When is it OK to “Friend Request” someone you don’t know of the opposite sex when in a relationship? Hard to believe, this is a common question among many other social media related issues that continue to come up, creating unnecessary doubt or conflict in relationships.
Unfortunately, I have seen too many relationships fall apart due to social media temptations and illusions. The best thing you can do when in a committed relationship is establish healthy, respectable boundaries. Those boundaries may vary from relationship to relationship, whether these boundaries include allowing open access to your social media account or agreeing not to friend unknown members of the opposite sex. Whatever the agreement is, it needs to be acceptable to both parties and honored.
Recently, I received a call from a candidate of The Ultimate Matchmaker. Her first question was, “Jennifer, who is Mr. X? He sent me a friend request and you are the only mutual connection….but he is very handsome!” My immediate reaction was, “Yes, he’s handsome, and yes he is VERY married.” Thus the discussion of appropriate social media behavior began. She asked, “why do married men do this?” My response was, “It’s not just men …women equally do the same.” The answer is simple: he shouldn’t do that. No one in a committed relationship should friend unknown, attractive people of the opposite sex!
Sure, social media has changed our world in so many positive ways, but it is definitely a cause of issues within relationships. It has a tendency of showing us an illusion of the ideal person; beautiful photoshopped pictures, photos of fabulous vacations or moments of “something” that we would rather be doing than what we are personally doing at that particular moment. Most people share the positives almost like a “brag” page-the days they look the best and are in a very happy place. This creates a ‘grass is always greener’ appearance, but this is NOT the reality; no one looks photo-ready 24/7, nobody’s life is perfect, and it isn’t the norm for most people to air their dirty laundry on social media feeds. I can talk for hours about the pros and cons of social media, but today I specifically want to address the reoccurring question, “Do you think it is appropriate that my significant other “friends” someone of the opposite sex they don’t know?” My first response is always a question back (looking for a clear understanding of the situation), “what was the purpose?” The only justified answer I still struggle with sometimes (depending on their career or profession) is this for personal gain? Is this for professional purposes? If so, was there another professional approach to connect? Was social media the only option? If the answer was yes, is their reasoning justified-does it make sense? Otherwise, I firmly believe the answer is NO -it is not appropriate to friend request an unknown attractive member the opposite sex when in a monogamous, committed relationship.
I always tell my coaching clients, “If you don’t know someone of the opposite sex personally and you are tempted to send them a “Friend Request” for some reason other than to create a business contact, don’t do it!” You are in a relationship, and you are committed! And when you claim it’s for a business contact ask yourself, is this really something for business or just an excuse? There is no healthy rational reason you need to have an unknown beautiful woman or attractive man as a social media friend. If you find yourself wanting to “Friend Request” someone like this, instead ask yourself “is there something lacking from my relationship where I need this unknown person in my life?” Or call me, I’ll coach you through what’s going on!
Relationships at times can be challenging, so don’t put an unnecessary strain on your relationship that is preventable. Instead, strengthen your relationship by creating social media boundaries that respect both parties. Here are a couple tips that will help your relationship and prevent social media issues-
If I haven’t made it completely clear by now, rule number #1-don’t “Friend Request” an unknown member of the opposite sex!
While looking at your social media and your partner appears, have them join in on what you are seeing and talk about what your feed is showing. Keep in mind there is no difference in sharing what’s going on your feed than talking about what’s going on in your life or with your friends. Look to include verses to exclude.
Are you thinking about posting something about your relationship or your partner? Always make sure what you are sharing is something you would both be comfortable with. If there is ever a doubt, ask your partner first. Your relationship is too valuable to hurt someone you love. A sign of a strong, healthy relationship is when your partner hears everything from you first- positive or negative! In today’s world, we find out so much information from social media. Don’t allow it to become a source of communication between you both, meaning it’s important to make sure whatever you share on social media-a new job or a fabulous vacation with a friend-that you shared it with your significant other prior to posting it. People want to hear things first hand. A great example, recently one of my candidate’s shared something that bothered her in a previous relationship when her ex got a promotion, the first call he made was to his best friend. And before he chose to tell his then-girlfriend, his friend posted a big congratulations on social media. That is how she found out about his promotion and as happy as she was for him, it hurt her that she didn’t hear it directly from him.
When in a serious relationship or married, don’t hesitate to share passwords. Complete disclosure creates confidence and trust, plus it ultimately takes any unknown worry away. Obviously if you’re committed you trust each other so it shouldn’t be a big deal for your partner to share in all you do or even have your passwords.
As a matchmaker and relationship expert, I hear it all! And I hear the real truth; and
definitely the truth your partner may not be sharing with you. Social media has been a
point of contention that has brought conflict and doubt into relationships more often
than not. My clients know confidentiality is a pillar of my business, so they literally tell
me everything! Therefore, based on what I have seen over my years as a relationship and dating expert, I stand firm in my opinion; when committed, focus on setting your
relationship up for success!