Influence of Social Media on Romantic Relationships

Social media is a gift that keeps on giving. However, its influence on romantic relationships is such a grey area that it's worth discussing.

Social media has been ingrained so much into our world today. Everyone is in a frenzy when it comes to socializing online, posting updates, and so on. With the emergence of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, and Twitter, etc. communication has never been easier thanks to mobile phones. With just a few clicks and a stable internet connection, video calling, texting, and sharing media can happen from any part of the world. We are now in constant conversation with others no matter where they are and what they are doing. Unsurprisingly, this has changed the way people create and maintain relationships, especially romantic relationships.

Social media sites including online dating sites have made the process of meeting new people and having conversations with them very easy. With apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and Grindr, people are now able to reach hundreds of eligible men and women within their cities and even around the world.

Social media is a gift that keeps on giving. However, its influence on romantic relationships is such a grey area that it's worth discussing.

Is Social media dangerous?

Our generation is experiencing the growth of social media and we can see how it gets ingrained into our life more and more. Most people are using social media. It is very popular among the young generation especially. Even if we look at the statistics, we will come across the same story. Social media is continuing to gain popularity every day. The effects on teenagers are also quite evident in different frames of our lives. Scrolling through the feeds feels like a harmless part of our daily lives but the use is linked with increased rates of anxiety, depression, and poor sleep. Social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. Social media is awesome when not overextended!

While using social media, the user is bombarded with photos and information about other people's lives. When a couple is having trouble in their current relationship and goes under high emotional strain, one or both the individuals may seek solace in other people, including past or maybe present love interests. So for someone bored and looking for something new, social media can provide him or her with many options that can be detrimental to the current relationship. It can show an individual a reality that he or she may believe to be better than the current.

Moreover, even if a couple remains faithful during a relationship but begins to argue regularly or begins to have conflict, instead of focusing on ways to maintain the relationship, this may make one or both the individuals forgo the relationship due to many, seemingly more appealing prospects that are readily available at the literal touch of a finger. A partner’s satisfaction in a relationship may also decrease based on his or her perception of other relationships seen on social media.

Romance, relationships, and dating have significantly changed in the past few decades. Dating has always been easy for most people but with the digital age, it is tougher, especially with all the pressures of social media. Social media and technology are shifting societal norms resulting in a dissonance of morals in dating today vs. dating in the past. 20 years ago there was no social media and very little influence from the internet, making it seemingly easier to sustain a relationship.

So many successful relationships of our generation can be credited to social media applications like Tinder, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. But these apps at the same time have a disastrous ability to burn bridges among friends and even permanent damage to relationships.

A recent study by one of the Research Centres showed that around 91 percent of people between the ages of 18-29 actively use the internet. 70 percent of people are actively using social media and 89 percent go online to check notifications every day and more than 50 percent own smartphones that can access these sites and applications. The 2020 study shows a 12.5% increase of users and activated accounts from 2015. That means 3.81 billion people are using social media worldwide in 2020.

How does this affect the quality of relationships?

Trust can be lost, jealousy takes over and things that would never have been considered disloyal 20 years ago are being considered. A simple double-tap on someone's photo or post, a subtweet about someone, following someone or even having specific apps can stir up fights, create unnecessary drama and make someone feel insignificant to their partner.

The unrealistic expectations regarding emotional and physical image play a huge part in the feelings some might have toward social media and relationships. When posting online people mostly show the best version of them for others to see. They want to come off appealing.

With the influence of celebrities, parody accounts, and the constant posts from people you may know, it is easy to assume things about people's lives that aren't true and set unrealistic aspirations for yourself and your relationship. Young people are constantly connected to the world even when alone and most people don't go anywhere without their phones.

In the past, relationships were mostly face-to-face, and couples didn't face the petty problems that arise from social media. Before smartphones and social media, there were no distractions by technology, and when you weren't around people you didn't have the technology to constantly be communicating with others via the internet.

Technology a blessing or a curse? is a debate that is still not resolved but there is no denying that technology has made our life easier. But the constant connection to the world without barriers can create difficulties in maintaining a healthy relationship with a partner. It is important to maintain a realistic mindset about your relationship and respect your partner.

Earlier, people would get married and settle down with the people in their hometown, and that was fine. But these days, thanks to the internet and social media, we have the whole world at our fingertips. Could this be why relationships in the digital age aren't as easy as the relationships of yore? From having high expectations to getting jealous of a significant other's past. There are many negative factors that social media can bring to a relationship. Coming to social media influencing or affecting the relationship, there are few habits that we have adopted after getting smartphones and getting hooked to social media. For instance, spending more time on social media results in less time spent with your spouse, the worst is giving more attention to the phone when a partner is around. Nothing hurts more than that.

Couples who post less on social media are happier, relationship experts say. If you are posting a lot, you may not be as happy. Whether you're out and about or sitting at home, if you and your spouse, or both of you are on your phones you can miss out on quality time together. You are in the same physical space but absent in heart and mind.

Comparison is unavoidable, we see someone on social media doing something nice for their partner and we start comparing our spouse to them. Comparison can lead to dissatisfaction. Not only that, but some studies suggest there is a link between an increase in social media usage and a decrease in marital satisfaction. That is, the more time someone spends online, the less happy they are with their marriage.

It opens up possibilities to reconnect with old friends or start new relationships. It is a vicious cycle of a single Like turning into comments, Comments turn to DMs, and so forth. Here's the bottom line, if you're hiding what you do from your spouse, or doing things in secret, it is a cause for concern and it is certainly driving a wedge between the couple.

So examine your habits and how you spend your time. Make changes. Spend time talking with people or your spouse rather than spending time on social media. Get on track! Treat your partner the same way you want to be treated, never compare them with anyone, and always find time for each other. If you want something to last, you have to take care of it and work on it every day.