In the age of social media, most of us believe that the most distinctive sign of a happy relationship is one that is present on social media. And that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Once upon a time, social media didn’t exist. My grandparents were together for 50 years, and neither of them ever had a social media account. They respected each other, they loved each other, and they were still head over heels in love until the moment my grandmother’s passing separated them. They were a real-life love story, and social media never saw a moment of their beautiful relationship.
Fast-forward to modern times, in which we feel like our relationship is inept unless every moment is highlighted on Facebook or Instagram.
What’s sad is that we get so caught up in social media that we miss out on being present in our relationship. We become so worried about whether or not he is posting about us or sharing our current relationship status, that we miss out on actually being a part of our relationship.
It makes me so sad to see couples sitting together, but both worlds apart, separated only by their focus on social media. It has become the new norm for couples to be eating dinner at a restaurant and only pulling themselves away from their phones and social media interactions to share a meme or to show each other a picture from social media. And with around 70% of American’s having a presence on social media, I can only imagine the percentage that is negatively impacted by it.
The pressure of competing with other couples and other people for our partner’s attention can become so much that people become paranoid of their partners. In many cases, they are right to be paranoid, because with all the access social media gives us- the ability to cheat or slip back to our ex is ten-fold what it once was.
Rather than social media bringing everyone together, it seems that in many cases, it is pulling us apart.
We may see other couples posting happy pictures, and doing romantic things together, and wonder “why can’t my relationship be like that?”
However, what we are failing to understand is that we are only seeing the highlight reel.
Healthy relationships don’t require you to take 100 pictures and pick out the most aesthetic one and share it. They don’t require you to update your relationship status for the world to know without a shadow of a doubt that you are together, and you are happy. You can be happy without all of that.
In many cases, you will see photo bursts of seemingly happy couples in the days that lead to their breakup. When the breakup, we are all shook, and I can’t understand why. “But they seemed so happy on social media!”
Why is it so hard to understand that social media is not an accurate depiction of reality?!
And don’t get me wrong- social media has some benefits. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to reconnect with many wonderful people that I’ve met throughout my life. And when my husband had to go out of town- we had messenger, which allowed us to keep in touch and video chat. I also got to see the pictures of his trip in real-time.
Social media could be a beautiful thing in moderation.
What I’m saying is that it can become an unhealthy obsession that sets an unhealthy standard for you, that will leave you feeling like your relationship isn’t enough. A healthy relationship doesn’t have to be shared with the world- it happens between two people. And if you are too busy trying to photograph the highlight reel, and comparing yourself and your relationships to others, you are going to miss out on that connection that is only possible between two people.
So put down your devices, and find a balance in your life. Take time to be mindful and present in your relationships. Social media can be a good thing- but it can also be a devastating one, especially for relationships.