What impact social media has on your relationship

The dating game is no longer just about dinner and a movie

Social media has revolutionised the way we meet and court love prospects, but what impact has it had on our relationships?

In recent years it’s become increasingly popular for couples to “self-broadcast” or to take to social media to proclaim their love or share intimate moments. But has the added pressure to live up to #couplegoals or the expectation to become “Facebook official” put more strain on our romantic relationships?

IS SHARING CARING?

Nicholas Oshry, Head Coach at Soar Life Coaching, says social media has made dating increasingly complex. “Making a declaration of a new relationship or posting about milestones such as engagements, marriages and babies in front of family can increase levels of fidelity and follow-through within a relationship. It also lets acquaintances know that you’re involved with someone in much the same way as a wedding ring might.”

Privacy, however, can become a concern and intimate moments can easily lose their sense of intimacy when they’re displayed to the whole world. Feeling the need to self-broadcast can come from a place of insecurity – in this case a consistent need to receive validation from outside sources. Unfortunately the more insecurity is fed by validation from others; the more it can grow and create a counterintuitive cycle.

Oshry says this is further compounded by seeing that your couple photos didn’t receive as many likes as someone else’s. “Relationship goals” are unrealistic expectations to try to live up to as people mostly share pictures where they are happiest, so it’s easy to forget that all couples have good and bad days, the latter is just not on your newsfeed.

MAKING THE MOST OF THE MOMENT

Psychologist Andile Mbatha says social media can also negatively affect the quality time you spend with your loved one. “When you are busy sharing moments online, you tend to disconnect from the present. It has become common to see young people at restaurants who are so engrossed in their phones that they barely talk.”

He adds that devices constantly interfere with your conversations and undermine your ability to connect with others because instead of deriving pleasure from your experiences and the people around you, you seek it from your phone. “When you are with your partner, or anybody of significance in your life make an effort to put your phone down and enjoy the moment with them.”