5 Tips for Healthy Relationships Online


Social media and the Internet are great tools— we get our work done quicker when we use it, and are able to stay connected and have relationships with the people around us. That being said, the perks of online relationships can come with significant cons. We can lose our privacy, take honesty for granted, become passive-aggressive, and even lose out on ‘real’ relationships if we use the Internet the wrong way.

Here are five ways you can facilitate healthy relationships online.

  1. Don’t overshare

A social media post is not the place to share your deepest, darkest fears. It is also not the place to seek self-gratification or talk about the miniscule details of your day. A good friend will be there for you to navigate the heavy parts of life, and to chat about the mundane, like what you had for dinner. Don’t share it with the world—it harms your privacy and can damage your real relationships.

  1. Think before you post

Before you press send on that message, hit ‘like’ or publish a blog, think about the consequences of your post. How will people read them? Can they be taken out of context? Will you go on to regret this?

While you may have good intentions, things we do or don’t say online can have repercussions that we can’t always control. Think about the possible outcomes before you post, not just for your own wellbeing and that of your loved ones, but also how the general public and the media may perceive your words. Will it hurt other people, even unintentionally? If you’re not sure, save it as a draft and ask for a second opinion.

  1. Prioritise face-to-face relationships

It’s not always possible to catch up with friends —this is one of the reasons social media is so useful. However, technology should never be a substitute for real contact. Make time to have a coffee with a loved one, and ask a person how the day is going, even if you just liked their latest Facebook post.

If you can’t physically see a friend, opt for private messages, emails, phone calls or video calls. There’s a real person on the other side of the screen who loves and cares for you—don’t do yourself the disservice of forgetting this.

  1. Consider your motivation

Just as we can have unhealthy relationships in real life, we can also cultivate this online when we speak, post or even ‘like’ something for the wrong reasons. Are you looking for acceptance, gratification, or are you trying to ‘impress’ someone? Perhaps you’ve had a bad day and want to vent, or maybe you want someone to say sorry, so you call them out on social media.

When we facilitate our relationships online from an unhealthy place, we do more damage to ourselves than other people. Stop. Think. Don’t press send. Instead, go and have a real conversation with said person, or seek counselling.

  1. Be selective

Just because the whole world is online, doesn’t mean you have to interact with everyone on it. Remember, a friend request is optional. You don’t have to respond to every message, like every picture or Tweet every day. Don’t let your online relationships steal away your precious time and wellbeing.

Get in the habit of assessing the pros and cons of your online relationships. If there are more cons than pros, perhaps it’s time to take a sabbatical from Facebook or shut down social media for a while. Remember, you are in control, and you have every right to be selective in who you interact with, and what, when and where you do this.

Do you struggle to maintain healthy relationships online? Would you like to strengthen your relationships with loved-ones? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

In Response: Local Love Cheats Sign of the Times Says Therapist

Last Friday I was quoted by the Geelong Independent regarding the hacking and release of individual names on the Ashley Madison cheating website. Geelong has been revealed as one of the major hot spots for users in the state, and a journalist approached me from the newspaper to offer my own thoughts on the situation.

Today I wanted to take this opportunity to expand on my thoughts and statements in the article, bringing to light the significance of this scandal and what it means in our community. Adultery and cheating of any kind, while labelled as a ‘sign of the times’ by this newspaper, plays an integral role in my day-to-day interactions with clients, and as such need to be addressed with great caution and respect.

Relieving the pressure of stress is a preoccupation of our post-modern society. People frequently report that they feel overwhelmed by the demands of the 21st century lifestyle: work stress, unemployment, financial stress and family issues are just a few of the numerous pressures brought to bear. Feeling threatened by uncomfortable feelings such as anxiety, fear or anger, the need escape or at least distract oneself, is entirely appealing and (we convince ourselves) justifiable. In my experience, this is frequently the scenario whereby individuals begin ‘online’ affairs. It is not necessarily about dissatisfaction with one’s couple relationship, as it is about the inability to deal with stress in ways that are appropriate and serve to reinforce that same relationship.

Where an individual sites sexual dissatisfaction in their couple relationship, being open and honest about this invites a conversation with your partner as to how our needs can be better met. It is my experience that the breakdown of physical intimacy in a couple relationships is not as simple as ‘we just don’t have sex anymore.’ By initiating a respectful dialogue around this issue, possibly with the support of a Couple’s Therapist, you can begin to listen to and understand the needs of your partner that, if met by you, will promote emotionally and possibly more physical intimacy in your relationship.

I want to thank you for your interest following the publication of yesterday’s article, and hope it enables you to further strengthen your own relationships. If your couple relationship has been impacted by online affair, I encourage you to seek out a Couples Therapist to explore what has triggered the behaviour, and most importantly, how you can repair the relationship together. By selecting BOOK NOW, you can make an appointment with the team at Watersedge today.

WatersedgeCounselling is holding a Couples Relationship Retreat in Newtown on October 17. If you would like to learn practical tools to engage with your partner and strengthen your relationship, you can book today and receive the Early Bird Discount ending September 5. For any further details, please contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245.