My husband hates how much time I spend on Facebook. He’s not on there so he doesn’t get how much fun it can be to catch up with people and see what’s going on with friends. He’s asked me stay off the computer so much at night, but that’s when I have time to myself. How can I make him understand he’s not being reasonable?
JOE: Once upon a time we had to physically visit people, write letters or call them on the phone. If your husband picked up the phone and talked with his friends for hours instead of spending time with you that would be ok? Right? Especially if he did it every…single…night? Well, would it?
It’s easy to get wrapped up in Facebook. If you don’t know the news instantly you’re behind the curve. After all, nobody wants to be the 30th person to say “congratulations” to Jane after she announced her new baby. Sometimes you might even feel as though you’re missing out on life if you’re not reading your feed. But the reality is that 75% of status updates are garbage, 10% is stuff that you have no use for, 10% you already knew and the remaining 5% is stuff you wish you didn’t know. (You TMI people know who you are.)
You could always start with trying to get him engaged on Facebook and see if he finds it as interesting as you do. That way you could both sit in opposite ends of the house on separate computers and just use the chat feature to let him know if dinner’s ready. When you go out to eat you can both use your smartphones to see if any of your friends have “checked in.”
“So what” you say? No worse than sitting on the couch in front of the television? Yeah, I’d have to agree. And to ask you to not log in at all every night sounds unreasonable to me. I suspect there’s some kind of compromise to be struck. If you’re really glued to your computer for hours each night it would probably do you some good to take a break.
Tell him you’ll scale back Facebook time to something reasonable. Better yet, find something in the real world to do. Go to a movie with the hubby. Have a date night. Go check out that new Thai restaurant.
Besides, you could always use a better status update than “sitting at home scrolling through lol cats.”
MICHAEL: How about you find out what’s going on with your husband? If you want to catch up with your friends then give them a call. Facebook has made it so easy to watch our “friends” that it’s become a form of entertainment. I wouldn’t have as much trouble with it if you were only friends with people you were truly your friends. That wouldn’t take very long at all.
Just remember your best friend is sitting there beside you being ignored while you spend time reading about people whose life you really don’t have a vested interest in.
If it’s really necessary that you do this, set a timer for a reasonable time(15 minutes?) then quit. Don’t use it on your phone. Don’t sneak around and check updates.
Remember, where you spend your time shows what you care about.
RICHARD: If he wants you to stay off Facebook entirely, then he is being unreasonable. If he’d like you to spend a moderate amount of time on social media, mostly so you can spend some time together in the evening and you don’t want to, you’re being unreasonable.
It’s easy to lose track of time in cyberspace and often folks end up cruising away from Facebook and spend tons of time in other mental black holes like on youtube or shopping online. They think they’re on there a short time but they flush whole evenings down the toilet spending time online.
So, check your actual time spent in front of the screen doing the Facebook thing.
If it’s a half hour or so, I think you’re good. If you’re spending hours on Facebook every day “catching up with people” it’s way beyond cool. If you only do a half hour at a time but you check back five times in the evening, once again, too much.
No matter how much fun you’re having, would you think it was reasonable for him to, say, spend a couple of hours every evening in the bar or at the gym? What if every evening he got up and simply walked outside for a half-hour at a time a couple of times a night?
If you say, sure, because it’ll let me hang out more on Facebook, you have deeper issues.
Does your Facebook profile picture look like a Glamour Shot? Do you post more pics of yourself than your family? Do you feel compelled to tell the world every time your child takes a poop? Would a casual reader come away from reading your Facebook page feeling you’re self-obsessed, needy or preachy?
News flash: Facebook does not make you smart, or clever or important. It just makes some people think they are.
Step away from the machine and spend some time with your husband. Unless, of course, he’s a controlling nut job and that’s the core of his request. He’s probably telling you he misses you and wants to hang out. He’s telling you he thinks you’re smart and clever and important.
Don’t prove him wrong.
Got a question for our anonymous panel of husbands? We’ll pass it along to them and you might just see the answer to your question in our next “Guys Tell All” post. Just email Mindi and Kelli at firstname.lastname@example.org