My wife is very vain. I don’t like the way she’s always posting photos of herself on social media. Obviously, she gets a lot of “likes” from male friends of hers, and I really don’t know what to do. Can you give me some advice?

Dear Friend,

It sounds like you think that your wife is seeking attention from other men. You don’t like it that she seems to need admiration for her physical appearance. You think that she posts these photos because she is vain, but we believe there are other possible explanations.

Social media is a relatively new forum of interaction, but there are already many theories that attempt to categorize the different types of social media users (not including business users or those who promote products). There are also research studies that are designed to discover whether there is a correlation between certain social media behaviors and personality types or personality disorders.

It has been speculated that narcissism can be identified by the types of selfies that someone posts. Are the selfies primarily of themselves, or primarily of themselves in a group? It is possible that narcissists, who desire to be the center of attention, tend to post more solo selfies than group photos.

While the desire to be the center of attention can be caused by self-absorption and vanity, 1 it can also be the result of insecurity and anxiety. Those who are intensely interested in the number of followers they have and how many “likes” they get may be dependent on those numbers to avoid feeling unliked and lonely.

We have no way to know your wife’s motivation for posting so many photos of herself. However, the best thing that you can do is to be a source of positive reinforcement for her. Tell her that her hair looks nice or that you love the look in her eyes. Help her to feel secure in your love and in your relationship. Show her in words and actions that she is treasured by you.

Offer to take photos of your wife, both with you and with others. Make sure that she always has a supply of new photos that include other people.

A person who depends upon physical beauty to attract attention and admiration will eventually run into the problem of time. Time passes and often physical beauty fades. A well-known proverb of the Bible says it this way, “Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the Lord deserves to be praised.” 2 In other words, honoring God and seeing life from His point of view is what really makes a woman beautiful, even though she might be elderly and wrinkled.

Your wife needs you to see and admire her inner beauty. Tell her when you notice her kindness or generosity. Help her to focus on her inward qualities and not so much on her outward beauty.

We wish you well,

Linda
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1 Aleksandra Atanasova, “How to Spot a Narcissist on Social Media,” Social Media Today, 26 November 2016 Online 24 April 2022.
2 Pr 31:30 (CEV)