Relationships should include trust, respect, autonomy, and companionship in a monogamous relationship. And we being the social media-driven society, have navigated this territory uncharted. Are you in a relationship and have found your partner’s social media “likes” offensive and/or disrespectful?
What exactly is respectful versus disrespectful likes in social media etiquette in a relationship?
Today, I want to focus on 7 key insights on your partner’s choices:
1. The Power Of A Social Media “Like”
Communication is largely not about the words you say, but how it’s expressed. Especially in body language. Therefore, our visual way of communicating has a bigger impact on what we express to another.
Consequently, the use of “likes”—including emojis & comments—can be read by the receiver as constructing an open bridge of communication. Especially if the person is the gender your partner is attracted to.
Social media “likes” are powerful. Just as communication is powerful. “Likes” are a form of communication. Period.
2. What Is Your Partner’s Social Media “Likes” Intention?
Is your partner a friendly person? Are they flirtatious? Where are they on the Monogamy/Polyamory spectrum?
Sometimes we can have a partner who is sincerely friendly and open to liking photos of acquaintances and strangers. However, if a partner is oblivious or in denial that their “likes” could lead to something more—they are in denial.
The ONLY intention we can be fully 100% certain of—is our own.
We might have incredibly innocent and friendly intentions. But how another person receives a “like” or a “follow” may receive it very differently.
2. Because Trust Is Not Just About “Trusting”
I wrote in this article about how trust and jealousy are intertwined. More importantly, how the “just trust me” card is often used—as a form and tactic of manipulation.
Trust is not just about “trusting”: it’s about making the conscious effort to not put ourselves in risky & compromising situations.
THAT’S trust. Having the foresight to prevent. Because ideally, we should be able to trust our partners fully. But mixing and entangling ourselves with a complete stranger—and expecting them to respect our relationship as equally as our partner does—is foolish.
3. Do You Trust The Person You “Liked” On Social Media?
Ask your partner this question. Do they trust that the person’s photos and videos they been following and liking consistently, respect you and your relationship?
Pay attention carefully to how they react and respond. Defensiveness is not a good sign.
We can all appreciate a good looking and attractive photo. But it’s not imperative to let the person who posted that media to know it. It’s not a dire need.
4. Because Most Divorces Are Now Spearheaded From Social Media
Social media “likes” and behaviors are playing a role in divorces. The explosion of online dating and hookups has never made it easier to open our phones and minds to the fantasies of experiencing other people outside our current partner. It can be fantasy itself that drives one to obsessive and selfish means.
Remember: if the grass is greener on the other side—start watering your lawn.
Social media “likes” and behaviors are risky to relationships because they open up comparison: what we have versus what we don’t have. And it’s in the insidious in-between of weighing our options that our focus becomes blurred.
Our energy is no longer on our partner, but on the “what ifs” & “what could be better”—placing more faith in the unknown.
5. Social Media “Likes” & Behaviors Are Open For Everyone To See
Our behaviors online are not private. Even the “Terms & Agreements” of most social media platforms explicitly explain this.
A “like”; follow; comment; including “sliding in the DM” are never private. Because the power of the screenshot is very real.
It’s not helpful to a relationship if your partner is consistently liking explicit and over-sexualized photos and videos. Where every person who knows them can see their behavior.
6. Do You Leave Your Porn Out Available For Everyone To See?
Ask your partner this question. Do they leave their browser open with the last video they masturbated to? For their mother; father; sister; brother; coworker; boss; a niece; nephew…to see?
No. They don’t. And why is that?
Because it’s rude. And private. What we “get off to” isn’t for everyone to observe, have evidence, analyze, and burned details into their minds.
Consistently liking “thirst traps”; explicit and over-sexualized images/videos, or communicating & signaling to another person they find their content to be “super sexy” or “super attractive”—is disrespectful to you.
7. Are You In A Monogamous Relationship?
Social media “likes” can pull into question the degree of whether or not someone sees themselves in an exclusive monogamous relationship with you, or in an open relationship with you…or is heading there without your knowledge.
As stated in the last point, when you “like”; follow; and/or like another person [of the gender you are attracted to] you are leaving behind evidence for others to see.
Other people are witnessing evidence of what you “like”. Evidence of what “excites” you. And evidence of what “turns you on”.
These are very personal experiences—for most people. Keep it that way.
Should you be upset if your partner “likes” and follows others [of the gender they are attracted to]? More specifically, “thirst traps”? I think this behavior is okay when single. But in a committed relationship, some people find it okay. And other relationships, it’s not okay.
Because some relationships are in different places on the Monogamy/Polyamory spectrum.
Your most important job is to find out beforehand where you are on that spectrum…and where your potential partner is. Furthermore, I believe in checking in to navigate if they have changed their positioning. Never assume a person is forever static.
Above all, know your value. It’s never your job to be “understanding” to disrespect. Your job is not to mother, father—parent—your partner on how to respect you. You show your respect: through your actions.
Even if that means walking away. If you’ve clearly and kindly expressed yourself, your needs, and your fears. And they still choose to commit to their choices? Be kind to you, and know you deserve better.
Have Courage & Vibe Well,