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Two Sense: Is Facebook Ruining Your Relationship?

Illustration by Caitlin Kuhwald

Facebook is ruining my life. My boyfriend and I were fine until I figured out that his last girlfriend is a total FB whore who posts a new profile pic every week, constantly updates her overly accessible wall, and has 800 friends. It doesn’t help that she’s gorgeous. I know she’s made herself available to him again, though he declined. Dealing with that is challenging enough, but tracking her status is making me crazy. I visit her page way too often and sink into total insecurity every time. Help!

He Said: Telling you to just stop looking at her page isn’t going to work, is it, Pandora? So two things to do while you torture yourself: First, own your role as the girlfriend, and make things happen. Plan a fabulous weekend getaway, get tickets to an event you and your boyfriend will both love, throw a dinner party. Then take photos of you two having a rocking time, tag, and post them. It’s superficial, but it’s easy and will give you some breathing space.

Secondly—and this is harder—realize the solution has nothing to do with her. Think about it. If she asked, would you hand over your house keys or your credit cards? Of course not, but you’ve done something that makes even less sense. Without her even asking, you’ve let her define how you feel about yourself. You can’t control this woman, or your boyfriend for that matter, but you can control yourself. Next time you find yourself staring at her page, ask yourself what exactly you’re jealous of—her style? her active social life? her enthusiasm? Then do whatever’s necessary to bring more of that quality into your life.

She Said: If you’re going to compare yourself to her, then I demand you give yourself equal time. So while you’re out scanning her page, make a mental list of all the ways you top her. Your boyfriend declined her offer and chose you—there must be good reasons for that. So she’s pretty and social, but is she as smart as you? Does her career top yours? What about these posts of hers? Certainly they don’t display brilliant wit or cultural taste anywhere near yours, do they? If her beauty is blond and blue-eyed, tell yourself your earthy darkness is much sexier. If, on the other hand, she’s dark and sultry, console yourself with the knowledge that your girl-next-doorness is where it’s at. You get the picture. If you insist on pinning yourself up against her, then get some practice in actually rooting for yourself and letting yourself “win.”

Lastly, take this entire experience with a grain of salt. You’re acting like you’re at the mercy of some compulsive insecure urge, but I suspect differently. Ask yourself why you track her so diligently. If you’re honest, you might find that part of you likes the fact that your boyfriend was paired up with a gorgeous, well-liked woman. It speaks well of him and frankly makes him more attractive. And let’s face it—we women enjoy the “he loves me, he loves me not” drama. Your internal competition with her probably injects a dose of tension that, whether you admit it or not, sparks up your desire for your man. Take responsibility for the fact that some part of you likes the feelings engendered by looking at her page.

Confused? Heartbroken? Curious? Send your questions to twosense@7x7.com.

*Published in the February 2011 issue of 7x7. Subscribe to 7x7 magazine here.