It’s hard to remember a time before social media, when our only means of connecting with friends, family and peers was through calling or writing letters. Remember when we had little-to-no access to our favorite celebrities who we now feel like we “know” thanks to their readily available Instagram feeds? And while social networking has had a hand in strengthening relationships (i.e. allowing us to keep in touch with friends and family across the globe, advancing our careers, and even helping us find love), experts say it has a mostly negative influence on romantic relationships.
“Men and women are constantly being shown images of what the ‘ideal’ relationship looks like, and this can put a lot of strain on relationships that don’t live up to the ridiculous standards set by celebrity couples,” explains Jonathan Bennett, relationship and life coach and certified counselor in Columbus, Ohio. This gives many a “grass is greener” type of mentality, where they’re not just wondering if there’s someone better out there for them, but they actually “see” better options. Much of how we express (or don’t express) our relationships on social media says a great deal about the status of them, experts say.
Here, they reveal what your social media posts might say about your relationship.
You vent about your relationship
Whether it’s out of frustration or humor, taking your relationship grievances to social media in the form of a post for all the world to see will most likely come back to bite you, experts say, especially if you’re doing it to the extent where your partner feels exposed. “This is a violation of your partner’s and relationship’s privacy and only shows your desperate need to feel important and be noticed,” says Jane Greer, Ph.D., a New York-based relationship expert and author of What About Me?: Stop Selfishness from Ruining Your Relationship.
“It's more important to look at your relationship through your own eyes than portray it for the world to see and judge.” Instead, she suggests keeping any bit of information you’d consider private just that—private.
You rarely post anything about your relationship
If you’re not someone who uses social media often, then it’s no surprise that your few posts don't center on your significant other. But if you’re someone who posts on the regular and only a handful (if that) are dedicated to your significant other, it can mean one of two things, according to experts. Bennett says that your lack of focus on your relationship could mean you are ashamed of it, or your partner, and simply do not value it as much as other aspects of your life. It could also mean, however, that you value privacy and intimacy in a more traditional way and don't feel the need to share their personal relationship with friends and strangers.
“It's hard to distinguish whether their privacy is more a desire to hide the relationship (from other single people he or she may have on their profiles),” explains Dr. Greer. “We all take pictures of our life and want to share the joys and pleasures with the people we care about, so find a comfortable balance between the two of you.”
You post about your relationship nonstop
If the only time you think to log onto social media is to say something, or post a photo, about your relationship, it says you have something to prove to the world, explains Rori Sassoon, premier matchmaker and CEO of Platinum Poire. This may be a sign of insecurity as an individual or in your relationship. “Commenting and including your partner on everything you do is what an insecure or codependent relationship looks like,” she says. “And if it’s your partner who is constantly commenting and including you on everything he or she posts, he or she is either trying to claim you as his or her property or showing signs of codependency.”
You post about your relationship every now and then
If your relationships posts are in balance with other topics you post about, be it work, your passion for animals or your exercise regimen, you are likely in a healthy relationship and post about your significant other because he or she makes you happy. “This kind of posting behavior is giving people a glimpse into your relationship without putting your whole life on display,” explains Sassoon. “This says that you have a healthy relationship that doesn’t need to be validated by other people.”
You frequently post love letters to your partner
If you often feel the need to write love letter-type posts to your partner for all the world to see—not just on his or her birthday or on Valentine’s Day—it is most likely insincere. “Showing your love for your partner is a beautiful thing, however, like all things, it is good in moderation,” explains Sassoon. Instead, she suggests keeping the love letters the way they were in the old days and still should be today—intimate and between the two of you. “Give your followers a break and mix it up with your other interests.”
You only post photos if they’re perfect
How we post photos on social media says a lot about who we are and our level of happiness and security in the relationships we find ourselves in. For example, if you’re someone who refuses to post a photo unless both people look their very best and, perhaps, even find yourself constantly enhancing features with one of the hundreds of photo-enhancing apps available, you are likely unhappy with either yourself or your relationship (or both). “This might mean that you’re either trying to convince yourself or the world that the relationship is perfect when it’s less than ideal and are avoiding the problem areas that need to be fixed,” says Bennett.
Most of the photos you post are selfies
While there’s nothing wrong with a good old selfie, (especially when the lighting is too good to pass up) if every photo on your feed features you and only you, it shows that getting attention is your number one mission. “If you only post selfies, crop your S.O. out of photos and mention very little about him or her, then it’s clear your relationship with him or her isn’t a major priority,” says Bennett. “You’re more seeking attention and self-promotion than hoping to display your relationship.” When one partner is receiving constant attention (whether wanted or unwanted) from total strangers all the time, this can create issues in a relationship.