Social Media and Relationships: How The Internet Changed Things

An attractive couple taking a selfie and discussing social media and relationships

Relationships can be complicated enough, without the added pressure of now having to negotiate the online world. The internet has created a new level of challenges- couples now have to figure out social media and relationships too!

Thanks to the invention of the Internet and the rise of social media, couples now need to manage their relationship online and this environment can create pressures to achieve idealized #RelationshipGoals and sharing your greatest moments online. Considering the impact it has had, it would be an understatement to say that social media changed relationships. 

How to Manage Social Media and Relationships

 As of 2019, Facebook has 2.41 billion active users, 1 billion are using Instagram, and millions of people are using dating apps to find romantic partners. Most of us either have some sort of social media account and/or know someone who has an account. Today it feels like literally everyone is on social media, and there’s no indication that the growth of is slowing down!

So let’s take a look at how to manage the dynamics of dating in a digital world and what you can do to keep the balance between social media and relationships healthy.  

Be Mindful of Your Partner and Your Online Presence 

While it can feel good to get noticed on Instagram or Facebook, oversharing can also be interpreted by your partner action as attention-seeking, flirtatious, or in some cases, inappropriate. You should speak openly about what you see as acceptable online communications as a couple as it involves both partners. 

If you have a relationship and you want it to survive the pressures of posting on social media, it’s important to make sure you both are on the same page when it comes to how you both want to be perceived. There’s a difference between privacy and secrecy. Privacy is when two people make it known that they’re together but don’t feel the need to broadcast the highs and lows of their relationship. Secrecy is when two people are in some way together but decide to hide it in fear of being judged or exposed. 

If you’re on social media often while in a relationship and want to use it to share your best relationship moments, make sure you and your partner are both on the same page of what’s appropriate and what’s not to post. 

Be Aware of the Social Media Comparison Game 

When it comes to wanting the appearance of a perfect relationship, many people are playing the comparison game with peers and celebrity couples. Even if you don’t consistently use social media, frequent exposure to edited and curated images does impact what people think “relationship goals” to be.

And engagement activities such as likes, followers, direct messages, and comments, make social media users feel the need to be gratified and satisfied by strangers, friends, and family. This combination can lead to the pressure to ‘be perfect’ online, and create negative stress on your relationship. Being aware of this trap can help you avoid it. Embrace yourself as the individual and couple you are, rather than trying to create a filtered and idealized image! Authenticity is so 2020! 

Figure Out a Healthy Frequency 

Because using social media has become so habitual, especially with millennials,  many people today have developed addictive behaviors without even being aware of it. The need to be glued to your phone and to post, comment, tweet, or snap throughout the day is not necessarily a good thing. 

You should work out a healthy amount of time to be online. Remember that life is lived in the here and now. It is easy to get caught up creating and curating a life online and then overlook the one you have right here and now! Put down your phone more and just enjoy hanging with your partner, rather than trying to post to the perfect pic! 

Play the Best Parts to Your Advantage 

There are some benefits to social media and relationships, so play the best bits to your advantage. For example, thanks to hashtags, couples have more opportunities to discover new date ideas or the best local hangouts. It also allows you to save your best moments online and share the love with a few PDAs! 

In addition, getting to know someone has become a lot easier thanks to social media making people more easily accessible. It can allow you to get an impression of a person before even meeting and is another platform to meet the love of your life online.

Key to Dealing with Social Media and Relationships

Social media is here to stay, so the best way to adapt to it is by letting go of the false belief that it’s supposed to validate your relationship. Instead of striving to hit all the  #RelationshipGoals, strive to have an authentic REALationship. Have real conversations with your partner in person, build trust, and draw healthy boundaries with you and your partner’s online activities that you both agree to. 

Another way you can deal with social media is to simply not deal with it. Taking a break from all social media platforms for a certain amount of time, also known as unplugging, can give you and your partner time away from your phones and more opportunities to create meaningful moments together.

Social media gets a bad reputation for allowing people to create their own personas online, portraying how they want the world to view them. Some people experience fear of missing out and feel like if they don’t post the picture, people will make up their own narrative for their relationship. But remember, nobody’s opinion about your relationship should mean as much as how you both feel about each other! 

Tori Glaude

Tori is a D.C. life coach on a mission to empower women to achieve their goals. Her debut book is entitled “Sour Grapes into Wine: How to Leave a Toxic Relationship to Create a Productive Lifestyle.”

When she’s not writing or working in television production, Tori enjoys kickboxing and trying out new restaurants.

You can reach out to Tori directly at her website here.

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