It seems like each time you log on Facebook or Instagram you’re going to see a new engagement, wedding or birth announcement. Most likely you have a couple friends who post every moment of their romantic relationship on social media platforms, so it seems. That being the case, you probably also know a few couples who paint a rosy picture of their relationship while you know there is trouble brewing from within.
We wanted to hear from our in-house relationship and sex therapist, Dana Sarhan, about the affects of social media on relationships and why all those love birds feel the need to (seemingly) put it all out there. Here’s what she had to say!
Is it true that the healthiest relationships are the ones that don’t exist on social media?
It is fair to say that most healthy relationships are more private than public on social media. Social media creates a certain pressure and puts irrelevant and unneeded environmental stress on couples. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to celebrate certain moments, though, and there are always exceptions of course. It really does depend on the person and their level of tolerance and comfort. With time people tend to learn how to balance that.
Why do couples feel the need to share their private moments in public?
There are many reasons why couples would feel the need to share special moments. Social media has opened barriers and allowed people to celebrate moments together regardless of space and time. Connection with loved ones dotted around the world is one need.
Another could be cultural and/or social approval. There is a certain spark and reassurance provided when people support or admire events, pictures, or chats on social media, and now one can have that without the need to step outside their homes.
How does someone avoid comparing themselves to lives on social media?
Social media tends to be exhausting, over-stimulating, and quite competitive. Everyone has the best lives online and everyone presents their best selves. Technology becomes destructive when it reaches a point of negativity. Balancing your time offline and online is one way to emotionally detach from all that’s seen there. Another is to actually understand that there’s always more to what we see on social media. You never know what’s going on behind closed doors.
How can we use today’s technology and social media to improve our relationships and not destroy it?
There are many means that have been created in order to bridge gaps and improve relationships. Skype, Face-Time, and other means of communication have helped millions of couples spice up their lives as well as connect if they are away from each other. Emails have also formed a safe space for couples to create intimate chats that, if used correctly, can be used for creating anticipation.
As an expert, how do you recommend or help someone psychologically recognize that something is not okay?
Generally speaking, if you feel emotionally exhausted, negative, anxious and/or psychologically drained after using social media, that is usually an indication that maybe you should use it less. It’s simpler than it looks. Many applications on social media work on making you feel inadequate, so when you do feel that then it’s time to take a break.