Congratulations! You’ve found the one! Time to change your statu- WAIT! Before you share your newly acquired coupled status with the world, be sure that bringing your relationship to the online stage is a wise move.
Just as people want to digitally mark their real-world friendships by befriending their buddies on Facebook, numerous others have taken to signify their romantic relationships too. By no means is it a simple status change such as X is now in a relationship with Y. Relationships on social media platforms go beyond that, both disadvantageously and beneficially.
By all means, social networks are a great canvas upon which to exhibit the joy that comes with being in a relationship. From the tagged selfies of couples cuddling on the sofa, to the back and forth exchange of statuses and comments “Love you, babe – “Luv u too xx”, social media has rapidly become a convenient means to declaring one’s love. It follows from the gestures of yesteryear: bouquets of flowers and engraved briefcases, but now taking place in public view.
Often, the shared experiences that come from being in a relationship are suited to a presence on a social media account. It acts as a great log of your time together, that can be reflected upon in later life, as you sit in the rocking-hover-chair during your elder years. Holiday snaps, romantic gestures, dinners together: no matter the occasion, sharing such material on activity feeds is a case of exhibiting and archiving.
Evidence shows that a relationship involving social media is not only becoming more prevalent but also beneficial. A July 2013 study showed that couples who post more about their relationships on Facebook reported feeling happier and more secure in their partnerships. It’s a means to celebrating the positive moments of your relationship.
For the viewing singletons that feel lonesome, such posts will only generate greater insecurities and woe about their lack of romance. Therefore one should be considerate and careful about how much is shared. If you’re the only one amongst your single friends in a relationship, then there may be problems when your posts are interpreted as boasts. Indeed, sharing everything could lead to a loss of individuality. Your online friends may question if they are still friends with you, or some hybrid of you and your partner.
A new trend has started to emerge on social media. That is of the merging of two people onto one account. This may not be done by defined means, but it is becoming more common to find a case where “SamAnd Alex” like your picture. Is this blend a positive demonstration of a happy couple? Or does it suggest a level of insecurity that doesn’t permit a sense of individuality and privacy any more?
It would now be worthwhile to discuss the reverse of this situation. Away from the romantic babble that might flood a newsfeed, what impact does social networking have upon relationships?
For some couples, this continuous flurry of digital affection may be a key aspect of their relationship, which when reduced or forgotten could raise concerns. Your partner could be the sort to question your love if you didn’t like their declaration of love for you. Were the couples from the study mentioned earlier simply happy because shared content provided a sense of security and confidence in a relationship? Would the absence of such content lead to a relationship riddled with distrust and concern?
Take note to tread carefully. The smallest gestures could become magnified into ‘a lack of consideration.’ If you’re considering ‘liking’ that attractive co-worker’s really funny status, think of the fallout. There’s every possibility your partner may not see the funny beyond the co-worker. Thinking of changing your privacy settings just for greater security? Then make sure you have nothing to hide, because your loved one could think that you’re trying to hide something from them.
Relationships are usually based upon a careful balance of autonomy and intimacy. In the latter, you want to ensure you are still expressing and demonstrating your affection for your loved one, but because of the former, you still want a sense of self and not feel smothered by your relationship. Social networking is built for the individual person.
Interestingly, social networks have become a large contributing factor for divorces and break-ups with accusations and blame based on online actions. So for what could have been a beautiful demonstration of love, could very well become a hot bed of supposed infidelity in the courtroom.
Relationships are an intimate affair and have long been this way. But the emergence of social media offers both opportunities and challenges to this. Ultimately it’s down to you and your significant other to take the time to discuss how much of your private lives you want to share in public view, and how much you want to involve social media in your relationship.
We’d love to hear your views on this. Is it good or bad for a couple to have a joint account? How much is too much in regard to ‘relationship’ material? Do you have any stories about social networks and relationships?