Unlike a movie script, though, social media shows real couples living real lives. But can looking at these seemingly perfect couples online interfere with our own romantic relationships?
Romanticizing other people’s relationships is not a new concept.
Is Social Media Harmful For Relationships?
If used sparingly, social media is not necessarily bad for relationships. Research shows social media use might both negatively and positively affect relationships, depending on how it is used.
Like, social media may contribute to unhealthy comparison and untrue expectations for what relationships are supposed to be like, and couples might spend more time curating a false “image” of who they are rather than focusing on their relationship itself.
The usage of Social media has also been linked to poor body image and cases of depression, which may negatively affect relationships.
Negative Impact On Relationships:
It Can Make You Jealous.
Some research has linked social media use with increased jealousy and dissatisfaction in relationships with college students.
If you suffer from jealousy due to an insecure attachment style, research says that you are more likely to get caught in a cycle of endless scrolling to keep track of your partner’s movements.
Some people get upset when their partner likes or comments on other people’s posts, pictures, worrying that their partner is interested in other people (or worse, cheating already).
Especially the use of Facebook has shown to increase feelings of doubt and jealousy in romantic relationships mostly among college students.
One study reads, “This effect may be the result of a feedback loop, under which people using Facebook often receive vague information about their partner that they may not have access to.”
The Facebook algorithms and cookies can cause a partner’s “hidden” interests to pop up on their feed. The desire to obtain more information about them may further end social media use and feelings of mistrust.
(Since most of these studies have been conducted on college students, so it’s quite possible that there might be differences among older couples.)
It Might Reduce The Amount Of Quality Time With Your Partner
Though internet addiction and Facebook addiction are not considered mental health disorders by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), researchers recognize both as dependence issues, which can interfere with the quality of life.
The more we hover over the dopamine crowd of social media, the less busy or excited we will feel for the quiet, simple moments of life.
Moments when our loved ones reveal something personal and intimate.
Next time you and your partner are together and both of you focused on your phones, bring awareness to that. Practice valuing real-time attachment over the internet connection. This will help increase emotional intimacy.
Social Media May Create Unrealistic Expectations.
Although some useful resources have been shared via social media, what you will see are mostly filtered and curated posts that only expose unrealistic images of a relationship.
Measuring effort can distract you and your partner from the relationship. Inevitably, real life will not be like the endless highlight reels you see on social media, which might lead to disappointment for you, your partner, or both of you.
You may feel jealous of how much somebody else posts about their partner and feel resentment toward your partner for not doing the same for you.
The lifestyle you are referring to can change how satisfied you are in your relationship because they seem better than what you have.
Excessive Usage Of Social Media Can Lead Couples To Fight More.
A study shows that among couples who had been together for less than three years, spending more time on Facebook creates more “Facebook-related conflict” and more negative relationship outcomes.
One study found that people who are dating people who overshare on social media tend to have lower relationship satisfaction (although every time there are positive posts about the relationship and then it seems to mediate that effect).
Social Media Might Make Daily life Less Interesting.
A beautiful picture of a couple on vacations can trigger feelings of envy, which can keep you from appreciating where you are in the present situation.
Social media normally ignores the gritty and mundane parts of a couple’s lives. Chores, struggles, compromise, and intimacy in the midst of challenges—these small mini triumphs are crucial.
Don’t forget a vacation can make you happy, but it’s the everyday moments that lead to real satisfaction.
When relationships end, it is so often those tiny, mundane moments that evoke the deepest nostalgia.
Social Media Can Affect Your Mental Health.
Though Social media is supposed to promote love, multiple studies have linked social media use with loneliness, poor self-esteem, and mood disorders.
One study shows, that people with pre-existing mental health issues may also be more susceptible to social comparisons, due to a negative cognitive bias.
On the flip side, lowering the usage of social media reduces symptoms of loneliness and depression.
Though these issues are more individualistic than relational, they can still bleed into romantic relationships.
When a partner is suffering from mental health issues, they may be closed off to intimacy or become codependent.
It Might Make Us A Narcissist
In some cases, excessive social media use is linked to narcissistic traits. Research confirms that addictive social media use reflects a need to feed the ego of the user and an attempt to improve self-esteem, both of them are narcissistic traits.
And different types of social media play into different aspects of narcissism.
Like, people who frequently tweet or post selfies may be displaying grandiosity, one of the common traits of narcissism.
Since one can be narcissistic without having a personality disorder, it’s possible to develop these traits over time. Frequent usage of social media can trigger that.
And yes, being in a relationship with a narcissist is the last thing somebody will like to go for.
It May Lead To Body Image Issues.
The edited and filtered pictures you see all over social media might cause insecurities about your own body to the surface, Many studies have linked social media use and body image issues.
A person’s body image issues can significantly affect their relationships. One Journal of the International Society for Sexual Medicine study shows that heterosexual women with body image issues have a harder time becoming sexually aroused.
Another study says the way wives perceive their own sexual attractiveness, based on negative body image, directly affects the marital quality of both the wife and the husband.
These insecurities triggered by social media may interfere with emotional and physical intimacy and the overall quality of a relationship.
Positive Effects & Benefits Of Social Media
It Works Like A Time Machine For Memories
Social media platforms have literally replaced printed photograph albums as a place to store and share our memories.
And because of this, social media can be used to honor the activities you do and the things you create together.
Also, Read 9 Ways To Have A Happy And Healthy Mind
Social media has the added component of followers. In this way, social media can be an institutionalized way to express love publicly and invite community support both can enhance a couple’s ability to flourish.
It Helps You Remain Connected To Your Partner.
Whether it’s sending a funny meme over Facebook or taking a quick Snapchat, social media is the easiest way for couples to interact throughout the day in a fun, and low-pressure manner.
This helps those couples who don’t live together and people in long-distance relationships. According to a survey published in the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking journal, young adults in long-distance romantic relationships are better able to maintain them if they are using social media.
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People who have their partner in their profile photo or have their relationship status public on Facebook also tend to be happier with their relationship, for what that’s worth.
You Can Learn About relationships From The Experts.
There are plenty of experts who offer good information to help develop and maintain a healthy relationship.
There is a lot of good information available on social media platforms, from relationship bloggers, psychotherapists, and many experts, that highlight how to improve your relationship.
As long as it is coming from a place of growth and not a comparison, social media can motivate you to work on parts of the relationship that have been neglected.
Social Media Helps Single And Alone People Meet Each Other.
In the digital age we live in, it’s common for people to meet online or through dating apps.
Also, Read 8 Toxic Things In A Relationship
A 2017 survey found 39% of heterosexual couples reported meeting their partner online, compared to just 22% in 2009.
According to a recent Tinder survey, online dating can be especially helpful for the LGBTQ+ community. Of 1,000 LGBTQ+ adults who took the survey, 80% say online dating and dating apps have helped their community, 52% feel more comfortable being themselves, and 45% say it’s easier to explore their identity.
A later study analyzing the results found that “Internet meeting is displacing the roles that family and friends once played in bringing couples together.”
Going through social media pages and posts all day is, unfortunately, not a hard habit to pick up. These platforms offer resources; they can also lead to jealousy, mental and health issues, and unrealistic expectations in relationships.
Above all, the act of being on your phone constantly distracts you from intimacy with your partner.
Social media is not that bad, but if you find yourself comparing your relationship to what you are seeing online, you might choose to unfollow accounts that make you feel bad and focus more on accounts that make you feel good and complete in your present relationship.