Sadly, what I see are a lot of people using social media as a communication tool in relationships and it’s working against us.  The rants and on-goings I’ve seen on Facebook are astounding.

I’m not innocent.  I’ve vented.  I’ve thrown my frustration out on to Facebook.  My feeling is most of us do this because we are seeking support.  We hope that someone will take our side, commiserate, and back us up on whatever it is upsetting us.  We need someone to stand up and go “Hey!  I know how you feel and you are right!”  It’s only natural for us to want to turn to friends in time of need.  Unfortunately, there is a flip-side – the people who use social media as a way to get back at someone who has hurt them.  I’ve seen it many times.  Being honest, I must admit I’ve done this, as well.  These kind of posts are passive-aggressive and unhealthy, to say the least.  When we replace verbal communication with a Tweet or FB status, we hurt ourselves and ultimately further hurt the ones we love.

So what is the solution?  I’ve given it some thought.  I came up with talking.

So simple it’s mind-blowing, huh?

To share a personal experience:  my boyfriend and I encountered problems from venting on Facebook.  Big problems.  We found ourselves in this very weird place where we would be sitting in the same room, venting on Facebook, commenting to one another on Facebook yet not speaking one single word to one another.  WE WERE IN THE SAME ROOM.  It quickly became cause for concern.  What did we do?  We put down our cell phones and started talking.  It was not easy.  We had gotten so used to throwing it all out in a public forum that speaking personally to one another seemed a bit foreign.  You’ve heard how sometimes it’s easier to write how we feel instead of speaking about our feelings?  It’s true.  He and I are both this way.  We are writers and written words are what we relate to.

It was slow at first.  Attempting to talk seemed to lead to more frustration, interrupted sentences, fighting, sleeping in separate rooms, and still even more silence but this time without using Facebook because we made the agreement we’d not do that ever again.  So, no Facebook venting, no talking…let me tell you that things will bubble to the surface quickly and explode.  This is exactly what you do NOT want to happen.  Avoid it.  Take time to make rules for communication.  Rules are perfectly acceptable, even desired in any relationship worth working on.  Make that promise to NEVER use social media as a way to communicate with the one you love.  Promise to listen.  Promise to speak to one another only after you’ve both had time to calm down.  Understand that no relationship is perfect and there will be miscommunication at times.  That’s okay.  Work through it TOGETHER.

There is a very real and palpable emotional detachment when we use social media as a way to communicate.  Often our words are misleading and come across as colder than we intended.  If we are determined to keep relationships alive and healthy we need the emotion.  We need to feel the love, the compassion, the acceptance and we need to know we’re actually being heard.  Those things are basic human requirements and by removing them we’re setting ourselves up for pain and loneliness.

Take the time today and every day to TALK to the one you love.  You’ll be amazed at how much it is appreciated and simply blown away by how much better you both feel afterwards.  Trust me.

P.S.  I’m happy to report that boyfriend and I are good now.  It has taken us about a year to truly learn how to communicate with one another and it’s not perfect but we are definitely in a better place.  The hard work was totally worth it.

The Power of Hugs

Dear Man I Wish I Could Afford to Divorce, 

Now that I no longer wish to kill you, I’d like to take a moment to thank you for two very important things.

1.  Leaving.  Granted, I was bitter in the beginning but now I see it is the best thing that could have ever happened.  I am having a blast raising our child and it turns out my Mom and best friend make better co-parents than you.

2.  Hugs.  I had a Moment of Clarity yesterday where I realized how throughout our marriage you never failed to hug me daily.  Even if we weren’t getting along, you hugged me.  It meant something.

Sincerely, 

The Woman Who REALLY Wishes We Were Legally Divorced

It’s true.  During my marriage to Rick, he always made time to hug me in the morning and at night.  I’ve realized lately how much I miss that kind of connection.  Not from him but in general.

I get hugs from my kid, my Mom, my Daddy and other family.  My best friend hugs me every time I see her.  If I’m feeling down, my online friends are quick with a cyber hug.  All of those hugs are important to me!

The kind of hug I’m talking about though is the one you get from a partner, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, special person in your life – whatever you want to call this person.  I miss this more than I can say.

Various definitions of hugs include:  form of nonverbal form of communication; universal form of physical intimacy;  indication of familiarity, love, affection, friendship or sympathy; a demonstration of affection and emotional warmth.

Hugs have health benefits, as well.  According to ThirdAge.com:

Studies show that folks who are regularly hugged by their close friends and family have reduced heart rates, lower blood pressure, increased nerve activity and more upbeat moods. A survey of successful marriages even showed that hugging and touching (not sexual intercourse), were the key factors in keeping the relationship long-lasting.

