Due to the negative impact its had in her past relationships, shes actively chosen to keep social media out of this one. After having an especially bad partner, she found it hard to trust people and used social media as a way to keep tabs on themto an unhealthy extent.
Ive let social media affect my relationships in the past, Niamh says. Ive repeatedly checked what and who theyve liked and followed on Instagram to make myself feel bad about my appearance and who I am, or brought things up to cause arguments.
Ever since the term Facebook official entered mainstream consciousness, social media has been a billboard for couples to showcase their relationship and prove how much they love each other. While there are advantages to social media in a relationshipsuch as keeping in touch long distanceit also has the potential to create a lot of pressure and negatively impact self-esteem and trust.
If there are existing pressures in your relationship, social media can heighten issues of mistrust, provide more opportunities for miscommunication, or encourage folks to be disingenuous and hide behind well-staged photos or vague emojis, relationship therapist, educator, and author tells Mens Health.
It may seem harsh to unfollow your partner, or to never follow them in the first placearen’t you supposed to follow people you like?but for many couples, it’s proven to be a healthy decision.
For Ian and Amber, who have been dating for five years, it wasnt a conscious choice not to follow each other on social mediathey just never happened to click the button. Over time, they realized that it was benefiting their relationship, and decided to stick with it. Amber views their social media as a space for both of them to post what they want; they can tell the other person about the things they share as they see fit.
I feel a lot of times you see that they posted something before they replied to you, and you get upsetor you can see they are online and still havent replied,” she says. “I, for one, read way into things, so I would get mad or jealous over nothing. So if he thought something he shared was worth me seeing, hell show it to me in personand vice versa.
Young couple text messaging on cell phones and ignoring each other.
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For couples that spend most of their time together, like Ian and Amber, social media can be a place for them to exist as a “me” rather than the “we” they usually are. Its kind of like our little escape from each other, because in a relationship you do need space and time apart, Amber says. This doesnt mean theyre using it as a space to flirt with other people or disrespect their relationshipit just acts as a digital room, of sorts, that is solely their space.
“There are a lot of reasons folks may choose not to follow each other that are not about the state of their relationship,” Francis points out. “Our lives are already so constantly connected, social media may be one domain where folks can have some degree of separation.
For Jen*, who has been in an open relationship with her partner on and off for four years, following him on social media in the past has only added to her stress. Regardless of their chosen relationship dynamic, seeing pictures of him out with other girls didn’t make her feel good. In the past year, she chose to unfollow himfor her well-being and the relationships. Instead, she has chosen to trust him to tell her anything she needs to know.
As long as there is a mutual respect and an adequate level of transparency, it can save the relationship a lot of unneeded tension, Jen says. And she’s onto something: Realizing that youre reacting negatively to the other persons behavior or online persona is a very good reason to unfollow them, Francis explains.
Comfortable homosexual couple using digital tablet and cell phone in bed
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So should you keep social media out of your relationship?
When deciding if you want to follow your significant other on social media, its important to honestly analyze yourself and your tendencies. If you find yourselves already jumping to conclusions, overanalyzing, or doubting your partner, consider taking it slowly when entering each others digital lives, Francis says. Talk about your questions or concerns without accusing or restricting. It may be worth establishing boundaries, expectations, and a foundation of trust before jumping into following one another.
Niamh saw herself doing those negative habits in the past, and didnt want to bring them into her new relationship. I wanted to learn to trust him rather than be constantly on high alert and looking for problems that werent there,” she says. “It has really helped! I have never been happier or trusted someone more. And its also none of my business what he does on Instagram.
If you still choose to follow each other, that’s okay too, says Maria Sullivan, dating expert and VP of . At the end of the day, being able to spend time with your partner in person is what matters the most, says. If you are happy in your relationship and love being with your partner, if you follow them on social media or not shouldnt matter. If you choose not to follow your partner and they understand your reasons and respect them, that is whats important.