Monday, May 24, 2010

How Facebook, Blogging, And Other Social Media Affects Your Relationship

I did a guest post today, so that will replace my normal Science & Medicine Monday post. Here it is. I've still put the majority of it below though. Enjoy.

Thanks so much to Sage and Shelle for letting me do this guest post for a blog they both write for! You can see it posted there! Below is most of it.

This blog post is going to be specifically about my current relationship (informed by past ones). I think that all this social media (or the lack of it) has been fantastically wonderful for my relationship. Fantastically wonderful might be over-reaching, but I stand by it.

The guy I'm currently seeing is different from previous guys. Some differences include: very busy; very involved in his career; divorced with a kid; slightly older. These things make it a bit difficult for me, as I am used to being is somewhat consuming relationships. This guy, we'll call him PT, doesn't have the time for (and probably doesn't want) a consuming relationship.

BLOGGING. There is a big adjustment factor there for me. When I want to see him or talk to him and he can't get back to me for hours or maybe even days, I begin to think mutinous thoughts. I think out entire monologues worth of rude voice mails designed to evoke unpleasant images. I plan (out loud) entire tomes of rude e-mails designed to express my frustrations like he's never heard before. But then I don't do it. I blog. I type out my frustrations, realize they sound bitter and sad, and fix them so they only sound a bit that way. It buys him some extra time to get un-busy without knowing I have an all-consuming person lurking underneath the surface. And I'm becoming less that way as I read back some older posts. All I can think is, "who is that person??" and "no wonder I'm not married yet!"" But blogging about the bad stuff makes blogging about the good stuff feel all the much better.

Why not just tell him I want more time and see if he can fix it? Because I want to do things different with this guy. I don't want to demand more from him than he can give. And he's only been divorced for about two years. I think he could use a break from someone fussing at him and pointing out his flaws for a while. So, blogging helps me to be a better half of the relationship and gives him more time to do him.

FACEBOOK. I had a Facebook account, he didn't. This was great! I didn't have to see pictures of him with his ex, all hugged up and super happy. I know I can't be alone in loathing that first glance at the Facebook page of the new man in your life. And because he didn't have an account, I didn't have to worry about the content on mine. There's nothing too bad on my page, but there were a couple of things I was glad to not try to pre-emptively explain. You know, why I'm sitting on that guy's lap and the picture is dated a month after we started dating. It's easily enough explained, the picture is older than that, but the person just now posted it, and besides that guy is just a friend. I've heard stories of these convos way too often to want to engage in them. It's the same with MySpace. He doesn't have a MySpace account either.

SKYPE. Best. Invention. Ever. I figured it would suck to date someone who lived in a different city than myself. But PT suggested Skype as a way for us to still see each other. The hopeless romantic in me immediately began envisioning internet "dates" where we make the same meal and sit down and eat together, drinking wine and talking. Or when we just have Skype up and are talking and also doing other things, just to feel like we're in the same place. It hasn't nearly lived up to those sky-high standards, but it's been a useful tool to actually see his face and spend some time learning his reactions. It was nice to know what he looked like when he got sleepy, turned on, amused, and distracted. I learned all of this before we had even been on a proper date because we met right before I went back to my town for a month and a half.

OTHERS. Even though it's not officially social media, instant messaging, texting, voice mail, and e-mailing is the saving grace of our relationship. Seriously. It has allowed us time to get to know each other. My favorite is when he instant messages me from work whenever he sits in on a class. It's an interesting running commentary. If only his students could see what he was typing. And we text when we're busy just to say hi. And I have a very intimate relationship with his voice mail. Interestingly, I've never checked to be sure that he actually checks his voicemail? That could come in handy in case I ever do leave a mutinous voice mail one day...

2 New Hypotheses:

Oh, I love your new look!

Text messaging kind of ruined my last relationship. It was long distance like yours and texting back and forth did nothing to me except bore me. I hated having him text me a running commentary on what he was doing at any given moment. And it gave him an excuse to stop trying to actually get to know me. That hurt.


Thanks, I'm loving it too, and I'm so happy it turned out just the way I wanted it to!

The way you describe texting is sort of similar to how it is between PT and I, but I kind of like it. It makes me feel like I know how he's doing and what he's doing even though I'm not around him that much. But if that was the entirety of our relationship and we never got deeper, it would eventualy piss me off.

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