A recent Canadian study shows that an affectionate cuddle is more beneficial in bringing up positive emotions and improving our frame mind than regularly visiting the church. Another study showed that people who got regular hugs were twice as likely to describe their mental health as first rate.

Based on how I’ve felt this past year, I’m inclined to believe all of this as fact.

I believe a lack of physical intimacy (not sex but the rest of it) is playing a big factor in my increased anxiety levels which, by the way, are through the damn roof and very close to out of my control.

On the flip side, I’ve been so used to being alone that I’m at a point where I’m afraid to let anyone get close.  This presents a problem as currently there is a man I am very interested in and I feel he is truly interested in me.  I’m pushing him away when all I want to do is pull him closer.  For a hug.

So fingers crossed, okay?  I need to get past this ridiculous yet real fear of allowing myself to be hugged again.

Hugs 4

Why Relationships Fail

Before I even begin I’m going to play it safe and toss out the disclaimer I used in yesterday’s blog

**DISCLAIMER:  Please note, before you get all wadded up and unable to resist the urge to tell me how wrong I am, I am ONLY speaking from a personal perspective.  I do NOT speak for all men and women.  I do NOT claim to be any kind of expert on relationships although I damn well have the right because I’ve been through 3 marriages/divorces and countless other failed affairs.  So keep calm and just think about what I’m about to say.  End disclaimer.**

Now.  Let’s do this.

As most of you know, I’m a Facebook Whore.  I’m on there ALL the time.  I can’t get enough of it.  My entire life plays out on FB and some nights I can’t sleep because all I want to do is endlessly scroll through my news feed.  I’ve got issues.  Not new information and I don’t even care that I’m addicted.  However, from time to time (or almost every day) I see things that make me scratch my head and wonder and because I am a classic over-thinker that’s not hard to do.

There is this page I’ve liked that is basically a girl’s diary of sorts.  Status updates are written to sound like a girl is writing to her boyfriend or ex-boyfriend, whichever the case may be.  Some of it is helpful and I’ve hung on to it for that reason but some of it is just stupid and reasons why relationships fail.  For example:

1

YOU CAN’T.

How do people get it in their heads that love means being miserable?  People, it is not love that hurts!  Love is not supposed to be painful.

2

NEGATIVE ATTITUDES.

Wrong!  Don’t go into ANY relationship focusing on what you will lose.  Focus on what you will gain.  If you go into it already thinking about what you might lose, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

4

PLEASE DON’T.

This is just a me thing but unless you know I’m awake at 3 a.m., don’t call unless your bleeding and dying.  Tell me you love me after I wake up and have had coffee.  Then you can share with me that you were thinking of me at 3 a.m.  I’ll love you more for not calling and waking me up.

5

BULLSHIT.

If someone you are in a relationship sends you a text, take time to respond.  ACKNOWLEDGE this person you are supposedly in love with!  If you can’t do that much then what is the point?  What damn good are you?

6

DOUCHEBAG.

Nobody and I do mean NOBODY should ever take advice from this asshole.  The man has a fondness for hookers.  What the hell does he know?  Go through life pretending you don’t have a heart and see how lonely you end up.  Go into a relationship pretending you have no heart and you don’t care and you, my friend, are destined to fail.

7

COMMUNICATE.

He needs to know.  He needs to show.  Vice-versa.  SO IMPORTANT!  Leave no room for doubt.

8

WOW.

Don’t let another person define who you are.  Be the you that YOU want to be and do that on your own.  Don’t count on others for happiness.  I firmly believe we all fare better in relationships (and life) if we go into them having a sense of self and our own personal hopes and dreams.  If we chose to make someone a part of them then that’s great but don’t convince yourself you can’t succeed without that person in your life.  This one could end up in a blog of its own!

I worry about our younger generation.  Is this the kind of information they are picking up?  Praying my kid doesn’t fall for this kind of crap.

Before I go, let me say this.  I totally get that I come across as a bitch and selfish in my relationship related posts.  I’m not.  I mean I can be both but as a rule, I’m not.  The reason for all of this is because I’ve done a ton of soul-searching and contemplating and have gotten to a place where I know what it’ll take to make me happy.  On the flip side, I’ve done just as much OVER-THINKING on where I’ve gone wrong, the mistakes I’ve made and what I can do to change in order to make someone else happy.  Affairs of the heart are a two-way street and it takes two to make them successful and fulfilling.  I just hope that my next boyfriend doesn’t get his love advice from Facebook.

