Perhaps, the obsessive need for online validation is part of the upgrades in the social media age. Back when my grandmother sat by the riverside waiting for her, ‘gentleman caller’, she didn’t need to take selfies and post it on Facebook before she’d feel like something official was going on between them – well, there was no Facebook.
Things have changed from those days when you’d use a picture of you and your partner as your wallpaper and they’d feel on top of the world. People seemed happier back then.
Nowadays, if you don’t regularly show them off on social media, you’d be guilty of avoiding commitment and this could cause a strain on your relationship. You could also be charged with not being proud of your partner or the horrible act of ‘two-timing’. Your online space needs to be buzzing with details of your relationship if you’re going to keep things checked on all fronts. Gone are the days when relationships were made official on the third date. These days, all you have to do is upload three ‘loved up’ photos on Snapchat and you’re all set.
Most people would argue that there’s nothing wrong with sharing details of their relationship online. We’re in the era of Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp Status. A lot of people’s lives revolve around updating their social media accounts, so it’s only natural to show off the people they love and make them an emblem on such accounts.
You don’t need online approval to be happy
Thousands of people who are addicted to social media suffer mild to severe depression and social anxiety . When you spend a lot of time surfing Instagram and following the seemingly exotic lives of other people, you’re at a high risk of falling into the line to try to ‘level up’ to others. You could end up living a life you can’t afford and staying in a relationship you don’t really want to impress your followers online. If a breakup happens, you’d painstakingly have to delete all the pictures of your ex across your accounts and explain the change to your followers when you find love again.
Your relationship is not a contemporary romantic movie. You can be happy right there in your feelings. People who are truly happy in their relationships don’t care whether they are on their partner’s page or not . The most important thing is that they spend as much time as they can together, sharing in each other’s lives and growing together. A couple could have a perfect life on social media and be highly dysfunctional in real life. For some people, the perfect virtual life is everything – thousands of people can’t see what the real deal looks like.
A 2016 survey of 170 undergraduates in relationships explored “the relationship between online self-presentation and offline relational characteristics .” The researchers compared the behavior of those who were more Facebook-present and those who focused on making it work in the real world. They reported that offline couples were more likely to stay committed and happy in their relationships.
True happiness comes from being together
You shouldn’t get upset when your partner takes too long to upload your recent bombshell picture on their status. You should be more concerned that you two haven’t seen each other in a while. Your happiness should come from your real-life conversations and time spent in each other’s company – or time spent skyping if you’re in a long-distance relationship. Talk about your day, goals, dreams, and aspirations. Listen to your partner and bask in their love and attention. When you’re not going out of your way to get the perfect pictures for Instagram, you’d pay more attention to the things that matter.
You don’t owe any online follower proof that you’re actually happy. You don’t need anyone’s validation or approval to make your relationship official. Most online couples only have an illusion of happiness that thrives on the virtual space. In the real world, they’d usually find it difficult to hold up an intimate conversation.
Building a strong relationship – here’s what you can do:
Plan dates to each other’s favorite locations – You don’t have to go to the most exotic rooftop in town to kick things off. Find out where your partner enjoys hanging out and set up a date at this spot. Spending time at your favorite spot is great, but what’s better is being at this spot with someone you have feelings for. Your preferences don’t have to be the same, but it’s important to get comfortable with each other’s lives and share in one another’s interests.
Communication is everything – A relationship tends to fade into the background when there’s a lack of communication. Be open with your partner and talk about everything. Sharing details of your life and plans will let them know how important they are to you. Talk openly about your problems and try to find solutions before they strain your relationship.
Honesty – It’s easy to get trapped in one’s lies and shatter a hold of trust. Tell the truth from the start and be completely honest with each other. Don’t lie about your career, your finances, your sexual preferences, your age, or even trivial things just to match your partner’s taste. Be who you are and if they don’t love you that way, then they are not meant for you.
Apologize and forgive – No relationship can be completely perfect because human beings with different personalities are involved. Fall-outs are bound to happen now and then. Learn to apologize when you’re wrong and forgive when your partner tries to make things right. However, if your partner is a serial cheater or abuses you in any way, it’s best to make a quick exit from such a toxic relationship. You deserve better.
Celebrate each other’s achievements – No matter how little these wins are, let your partner know that their successes are your successes too. Be genuinely happy for them and insist on celebrating their achievements. The celebration doesn’t always have to be in lavish parties or exotic dates. You could celebrate over pizza and a few glasses of wine. Graduation, a new job, a new car, a promotion – just let your partner know that you’re rooting for them.
Your followers online would gush and post lovely comments on your photos, but the same people will make shameful fun of you when things go south. True happiness comes from being present in each other’s lives and creating a mutual support system that the other person can always lean on.
- Gigen Mammoser. The FOMO Is Real: How Social Media Increases Depression and Loneliness. Health Line. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/social-media-use-increases-depression-and-loneliness. Retrieved 12-11-19
- Bridie Pearson-Jones. The one simple sign your relationship is a happy one. Indy 100. https://www.indy100.com/article/one-simple-sign-your-relationship-is-happy-is-a-happy-one-7736641. Retrieved 12-11-19
- Lane et al. Making it Facebook official: The warranting value of online relationship status disclosures on relational characteristics. Science Direct. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563215302314. Retrieved 12-11-19
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