Wayne and Wanda: He's concerned new girlfriend shares everything online

AnchorageMarch 21, 2013 

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

I met a girl a few months ago online. From her profile, she sounded really outgoing and active, and that's how she is in real life. She's fun, cute, has a great personality, lots of friends, a really adventurous style, and I have a really great time with her.

You're probably wondering what the problem is. Well, she puts everything online. Every time we go to a restaurant or bar, she checks in and tags me. Every time we have a date, she puts something on my page about what a great time she had. She often leaves wall posts just saying how much she likes me. Any meal we have, any place we go, there's a photo of it and a caption saying we're there together. She's constantly taking self portraits of us - whether we're snowboarding, at a bar or just hanging.

The latest was she changed her info to say she was "in a relationship" with me. I'm not opposed to that, but we haven't even talked about whether we are exclusive! I'm on Facebook, but not at this level. I'm actually pretty private. I don't know how to talk about this with her. I'm afraid if I tell her to cool it, she'll think I don't like her or I'm hiding something.

Signed,

It's Complicated

 

Wanda: While social media streamlines and eases some aspects of dating, it sure complicates others. You're clearly low-key with your online behavior, perhaps even leaning toward the lurker end of the spectrum. Now you've matched up with an uber-poster whose enthusiasm for life -- and for you -- bubbles over into the e-verse.

While social media has introduced new dynamics into relationships, at its core, this issue likely boils down to a classic misunderstanding that can be best resolved by communication. You need to talk to her.

Fair warning: When you tell her you that the visibility caused by her online behavior leaves you feeling uncomfortable, she may think you're hiding something -- that there's another woman involved, or you don't want people to know you're off the market. She may take it personally and think you don't want people to know you're involved with her. Neither of these things seems to be the case, so tell her straight-up that you really like her and that you're simply uncomfortable with personal business being out there on such a broad level. You have a right to privacy. There's room to compromise here.

As a side note, it's alarming that she told the world she was in a relationship with you before you two discussed it. It was premature and presumptuous and suggests she's both inexperienced and immature. Lucky for her, it didn't send you running. In fact, you seem fine with the label. So part two of your conversation should be a thoughtful discussion about what being in a relationship means to both of you.

 

Wayne: OMG! You've totally got a new GF! Time to tweet it from the cyber rooftops!

Not sure what the big deal is -- there's no such thing as privacy these days anyway. Think about everything we willingly post online about ourselves: extensive details of our professional careers, photos of our families and friends, when and where we are traveling, our dating likes and dislikes, our political and religious affiliations, our unabashed love of Justin Bieber.

Oversharing is so normal nowadays that many people don't even see it as strange. In fact, the people who don't share online are the weirdos. I'm guessing that her heart is in the right place - she's stoked that she's dating an awesome guy and things are progressing nicely. And in her mind, she isn't posting about you - she's posting about the relationship. Yes, it's taken on a cyber-life of its own; it should probably have its own Facebook fan page.

You certainly deserve your privacy and respect, and she definitely jumped the gun in posting your relationship status. You need to talk with her about it all, but I recommend meeting her halfway instead of going dark online.

Heck, if it wasn't for online sharing, you wouldn't have met. This is the way of the modern world -- people meet, declare their relationship statuses, share their date night and post adorable self-portraits of their boos online. If you can't handle that, you may as well give up on this relationship entirely because not sharing is going to make her unhappy.

I'm confident that there's a happy medium somewhere, a balance of sharing and privacy, that can satisfy you both. Talk with her and get there.

Wayne has logged off.


• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and believes in retail therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your thoughts at wanda@adn.com.

 

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