Between Men and Women


Probably I should post some kind of disclaimer here so let me do that from the rip…

**DISCLAIMER:  Please note, before you get all wadded up and unable to resist the urge to tell me how wrong I am, I am ONLY speaking from a personal perspective.  I do NOT speak for all men and women.  I do NOT claim to be any kind of expert on relationships although I damn well have the right because I’ve been through 3 marriages/divorces and countless other failed affairs.  So keep calm and just think about what I’m about to say.  End disclaimer.**

The other day I was watching something on TV.  Don’t remember what but the guy said to his alleged girlfriend, “Can’t you just lighten up?  Go with the flow?”  This as a result of her asking him exactly what was going on with their relationship.  I thought to myself, “No you idiot.  We can’t just lighten up and go with the flow.  We’re women!  We NEED to know!  Get a clue dumbass.”  That led to this blog.

Women (some women, not all – relax) can’t really go with the flow.  While men are good at seeing details and the little every day things, women are big picture thinkers.  We (Or is it just me?  I really am not sure) need to see ahead.  We need to plan.  We need to know EXACTLY what role the man in our life plays in our future.  We daydream.  We want to know if we can include our man in said daydreams.  We need to be secure and feel safe and we need to know if our man will make us feel that way.

I can go with the flow of everything EXCEPT relationships with men.

Plumbing goes to pot (haha), no problem.

Bad hair day?  Ponytail.

Feeling lazy?  Not going to care but will go back to bed.

Car trouble?  Screw it.  Call AAA and let them handle it.

Life experiences seldom ever faze me.  Shit happens, not busting a sweat and I’m rolling with the punches but with relationships, I have to know.  I have to know what it means to a man.  I need to know where I fit into his life.  Call me selfish or paranoid or just plain bitchy – I don’t care – but that’s how I am.  I don’t do wishy-washy very well at all.  To me, it’s all about being honest and saying what you feel.  Why NOT express how you feel?  Maybe you’re not good with words. That’s okay!  Be creative.  Find a way.

And THAT leads me to this…

About a week ago a friend got a text from a guy that said, “When will I get to see you?”  READ:  Booty call!  Men, we are NOT stupid.  Know this.  Don’t play games.  Don’t beat around the bush.  Don’t think for one second we can’t see through the lines and the insane loads of bullshit you throw at us.  If all you’re after is sex, say it.  Think you’ll offend us?  You might but at least we’ll give you credit for being truthful.  If we’re not offended you might also get laid.  Want something more from a relationship?  Tell us.  Will we want the same?  Don’t know but neither will you if you don’t try.  Want to just be friends?  That’s perfectly okay.  Who doesn’t enjoy making new friends?

(This is where that whole don’t get mad and start yelling at me about how wrong I am thing comes into play.  That last paragraph applies to women as well, so men you should know we know there are some of us out there that aren’t worth a damn when it comes to relationships.  We get it or at least I do).

Relationships are scary.  After you’ve had your heart broken time and time again it gets harder each time to put yourself out there and trust.  Nobody wants to get hurt but if we don’t take risks and we don’t honestly express ourselves are we not risking more by losing what could possibly be a great thing with someone who cares for us?

Love worth a leap of faith?  I believe it is.  Most definitely.

Something to think about and this goes for men and women:  listen to your instincts.  People don’t give themselves near enough credit for what their intuition tells them.  Focus and give it a try.   You’ll be surprised at how well you become at weeding through the losers and the ones who just want to waste your time.  Trust me.  I’m focused NOW and I know.

9

Those 3 Little Words

Yes.  I am being a bit cliché.

I Love You.  Those 3 little words.  Powerful, aren’t they?

Something else I’ve learned about myself over the last few years is I need to hear those words.  I don’t need to hear them every single day but I need to hear them.

I also need to say them.  It isn’t enough for me to just assume the people in my life know that I love them.  I’ll go all cliché on you again and say that life is short and as my Daddy puts it, “You just never know what a day will bring.”  He’s right.

The one thing wrong with the relationship I had with F. was that I could never tell him I loved him.  When I did it was just awkward.  He said it to me from time to time and it was nice to hear but it almost felt as if he did it because he felt some kind of obligation.  I won’t speculate on whether he was sincere or not because there is no way for me to know.  Not going there.

My point here is the one thing I KNOW I need in a relationshipbis love.  I need to feel it, show it, say it, and hear it.  I don’t want anyone to feel it’s an obligation.  I am no longer a one-night-stand-this-doesn’t-have-to-mean-anything kind of girl.  I want the real thing.

Know if I tell you I love you that I MEAN IT.  I don’t take it lightly and when I express it, it’s real.

Love 1

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