Partner Monitoring: Is Social Media Making You A Jealous Partner?
Are you one of the 68% of people that admit to using social media to stalk ex-partners and current partners? If you find yourself stalking your ex or partner monitoring, then you are certainly not alone. Perhaps your partner keeps liking pictures of gorgeous people that are making you feel insecure? That’s common too!
In fact, partner monitoring, ‘creeping’ and attachment anxiety are all hugely common when it comes to social media. So how can you control the jealousy, anxiety and the unhealthy online behaviours that go with it, so that it doesn’t ruin your life or relationship?
Is social media increasing your jealousy?
Social media has been great for allowing us to stay in touch with friends, form new networks and communicate with ease. However, it has also fostered some unhealthy online behaviours, especially when it comes to your relationship.
A recent study found that social media increases the likelihood of attachment anxiety. We often use social media to compare ourselves to others. In a relationship, this may manifest in scrolling through our partner’s exes, friends or colleagues. Perhaps when your partner mentions someone new, you might instantly head to their social media pages to suss this new threat out.
The jealousy spiral
If you feel threatened or jealous in a relationship, then social media makes it easier than ever to monitor your partner’s activities. However, sadly, this partner monitoring often comes from jealousy and results in more jealousy!
If your partner likes and comments on people whom you deem a threat – perhaps you think someone is prettier, sexier, fitter, more talented than you – then attachment anxiety can quickly become apparent.
As well as attachment anxiety, it can also cause a lack of confidence and poor self-esteem. If self-esteem is something that you are struggling with, then make sure to visit my Harley Street clinic for Wellbeing Wednesday on the 9th October from 6:30pm-8:30pm. Joining me is the fantastic Dr David Jack, and together we will be covering all sorts of topics to help boost your self-esteem and banish any body confidence issues.
Partner monitoring: The gender divide
An investigation analysed both men and women with their partner monitoring habits. Both men and women spend, on average, the same amount of time monitoring their partner’s online activity. This partner monitoring is also known as ‘creeping’.
So if both men and women spend time looking up their partner’s online activity, then is there the gender divide? Interestingly, the difference comes with the emotions the person is feeling. If women report feeling jealous, then they spend more time creeping on their partner’s social media. Men will usually spend the same amount of time, regardless of how they’re feeling that day.
For women, monitoring their partner is intrinsically linked to their emotions. Feeling down and jealous – more likely to spend more time pouring over social media. Feeling happy and positive – less likely to check and be fixated with social media checking.
Another difference in the time spent checking out your partner and their social media contacts is whether the person is known or not. If there is an unknown friend that your partner is talking to or ‘liking’ on social media, this spikes the jealousy and makes us more likely to spend more time partner monitoring.
Why do we monitor our partner’s online activity?
When it comes to new relationships, social media interaction will likely play a large part at the beginning of the relationship. This could be because you are friends on social media, or you were perhaps completing background social media checks before meeting them for a date.
The problem this creates is that everyone portrays a different perception online compared to what they are like in person. When you start to notice the discrepancies between your partner’s offline and online activities, doubt and jealousy can begin to kick in.
Social media is a chance to portray your best self and offers a degree of confidence that you cannot always give off in person. This means that your partner may feel more confident in telling someone what a great picture they have on social media than they would in person. For example, if your partner complimented someone in front of you, would you be jealous? Or would your jealousy only kick in if you saw a complimentary comment on a sexy Instagram picture?
With this, it is crucial to understand what is acceptable online behaviour for you and your partner. If you’re unsure, read my post on micro-cheating to find out more.
Is partner monitoring healthy?
While lots of people check up on their partner online, it typically does not offer any reassurance. As mentioned earlier, partner monitoring comes from jealousy and often creates more jealousy. So, before you stalk that new colleague at your partner’s work, think about the reason you are doing so. Will it provide any comfort? Probably not. Will it stop your jealousy? Unlikely. If you can think about this before you start looking, you may save yourself a lot of pain and worry.
If you worry that your partner monitoring is unhealthy, these are the key signs to look out for;
- Checking your partner’s feed and friends multiple times a day
- Arguing or feeling upset by how your partner acts online
- Feeling a need to look through the profiles of people that like and comment on your partner’s posts
- You become obsessed on checking on people that you suspect are exes or that you believe your partner fancies.
- You find it impossible not to look through a person’s profile who is friends with your partner.
In the next post, I will talk through the best ways to manage your partner monitoring, jealousy and self-esteem in the age of social media, so make sure you sign up to receive my latest blog post by email.
Alternatively, if you believe your partner monitoring is ruining your relationship and is making you miserable, then email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to book your free consultation. During this free consultation, we can talk about the best ways to banish jealousy and help boost your self-esteem for good.