Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I was always very attracted to my friend “Beth.” She is an amazing girl, a great companion, and fun to be around — beautiful and adventurous. She has always been constant and savvy about posting photos of herself on social media — some selfies, some taken by others, some actual photo shoots. She has a pretty big following (more than my 150-or-so friends, that’s for sure!).
We started dating a few months ago, and everything is great, except for the fact that she still posts pictures of herself constantly, and it bothers me.
I feel like every time we go anywhere together, Beth is asking me to take her picture repeatedly. Then she posts them and obsesses over responses and reactions.
Part of me worries she’s still keeping romantic options open and posts pics to get reactions from guys. I also worry that there’s something off here. She’s a beautiful woman. Why does she need constant validation from friends and strangers to believe that? I just wish Beth would stop spending so much time focusing on reactions from other people and focus more on our relationship. Advice?
The use of social media is so specific to individuals. For some, it’s about connection to family. Others use it to spout beliefs and interact with and troll strangers. And some, like Beth, see social media as a leading source of validation, even a platform for creating and promoting a personal brand.
I wouldn’t worry that Beth’s activity is a sign of her being disingenuous, disinterested or dishonest. This behavior existed before you and continues — in her mind, no doubt, it’s totally separate from your relationship. But you might worry about her behavior in and of itself.
Here are some screening questions to gauge whether her behavior could be harmful or a sign of deeper issues: 1) Do you feel Beth values herself? 2) Are there signs that Beth is actually unhappy or depressed? 3) Does Beth prioritize real-world relationships over social media interactions?
If your answers are yes, no, and yes, you’re probably just a regular 2023 dude grappling with social media as a distraction and distortion. If you responded otherwise, you would be kind to express support for Beth, including how to collaborate on a plan to build up her self-worth and confidence.
I don’t know, Wanda. Seems to me that our letter writer is the one with the confidence issue here. Beth is doing just fine, thank you very much: comfortable in her own skin, happy with her life, and committed to her relationship. Meanwhile her boyfriend is seeking constant validation from her (and us), spending way too much time on social media (hers, not his), and low key trying to kill her vibe.
Something is off here, indeed.
My man, stop scrolling for a minute and look around you. You won. You literally got the girl of your dreams IRL. I’m guessing part of the reason she became your dream girl was her beauty, confidence and fun-loving, adventurous attitude. Yet now you’re upset that she continues sharing her beauty, confidence and fun-loving, adventurous life on social media after getting serious with you? Come on.
Social media really has you this upset? You’re both grown-ups. Let her express herself and share her awesome life (which includes you) with friends, family and acquaintances, just like she did before you came along. Her posts aren’t cries for help. Her posts also aren’t sending people to her Only Fans page. So stop being insecure, and start feeling fortunate about your relationship and proud of your girlfriend. Heck, maybe even smile, have a little fun, and jump in some of those photos with her. Just don’t end up unfriending yourself over something as ridiculous as this.
[Miss Manners: I’m starting to think my girlfriend’s frequent business trips are really vacations without me]
[My girlfriend keeps answering my phone and reading my texts. I have nothing to hide, but it feels invasive.]
[Our relationship is great — except our sleeping preferences are totally incompatible]