Something to worry about or leave well alone? Cara Croke asks the experts.
From birthday posts and pizza nights in to happy holiday boomerangs, it seems like a common rule of thumb to broadcast your relationship on Instagram nowadays. But what does it mean when your relationship appears to be the opposite of that? You never get a ‘Woman Crush Wednesday’ shout out and it kind of looks like your fella took a two-weeker to Torremolinos by himself from looking at his Insta feed.
It’s normal to get a bit bogged down if your significant other rarely posts about your relationship online, especially if you’re more than willing to hop on the PDA train yourself. But is a lack of social media posting something to really worry about? Clinical Manager and Systemic Psychotherapist at the Clanwilliam Institute Alice Kelly says this isn’t necessarily the case.
“The way someone chooses to portray their relationship on social media is a personal decision and although many happy, healthy relationships are broadcast on social media, some people are more comfortable keeping that side of their lives private. Try not to equate your lack of presence on your partner’s page to their lack of love for you.”
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It can be easy to accept that some people just aren’t into social media, in fact lots of my friends tend to look for a man who doesn’t have a big online presence. However, it can become an issue if your other half does have a big social media platform – but you’re just not part of it.
“If your partner is very active on social media and would generally post about all of their activities and has posted about relationships in the past, yet you’re not present at all, this could be a sign of something else going on in the relationship,” Alice says.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to keep you a secret, there may just be some uncertainty about the relationship on their side that warrants exploring by both of you. If you are upset by this, you need to talk to them about it as your worries and concerns will only escalate as time goes on.”
It’s important to remember that social media is simply a curation of the image people want to portray. Although people who appear to have the perfect relationship online may be truly happy, we can’t forget that a lot of the time they’re just sharing snapshots of the ‘good’ aspects of their lives. Comparing your own relationship to this type of behaviour can be detrimental to your long-term happiness, explains Alice.
“Relationships on social media look ‘perfect’, however we never see the reality of the arguments or conflicts and down days that all relationships have. This can put extra pressure on people when they’re comparing their own relationship to the ones they see portrayed online.”
“The clash between expectations and reality can be the downfall of any relationship and the expectations built up by seeing all these ‘perfect’ relationships online can mean that people can confuse regular, ‘normal’ arguments and relationship stressors as a sign that their relationship is doomed.
“If you stop obsessing about whether or not your partner posts about you online, it removes so much pressure and brings you back to being present in your relationship in real life. Studies have shown that when people felt more insecure about their partner’s feelings, they tended to make their relationship more visible on social media. If you’re consumed with posting about your relationship all the time, the risk is that you will miss experiencing and appreciating your actual relationship in real life.”
So maybe don’t worry so much about the social media aspect of your relationship and spend some time investing in some actual displays of affection with your other half, it might make you both happier in the long run.