In this social network obsessed world in which we live, you can use Facebook to connect with people you haven’t talked to since middle school, post mobile uploads of what you made for dinner last night, write on someone’s wall about plans for the upcoming weekend and of course…share with every single one of your 1,472 friends that you are “in a relationship with (fill in the blank).”

facebookBecause most of us are logged on to Facebook at home, work and on-the-go with the ability to connect and share information with pretty much anyone, there’s no surprise that signing onto the world’s most popular social networking site has the potential to derail your relationship and causeeach of you to claim a relationship status of “single (insert broken heart icon).”

So that your relationship doesn’t meet a fate at hands of a social media monster, be sure to check out the following ways to keep your relationship in-tact when Facebook is giving you something more to complain about other than just another change in its layout:

Define the relationship. If you have discussed your offline relationship status with the person you are dating and have defined that the two of you are exclusive, make sure that you discuss your online relationship status as well. For some, being in a relationship isn’t considered legitimate until it is posted in black and white on Facebook for all to see and “like.” This is an expression to the world that you are taken and in a happy relationship—as well as a signal to the cyber-vultures out there to keep away from your goods. So that there isn’t any conflict over the status of your courtship, be sure to come to a mutual decision on whether or not to share it on Facebook.

Don’t let jealousy get the best of you. Social networking sites can often be a breeding ground for flirting and temptation for people who are in a relationship. However, if you constantly had to hear “Who is this person always writing on your wall and ‘liking’ every one of your statuses?!”…chances are it would get pretty old and you’d be turned off by such petty insecurity. Be cautious not to let jealous feelings about your partner’s Facebook interactions with people who are just friends start fights in your relationship.

Share…but don’t overshare. We all have those friends—the ones that use Facebook to document every single thought and move when instead they should be using a private diary (or a therapist). Don’t do this with your relationship. Posting picture after picture of you and your significant other in various kissing poses as well as dramatically updating your status about every little argument will not only be a quick way to get yourself de-friended, but it will also be an open invite for criticism and negative comments about your relationship. Enjoying your relationship in a manner that is acceptable for social networks will show you that it’s nice to keep some things between just you and your partner…and not all 8 million Facebook users.

Don’t exchange passwords. A surefire start to the end of a relationship is by sharing your Facebook passwords with one another. Checking the secret contents of your other half’s Facebook every now and then eventually turns into a bad habit of checking it more than your own and on an average of 19 times per day. Even if your partner isn’t doing anything wrong, when you rifle through their inbox and readmessages from an ex circa 2006, chances are that you will find something that you don’t like. Why put yourself through such misery? Because trust is the foundation for any healthy relationship, have enough respect for your boyfriend or girlfriend’s privacyto believe in their Facebook fidelity. And if you don’t trust your partner, then you probably shouldn’t be in a relationship with them in the first place.

Respect your relationship. Before posting any content on Facebook that might make your partner upset or uncomfortable (pictures, wall posts or even the termination of the relationship), stop to think about their feelings or consider discussing it with them first. Also, ifanother person on Facebook is disregarding your relationship with inappropriate messages, wall posts etc.—do not engage. Set boundaries with the instigator and if it gets bad enough, delete or block them.

If you’ve taken all of the above steps for maintaining a relationship that isn’t marred by fights over Facebook and are still experiencing problems surrounding each other’s social networking behavior…if the relationship is worth saving, consider deleting or deactivating your Facebook account.

Guest post author, Mark Weikel, is a relationship expert who enjoys sharing his relationship tips and advice. In addition, Mark also owns Adult Dating Sites where he provides informative resources for singles curious about online dating.