We’re all friends with that one couple on Facebook: the couple that can’t stop posting mushy photos (hashtag: #blessed) and bragging about their relationship every chance they get. But while it may appear that they have the perfect relationship, sometimes the best sign of a healthy relationship is no sign of it on Facebook at all. Below, marriage therapists and other relationships experts share the 10 worst things you can post about your relationship.
1. Lovey-dovey posts about your spouse. Instead of bragging about how great your husband is for cleaning the house, compliment him offline. He may or may not appreciate your public declarations of love, but your Facebook friends are probably just rolling their eyes, said Marcia Naomi Berger, a psychotherapist and author of Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted. “I particularly dislike lovey-dovey posts because in my experience, the people who broadcast how great their personal lives are tend to have less-than satisfying intimate lives but still cause others to feel bad about their own, even if they’re fine,” she said.
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2. Posting pics (especially unflattering ones) without permission. Not every photo you took at last weekend’s party needs to be posted — especially the one where your wife is sporting some serious crazy eyes. “One good rule of thumb for social media and couples: Ask your partner in advance of it’s OK to post any photo that includes him or her,” said Seth Meyers, a psychologist and author of Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.
3. Jokey posts about your spouse’s shortcomings. Sure, it’s kind of cute that your spouse is so bad at cooking, even Easy Mac is a challenge. But if you’re considering posting a witty status update about it, you better make sure you get clearance from him first, said Aaron Anderson, a marriage and family therapist and owner of the Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado. “When you bring funny things your spouse did up in the right circles, there’s no harm done,” he said. “But when you post their screw-ups on social media, there’s no context behind it and there’s no filter for what crowd they get shared with. Regardless of how cute you thought it was, your spouse may not want your mother or your college ex to know about it.”
4. Cryptic posts about your spouse’s bad behavior. Your Facebook profile is not The Jerry Springer Show. Keep the accusations of two-timing — or any other questionable behavior — to yourself, advised Brenda Della Casa, a relationship expert and author of Cinderella Was a Liar: The Real Reason You Can’t Find (or Keep) a Prince. “Whether warranted or not, be careful what you announce on your Facebook page when your emotions are running high,” she said. “Better to get your facts and feelings straight before making a PR announcement.”
5. Photo posts with captions about how hot your spouse is. It’s great that you think you have the #hottesthubbyever — or that your wife deserves to be your #WCW every week — but your spouse might not be as fond of the posts as you are, Anderson said. “Posting pics of them on the beach or in their new PJs makes them (not to mention you) look superficial,” he said. “Plus, they may not want your mother and the rest of your family to see them in that outfit that makes them look so hot.”
6. Subtle digs at your partner’s ex. If it drives you nuts that your girlfriend is still Facebook friends with her ex, take it up with her. Shooting off passive aggressive comments about him on Facebook is just going to make you look bad, said dating coach and relationship expert Neely Steinberg. “It may be tempting to comment on your partner’s ex — especially if he or she is meddling in your relationship — but airing your grievances on social media is just passive aggressive,” she said. “Keep these matters between the two of you; your 1000 friends don’t need to know.”
7. The details of your fights and arguments. Save your relationship rants for your therapist or trusted friends, said marriage therapist Christine Wilke. “Strife and squabbles happen in the best of relationships, but do you need to use your status updates to let the world know that your spouse kept you up all night with his incessant snoring — or that you’re sick of her constantly flirting with the guy next door?” Wilke said. “Some things really need to be kept behind those closed doors. When you come around to making up with your partner, there’s no putting that cat back in the bag.”
8. TMI-filled posts directed toward your spouse. That “Can’t wait for you to get home tonight… 😉 ” wall post is probably best delivered as a text or through Facebook chat. Others probably find it icky. “Don’t post comments about s*x,” said psychologist Samantha Rodman. “While your husband may be flattered to read your thinly veiled allusion about your afternoon delight, your mother-in-law may be less than thrilled and your kid’s dance teacher may be outright weirded out.”
9. Passive aggressive comments about your in-laws You see an article about meddling in-laws and you can’t stop yourself from tagging your friends and writing, “Sounds like someone I know…” Fight off that urge next time, regardless of how fine-tuned your Facebook privacy settings may be, said therapist Heather Gray. “Don’t use your friends list to complain about the shortcomings of your in-laws. If you need backup from a friend, do so privately,” she said. “Don’t assume that by blocking your in-laws from your message that they won’t see what you have to say. Word gets around quickly with friends of friends.”
10. Reminders to pick up a gallon of milk on the way home. Facebook can be a great, helpful tool to catch up with friends, but it shouldn’t be a substitute for genuine connection with your partner, said Wilke. “When you’re using Facebook to figure out who’s picking the kids up tonight or to talk, it may be time to slow down and start thinking about how you can reengage in a more meaningful way offline,” she said.