If you have not read the last Why Social Media is Unhealthy for Couples: Part 1; you should go do that now. It’s ok, I will wait. I covered the fundamental reasons why social media just does not work often. With this post, I am going to tackle the red flags and how to prevent them from negatively affecting your relationship.
“Who is that commenting on your pic?”
This is first on the list for one reason and one reason only. This is the red flag that adds to most suspension and apprehension. It’s really strange partners have conversations with people we don’t know all day long at work, at the gym—you name it. But when we see a stranger comment on our partner’s status, it raises those questions. Who is that? Why don’t I know who that person is? What does her/his comment mean? Take a breathe and step away from the app.
The Disconnect is Real
I am a bit older in than most folks online in the tech world. I started my first site in 1998. Back then you had to leave messages with a person, voicemail or on AIM. (Google what AIM is) The simple fact that we can literally watch almost every single element of our partner’s digital lives is a bit daunting to think about. The problem comes from that fact we get FOMO much easier since we can see it in near realtime. Combine that with a sense of constantly wanting companionship with our partner; we go from FOMO to something like a disconnect from our partner. The reason this happens is that we for the first time can check out their stories, photos, and check-ins. Then it hits you….. These are all activities we aren’t part of. You just feel left out and if you are having any issues, social media makes it worse.
We Envy Perceived Competition
Envy is such a horrible thing. Even when you have it all; as humans want just a little more. Translate that into relationship speak. When we see who our partner is liking on social media we start to envy the attention being handed out. Then the next step happens. We form something called perceived competition. You can see all of the pictures that he/she has liked. You see the emojis that they put on other people’s status updates. However, they have yet to even hit a like on your post. Your thought goes to.. F*uk them. That is one side. The other side of it is we compare our relationship to others. We always think their relationship looks better. You start to think; why don’t we travel as much as that couple? Why are we not as happy as they look? It’s all in your head.
Likes & Comments are like giving a hug…a long inappropriate one.
We are not so insecure that we can’t watch our partner give a hug to a random friend in person. However, as soon as a smiley face, heart or the like is put on our to our partner’s thread…it’s a problem. For some reason, the impact of an emoji seems to emotionally carry a hidden meaning.
The sensation of secrets & possibility for infidelity
What happens when you learn things about your partner that you didn’t know. It does not even have to be anything bad. However, whey didn’t they tell you about the thing you learned? Were they withhold this information? If so for what reason? If you are already having trust issues within your relationship, social media is like trying to watch a 4K movie on horrible wifi. That said, those who cheat will find creative ways to cheat and don’t need the help of social media. If you feel it in your bones that your partner is being unfaithful, the first talk to them. If that does not help; just remember that cheaters will always cheat no matter what. Don’t blame social media for their infidelity issues.
The Envy of others’ lives
We also get such a close look at the lives of other couples. We compare our relationship with theirs. We think their relationship looks better and so the questions begin: “Why don’t we have as many date nights as that couple?” and “Why don’t we travel as much as that couple?”
Poor representation of relationship status
It is so funny to me that a simple relationship status can cause fights. However, it can and does. What if you put “In a relationship” on your profile or they use a picture of you two together but your partner does not. It feels like you have been betrayed in some way. You have not. The other thing that leads to fights and breakups is the inevitable question. “Why don’t you post more photos of us?” Which leads to the next and most dangerous question for a fragile relationship. Correction; any relationship. Do you not want people to know you’re in a relationship? The answer to that all depends on your relationship. However, think of it this way. Your partner is not obligated to do the same things you. Everyone’s comfort level for privacy on social media is different. Respect your partner’s level. That said; I personally learned something the hard way and frankly, I should have known already. Never, I mean NEVER ever post content of someone who is not your partner. I don’t care how old the content is, or if you think it is funny or whatever. There is no excuse and it is just really stupid. There is nothing more important than your relationship. No amount of views, followers or likes are worth hurting someone you love.
Absence of Attention
This is the easiest to take care of and also one of the hardest to fix. When we start spending so much time scrolling through social media feeds we start spending less time with our partner. We aren’t talking to each other or even truly watching the same movie/show. Instead, we are on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Watching our TikTok, Byte, Twitch or Youtube. Stop! Look at your partner and do something together.
Welcoming outsider input
This is the worst thing that happens to couples and Why Social Media is Unhealthy for Couples. If you have a relationship that is not secure. No, forget that, if you are not in a relationship that is rock solid any post from your partner will seem like its geared towards you. Everything seems passive-aggressive when you are already on edge. Then the trolls and people that already have an agenda start to give their two cents. When you welcome in outsider input you minimize your partners.