WASHINGTON – It’s Valentine’s Day. A day filled with fun and sexpectations, but also opportunities, which in the instant gratification social media era also includes doing things you’ll regret the day after.
It’s also a day for the 1 Billion Rising campaign, where people stand up, speak out, dance and come out against violence against women and girls. As we learn of Oscar Pistorious being charged with the murder of his girlfriend, #1BillionRising has even more meaning.
Most of you know don’t know that I spent a decade or so in the relationship, dating and sex industries, starting out as a relationship consultant. The big thing that’s changed since then is the social media world and that personal ads and online dating have morphed into a huge industry.
Nothing has impacted relationships more than social media, however, younger women have also allowed it to change how they function in a relationship.
Suffice to say that women have never had greater ability to control the whole cycle, but have relinquished much of it, because of how men have reacted to the ease of social media. A much longer explanation is required, but what women really need to know is that technology hasn’t changed the basic human instincts and predilections of men. So, don’t be seduced by ease of communication and group outings, because men will lap up easy connection as long as women play that game and allow them to get away with it. Of course, if you like group dates instead of intimate dates one on one, go for it, but just remember you made the choice to embrace a “post-dating” philosophy. Many men will appreciate it, because it makes things easier for them.
Researchers recently found through three separate studies too much social media sharing can harm intimacy. This isn’t shocking to me, it proves that some things never change even if technology does.
Working with Omri Gillath, associate professor of psychology at KU, the researchers first determined what constituted high self-disclosure on Facebook, then correlated that with the high-disclosers’ feelings of lower satisfaction and intimacy in their romantic relationships. A second study found that the romantic partners of Facebook blabbermouths also had lower estimates of their relationship quality.
Lastly, the KU researchers created two mock Facebook walls, one of which featured a circumspect user — who briefly mentioned sports and weather and linked to items of interest on the Internet — the other of which had a user who let it all hang out, bemoaning parents, classes, weight problems and posting a plethora of party pictures.
“We asked participants to imagine that these were the Facebook walls of their romantic partner,” Lee said. “We found that people who were given the high-disclosure wall felt less intimacy with the user than people who were given the low-disclosure wall.”
Back in the old days, the 90s, before social media and online dating exploded, trying to get women to use the power they had in personal ads, the only game at the time, was very difficult. Women reaching out into platforms like the personals, which morphed into online dating institutions like Match.com, learned that women control what happens in relationships, though it was never easy convincing them that they did.
Social media is great for friendships and spectacular for finding relationship, but what women today still don’t understand is that an intimate, romantic relationship requires a lot more finesse than a simple friendship. That dating isn’t about ease and that “friends with benefits” isn’t a great way to start a romance with someone you consider relationship material.
At least today women can choose whether they even want marriage and also feel freer to have long-term relationships without long-term commitment. Serial monogamy was always my choice, even when it was frowned upon, with other people’s opinions never meaning anything to me, including when I was younger.
Even married people, especially women, find out that if they blab to their friends about details inside the marriage it can create an uncomfortable situation for yourself, your friendship, but also with your husband.
The modern era is tough on long-term relationships. It begins with women being completely independent of men’s financial prowess, because women have their own money and sometimes even a better job and a more solid future. It is emphasized through our long lifespans and the different passages we experience today.
Today, it’s becoming more of a woman’s world every day. In the social media era that can get complicated, especially if you choose to make your public profile transparent to everyone. It’s a bad idea, ladies.
As for sharing on Facebook and other platforms, just because there are social media trends and everyone’s doing it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea or will get you what you want.
Some things never change, starting with that if you want intimacy between you and your lover keep the details between the two of you.
Taylor Marsh, is an author and veteran political analyst who has contributed to Huffington Post, The Hill, U.S. News & World Report, as well as cable outfits from Al Jazeera to CNN and beyond. Author of The Hillary Effect, Marsh’s book is available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon. Her new-media magazine www.taylormarsh.com covers national politics, women, foreign policy, and culture.