What is the influence of social networks on your relationship?
Romanticizing other people’s relationships isn’t a new concept (thanks romantic comedies). But unlike a movie script, social media shows real couples living real lives.
But can watching these seemingly perfect couples online harm our own romantic relationships?
Social media, used in moderation, is not necessarily bad for relationships. Research has even shown that using social media can have both positive and negative effects on relationships, depending on how it’s used.
For example, social media can contribute to unhealthy comparisons and unrealistic expectations of what relationships are meant to be, and couples may spend more time nurturing an “image” of who they are rather than focus on the relationship itself.
The negative effects of social media on your relationship
1. Social media can create unrealistic expectations
While there are some helpful resources shared via social media, what you’ll most often see are curated and filtered posts that only paint unrealistic images of what a relationship is all about.
Trying to measure up can distract you and your partner from your relationship. Inevitably, real life won’t look like the endless footage seen on social media, which can lead to disappointment in you, your partner, or both.
2. It can lead to jealousy
Some research has linked social media use to increased jealousy and relationship dissatisfaction in couples. If you’re prone to jealousy due to an insecure attachment style, research indicates you’re more likely to find yourself stuck in an endless cycle of scrolling to keep tabs on what’s going on. your partner.
People can be upset to see their partner liking or commenting on other people’s posts, fueling fears that their partner is interested in other people (or worse, already cheating on them).
Facebook use, in particular, has been shown to increase feelings of suspicion and jealousy in romantic relationships.
3. Social media can make everyday life less interesting
The tantalizing image of a couple on vacation can trigger feelings of envy, which can keep you from appreciating where you are right now.
Social networks tend to ignore the sordid and mundane aspects of a couple’s life. The struggles, the drudgeries, the compromises, and the intimacy amid the challenges — those little mini-triumphs are precious. Remember: a vacation can make you happy, but it’s the everyday moments that lead to ultimate satisfaction.
4. Social media can affect our mental health
Even though social networks are supposed to promote connection, multiple studies have linked their use to loneliness, mood disorders and low self-esteem.
Although these problems are more individual than relational, they can carry over into romantic relationships. When a partner suffers from mental health issues, they may close themselves off from intimacy or become codependent.
5. It can lead to body image issues
The filtered and edited images seen all over social media can bring insecurities about your own body to the surface. Several studies have linked social media use to body image issues.
A person’s body image issues can significantly affect their relationships. In other words, these social media-triggered insecurities can interfere with emotional and physical intimacy and the overall quality of a relationship.
6. It can make you more narcissistic
Excessive use of social media is linked to narcissistic traits in some cases. Research confirms that addictive social media use reflects a need to feed the ego and an attempt to boost self-esteem, both of which are narcissistic traits.
The positive effects of social networks on your couple
7. They can keep you in touch with your partner
Whether it’s posting a funny meme on Instagram or taking a quick Snapchat, social media is an easy way for couples to interact throughout the day in a fun and pressure-free way.
This is especially useful for couples who don’t live together and people in long-distance relationships.
People who have their partner in their profile picture or whose relationship status is public on Facebook also tend to be happier in their relationship, for what that’s worth.
8. You can learn from experts about relationships
There are plenty of accounts that offer good information to help develop and maintain a healthy connection. And there’s a lot of great information on social media from relationship bloggers, psychotherapists, and many others pointing out how to improve your relationship.
As long as it comes from a place of growth and not comparison, this type of social media can motivate you to work on parts of the relationship that have been overlooked.
9. It’s a memory capsule
Social media platforms have all but replaced printed photo albums as a place to store and share our memories. In this sense, social media can be used to honor the activities you do and the things you create together.
Unlike a physical photo album, social media has the added component of followers. In this way, they can be an institutionalized way to express love publicly and invite community support.
Scrolling through social media all day is, unfortunately, not a difficult habit to form.
While these platforms can offer helpful resources, they can also lead to jealousy, mental health issues, and unrealistic expectations in relationships. On top of that, constantly being on your phone can take away from intimacy with a partner.
But not all social media is bad. If you find yourself comparing your relationship to what you see online, it can be helpful to unfollow accounts that make you feel bad and focus more on accounts that make you feel empowered in your relationship.