MySpace Misbehavin’ What do you do if your wife is addicted to MySpace—spending more time with her top eight friends while you struggle, losing your best friend. BY DR. KAREN SHERMAN
If your spouse is spending too much time on MySpace, it's okay to take control.
My wife is addicted to MySpace. She's on it all the time and I want her to spend more time with her real family as opposed to her cyber friends.
Back in ’96, computers were beige boxes with 56K modems at best and the worldwide web wasn’t so "worldwide." While today's technology offers great opportunity, it also has some hazards that need to be addressed. A problem that many couples are facing is that their partner is very connected to the computer. You know the situation: you're trying to get the attention of your spouse while they blankly gaze into the monitor. This situation is becoming more common as some have become addicted to the computer, or as is the situation you raise—hooked on MySpace.
Of course, since your mate is involved in this situation, she will not think there is anything wrong with it. Many times, the involvement in any of these scenarios is seen as a harmless activity or just a fun way to connect with people.
However, it is quite understandable that you would be uncomfortable with her activity. My professional guess is that your wife is feeling a need for connection that is not being met—either in your relationship with her or within her more extended circle of family and/or friends. Thus, her desire to connect to people through the internet. By employing a computer site, she gains a sense of security (albeit a false one) since there is less actual personal contact and the identity of the other parties are never really known.
Involvement with the computer and sites such as this can certainly become addictive. Any addiction, whether hard or soft, serve the purpose of removing us from the real problem. It is easy to see how one could get involved in a computer relationship that is based on imagined hopes and fantasized expectations evolving into one that is destructive to the present committed partnership.
Here are some suggestions on how to deal with this concern:
Do not force her to shut down the site. This will only make her resentful and she is likely to join again secretly.
Talk to her about the kinds of things she gains from her involvement. It’s important that you stay non-judgmental and receptive so that she is willing to talk to you.
If she says, "It’s harmless," don’t disagree—just show interest.
Let her know you are concerned about possible risks.
Listen carefully for statements that indicate a sense of need. Try to respond to those and ask how you can be more supportive.
In your daily routine, start to act in ways that let her know you do care—remember small gestures let a woman know she matters: call to say you’re thinking about her, compliment her, ask about her day.
If the problem persists, again, raise your concerns in a non-attacking way and suggest she consider talking to a professional.
If all else fails, ask her if she'll add you to her top eight friends.
Karen Sherman, Ph.D., (www.drkarensherman.com) is a practicing psychologist in relationships and lifestyle issues for over 20 years. She offers teleseminars and is co-author of Marriage Magic! Find It! Make It Last.