Social media is a funny and fickle creature. Some days it seems like the entire world is against you, other days, it’s as if your the newest IG influencer and living a lavish lifestyle.
With my husband being active duty military and gone more often then he’s home, social media has become a staple in our relationship. It’s how we communicate on those long underways, how we video chat with each other, how we say our “love yous” and “miss yous” when we can’t be together physically.
Now don’t get me wrong, Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram, are great ways to keep in touch with long lost friends or across the world family. However, with that comes quite an ugly and unexpected double-edged sword, and it almost destroyed my marriage.
During my husband’s second deployment, communication was sporadic at best. I would go weeks and weeks, sometimes months, without so much as simple, “Hey I miss you.”
Meanwhile I’m writing letters everyday and mailing them weekly. Sending emails every few days to ask how he is, or to just tell him how the day has gone with the kids. Very rarely receiving a response in return. It drove my anxiety at an all time high and made me feel as if I was the most unimportant person on the planet. I got to the point where I debated a divorce, because I just couldn’t take it anymore.
And to add the seethe to the icing on the cake, I kept seeing all the other wives on Facebook posting pictures of gifts, and letters, and other random items they received from their significant others. And it hurt. It hurt a lot, more than I’ve been able to properly express to my husband.
And by properly expressing myself, I mean not yelling and crying and turning into a ball of seething jealousy. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it seems to be the only way I can express how I feel. Pretty sure I need counseling on how to fix that, but that hasn’t happened yet.
Anyway I digress…
Almost an entire month had passed since I last heard from husband, Valentine’s day had long passed and my birthday was right around the corner. Facebook was littered with pictures of flowers and gifts that the wives had received from their significant others, while I was sitting on my couch slowly descending into madness.
The days bled together, my anger grew greater and then I broke down. I called my mom in tears asking why my husband didn’t love me as much as other significant others loved their partners. She gave me just one phrase, “Block it.” I was flabbergasted.
Why had I never thought of just leaving the groups and muting these people on Facebook? Why was I even getting jealous and upset to begin with? Why was this bothering me so much?
Oh, I know why. My marriage was the rockiest it had been in a long time, and we were two different people trying to make one whole. Failing miserably in the process. We were always fighting, arguing over something, or just wholly disconnected. It didn’t help that my husband had a little habit that broke every ounce of trust I once had in him.
You add everything together, and the end result was me. A seething ball of jealousy and anxiety. So I did it. I left every spouse group I was a part of, and just logged out Facebook.
Later that evening, my husband messaged me on Facebook and we had a long conversation. I told him how I felt and how I hated it and I left the conversation at that. I didn’t want to hear how he was, or how he felt. I know it’s wrong, but it would have just angered me even more, so I just left it be.
The next day, he messaged me once again and shot me a few emails. He was trying, I could see that, but that sting was still there and I kept my distance.
Then the messages and emails became more frequent, I stayed off Facebook unless it was a message from him, and our communication improved slightly. After about a month, the emails and messages became more and more frequent, and I began to feel as if I was important to him. That how I felt was important to him.
Even though it’s been a while since his last deployment, communication is still sporadic at best. When I express how it makes me feel, he does get better at it, even though it’s fleeting and never constant.
However, I’ve also learned a lot.
I’ve learned that my husband will never be like those husbands I see on social media, and I need to accept that.
I’ve learned that my husband forgets everything. Doesn’t matter if it’s a birthday or anniversary, he’s always forgetting.
I’ve learned that social media should have no say or influence over the relationship that I have with the person I chose to marry and the person that I chose to love.
I’ve learned that the way he loves me will always be different from the love I see on any social media.
I’ve learned that sometimes life just gets busy, and things can suffer drastically depending on the current uptempo.
I’ve learned that adapting and expressing myself is, and will always be, ten times more effective then turning into a rock and just seething at all the things that I don’t have.
I have learned more than anything though, that people change over time and circumstance. It’s how you handle that change that makes or breaks you.
I chose to let it break me at first, and it was a long hard road to get to the point I’m at now. I still get bothered when I don’t hear from him for a week or even a few weeks, but I express myself a lot better now.
I’ve also completely removed myself from Facebook and now just solely focus on my family. It’s not always what’s right in front of you that matters, but the road you choose to line with glitter and gold that does.