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Should You Be Friends with Your Spouse on Facebook?

For couples who are happy and healthy, asking, should you be friends with your spouse on Facebook may seem kind of absurd. Some might be thinking, "Well of course I'm friends with my wife/husband on Facebook! S/he is my number one fan!"

But, I can't tell you how much this issue comes up among couples with whom I work. When there are breaches of trust, fragile feelings and growing frustrations, Facebook can indeed be a dangerous breeding ground for more relationship ruptures. The complaints range from concerns about comments made about the relationship where all their friends and family can see; to concerns about ex's making friend requests; to a spouse making seemingly flirtatious comments on someone's feed.

Happy, healthy couples tend to naturally follow good etiquette with Facebook but many people seem to forget about the very public nature of Facebook. Perhaps it's the apparent distance of writing in cyberspace that somehow makes it seem safer to people. But, I can assure you, seeing something in print that you wouldn't want to be public is very hurtful. It's the equivalent to hanging over the back fence, gossiping about your relationship with a neighbor--with a bull horn!

Follow these simple rules and your social networking should go more smoothly:

1. If you wouldn't want your spouse overhearing a comment you make to your girlfriend or coworker or whoever, don't put it in your status update.

2. Don't make comments about your relationship (however innocent) that reflect your unhappiness with your spouse. You are only allowed to make glowing comments, plans for outings, birthday and anniversary wishes.

3. Don't write anything in your feed about your relationship that you wouldn't want your mother, 3rd cousin or senior prom date to know about.

4. Really think about accepting friend requests from ex boyfriends/girlfriends, coworkers of the opposite sex or people who are known players. These are the people who more often cause jealousies for spouses. If you are friends, be very very careful about how much you're commenting on their feeds and the kinds of comments you're making.

5. Don't passive aggressively, or even jokingly, change your relationship status to "single" or "it's complicated" whether it's true or not until significant time has passed or things are final.   You'll regret all the drama it creates. 

If these rules are not something you want to follow, then I suggest strongly considering either dumping Facebook altogether or not being "friends" with your spouse.

Otherwise, happy social networking!

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