“She’ll get home from work and just sit there scrolling through her social media feed. She probably posts like 20 times a day!” my buddy said while he vented to me about his concerns over his wife’s use of social media. “Well, you have to tell her it bothers you,” I said. “Are you crazy? I can’t bring that up!”
I wonder how many men see that level of social media use in their wives but feel compelled to stay quiet. A study from Boston University said that 11.6% of marriages are happier when social media isn’t present. So while it’s not an easy conversation, if you see the signs of addiction in your wife, you must talk to her about it. Here are 5 ways to approach a wife addicted to social media.
1. Don’t judge her.
Do not approach the conversation in a condescending or judgmental way. Tell her you’ve noticed her screen time has increased and that you’d like to talk about it. She could be spending more time on social media for many reasons, and you can’t assume you know what they are. Just ask and be open to discussing it.Social media is good at taking away the time and attention we should give to the people we love.
2. Show her you miss spending time with her.
When we’re on social media, we take time away from our personal lives. Social media is good at taking away the time and attention we should give to the people we love. If social media has become a barrier to intimacy in your marriage, tell her. Make sure she knows how much you miss spending time with her. You can also suggest different activities you could be doing with her instead. My wife and I sometimes play Chinese checkers until late at night so we can escape social media’s lure. Play a board game, watch a movie, or drink wine and talk. Do something away from the phone.
3. Help set parameters.
Most phones track our screen time. The analytics our phones provide can be good, objective data to show your wife how much time she spends on each social media app. Challenge her to cut that time in half for the next few weeks. You can even lock down certain apps after a specific time in the day. I try to stay phone-free after 8 p.m. That way, we can spend time together. If you invite her to try this and she says yes, she’ll notice the results right away on her own.
4. Use positive reinforcement.
Be her encourager throughout the day. You probably know her triggers best, the times she’ll want to be on social media—maybe it’s when she’s in the middle of something stressful or when she’s feeling bored. Tell her you’re proud of her when she doesn’t post about her meal at the fancy restaurant or when she doesn’t start scrolling when you pause the movie to get a snack. Having a positive supporter will help keep her focused on overcoming the addiction.
5. Don’t hold a grudge.
There will come a time when your wife gets back on social media, and you can’t hold a grudge when that happens. Like most people who use Facebook and Instagram, she wants to stay connected. People use it to look at pictures of friends and family or to discover new information. Whatever the reason, you can’t make her feel bad for returning to it. Just help her stick to the parameters you’ve agreed to and fill the time with intimate moments instead.
Sound off: What would your advice be to a man with a wife addicted to social media?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How much time is too much time to spend on social media?”