Just when we thought relationships couldn’t get any more complicated, then just over a decade ago came the age of social media with the likes of Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. And ever since its arrival, it has opened up a new toxic layer to relationships, which many have fallen victim to. Including 21-year-old Morehouse College student Christian Bryant, who discovered that he’d been blocked by his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day after posting what he thought was a “funny” video.
“I posted a video of this dude and he was showing off his cuffs, and the caption was, ‘all this cuff, and I’m still lonely'” Bryant explained. “Next thing I knew, she spazzed on me and we argued for an entire day.”
“In my mind, it wasn’t anything serious, but she obviously wasn’t having that. We still haven’t had a full conversation since then,” he added.
Whether we like to admit it or not, social media has become a space where partners have become detectives who investigate their partner’s page inside out — and even their partner’s ex’s or friends. It has also turned partner’s into the obsessive— why did you like that random girl’s selfie? Or who is that girl wearing a short bodycon dress that keeps liking your photos? Asking type.
But said best by Marissa Gold, a writer for Glamour, “it’s one thing to deal with this kind of nonsense in high school, but no one over 25 needs to be saddled with this type of tomfoolery.” So it’s time to take off your imaginary trench coat, fake mustache, and sunglasses and put your big girl or boy pants on, and put an end to all your toxic social media behavior. Here are a few simple steps you can take to end the unnecessary social media drama in your relationship.
First and Foremost, Be Adults And Talk It Out
Though it may seem ridiculous to have a conversation with your partner about social media, it’s important to know where each of you stands on things that are acceptable and things that are not. “The real crux of this is that relationships take two people and therefore, being honest and upfront about posting styles in a relationship is important,” Dr. Pamela Rutledge, a director at the Media Psychology Research Center, told Cosmopolitan. “If your boyfriend ‘likes’ a picture of an attractive girl, do you feel jealous? Does your boyfriend view your selfies as looking for other guys, intimating that he is ‘not enough?’ Is there a way to find out if your posting bugs your significant other? Yes. Ask.”
When you ask and set boundaries at the beginning of the relationship, you can save yourself and your partner from a lot of friction. So don’t be shy— be upfront!
“I don’t think it’s unreasonable for someone to ask their partner to stop liking or commenting on certain stuff if it bothers them,” Ezra Smith, a college student at Towson University said. “When my girlfriend asked me to stop liking girl’s photos, I stopped, and we’ve been good ever since.”
No Stalking And No Jumping To Conclusions
Almost everyone has those moments where they find themselves lurking on their partner’s page, but it becomes a problem when you’re constantly checking for updates. “If you feel the need to snoop on your partner’s online behavior then there’s a bigger conversation that you need to have about your lack of trust in the relationship, or your feelings of internal security in general,” Jordan Gray, a sex and dating coach told the New York Times. Regularly checking your partner’s social media is like spying on them and you shouldn’t have to spy on your significant other.
During the times that you do happen to notice your partner’s odd social media activity, you must also resist jumping to conclusions. Laurie Davis Edwards, the founder of the dating site eFlirt, told the New York Times that she calls the concept of jumping to conclusions a “storytelling syndrome.” Where a person draws “conclusions to decipher what’s happening without first-hand knowledge… and before you know it, you’re convinced they are cheating on you all because of a comment on someone’s post,” she explained.
Just as it is in the real world, everything is not always what it seems. So ask your partner about their intent before jumping from a to z.
There’s always that one couple who posts everything about their relationship, from #tbts of their last vacation to gushing anniversary posts. —But if we’ve learned anything from social media over the years, it’s that the things we care about the most are best kept private. When you allow people, who are basically strangers to know details about your life and relationship it takes away from having special private moments with your partner.
Couples who excessively post have also been found to be more insecure in their relationship and use social media to overcompensate for their lack of happiness.
“If they’re trying too hard to project a certain image, they’re probably protecting something ― some image or some ideal,” Zach Brittle, a therapist and founder of the online couples therapy series forBetter told the Huffington Post. “Why? As a therapist, I think it’s important to ask that question but not necessarily have to answer it. Ultimately, each couple’s individual story is unique. Social media allows them to craft a version of that story, even if it’s not realistic.”
It’s easy for someone’s relationship to seem better than yours, but as we already know, social media rarely shows the total reality. Anyone can post a perfect picture with their partner on social media. That doesn’t make their relationship better than yours, so don’t get caught up in comparing!
Put Offline Before Online
It’s ok to love social media, but never let it get in the way of your offline life. You and your partner need quality time without any distractions — so get off the phone and enjoy your partner’s company! After all, a connection is what a relationship is built on.
So yes, as Rachel Sussman, a relationship expert and couples therapist, said to The Independent, “social media is a slippery slope,” —but it doesn’t have to be. Once you and your partner put social media drama behind you, there is real hope for a relationship that will last. So follow the steps and don’t end up like the Bryant’s of the world, who are confused and alone because of not addressing the toxic social media behaviors in their relationship.