Ren's Ramblings & Writings

Contemplations on things tangible and intangible

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Is Facebook a Blessing or a Curse?

There seem to be mixed responses among military wives at Is Facebook a Blessing or a Curse?.  Here is my feeling on the matter:

The issue is how we cope through their absence. My husband, now over 20 years of service, is leaving in a few months (not including a year in Korea). We have had separations with and without the use of any internet technology.

How we manage during these times is a matter of choice. Our responses are often a result of our own insecurities ("why is he posting on someone else's wall and not mine?”), which will eat us alive. Do not let unfounded insecurities not only paralyze you.

In a healthy relationship, you will have a life outside of that relationship - if I have 5 minutes to post on someone else's wall, why can't he if he gets the chance? In a healthy relationship, this is not a problem. We all have friends, family and acquaintances outside of our primary relationship. And we use whatever practical tools we have to communicate with them. There was a time when being overseas meant the only communication was through written letters. Phone calls were impractical and costly. Facebook is just another form of writing that requires less time, thought, or effort to be connected. And the connection is superficial. Facebook is a spontaneous tool for short notes and pictures.

Facebook should not be the only tool we use to communicate with loved ones. Letters and phone calls connect us better. We tend to abbreviate correspondence when using the internet. I remember when my husband did not have reliable phone access and had no internet access. Every few weeks he would go to a place where he had to pay by the minute to use the computer or make a phone call. And he wrote letters. I still treasure those letters.

We will use Facebook this next time around, but I am not reliant on it, and not hurt if he chooses to communicate (briefly as is the way with Facebook) with someone else. I am the one on whom he spends the money to call over static-filled phone lines. I am the one he is coming home to. But I will cherish every photo or comment he gets the chance to post on Facebook that gives me a small insight to what he is experiencing and how he is doing life at that moment.

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