We all know snooping through your partner's Instagram messages is frowned upon and that nothing good happens on Snapchat after midnight, but in a society where couples are increasingly citing dating apps and social media as their matchmakers, there must be some place for all that technology in our relationships... right? To find out whether social media is a force that can be used for good in your marriage, we asked Andrea Syrtash, relationship expert and author of Cheat On Your Husband (With Your Husband) and Susan Winter, author and relationship expert, to weigh in.
Read on for their thoughts on the right (and wrong) ways to use social media with your spouse.
Use it for celebrating milestones.
Proposals, anniversaries, baby announcements—these are the kind of posts that flood your feed (especially around the holidays). But it's these kinds of significant milestones that Syrtash would put in the acceptable column for couples. "These are moments in time you want to remember and share, and social networks can be great for that."
Use it to include each other.
When you're tagging your spouse in the meme de jour, you're doing more than just sending a laugh. You're including them in your life, and your social circle, in a meaningful way, says Winter. "With many different portals by which to connect with and include our mate, our partner can merge with our world within a matter of seconds."
Use it for support.
We hear time and again that the best relationships are rooted in friendship and a deep respect for the other person. When your S.O. gets a new job, runs a marathon, or publishes their first book, it's totally acceptable to scream it from your virtual rooftop. "It's sweet when couples support each other's career announcements and fun updates," says Syrtash. "It can be fun to experience the virtual celebration (of all of your friends and families best wishes) together."
Use it to bond.
Syrtash says shared experiences or goals are vital to a successful relationship. If your posts become a fun activity to do together rather than just an update for friends, it becomes a bonding experience. "One couple I know film funny videos together on vacation," she says. "This little project allows them to share an experience that happens to live online."
With so many ways to communicate and express your love online, it's important to ensure it doesn't become the basis of your connection. "If you incessantly post on each other's walls, especially if you're posting about how much you love each other, it may seem to others that you're trying too hard to prove your connection," Syrtash warns. "If you occasionally joke or weigh in, there's nothing wrong with that. If, however, you notice that you hardly speak in real life and are hiding behind your screens, it's time to communicate (in person!) about that issue."
Additionally, Winter adds to be mindful when posting while angry. "Beware of indulging in rants, gossip or accusations" she says "Do yourself and your relationship a favor. Become your own best editor."