Having a relationship in the age of social media is tricky. Every couple has to find their individual comfort zone with what can be shared and what stays private. And while it can be magically butterfly-inducing when you first start dating someone to see a new message or notification from them, keeping social media in the middle of your relationship as things progress past the flirtation stage can be complicated – and, if handled poorly, can even hurt your chances for maintaining your relationship in a healthy way.
At the end of the day, what you share on social media is your call. You’re in control. And what’s right for some people isn’t necessarily right for everyone. But the following 6 pieces of advice have universal application:
No passive aggressive vague posts
Just no. It’s tacky, and no boyfriend/girlfriend is going to enjoy the idea that your dirty laundry is being aired in public, even in a vague way. It will only make issues worse, and create new issues. And unless your friends are complete morons, it’s not going to get anyone on your side. Tweeting or posting statuses like “I guess some people just never learn…” or any stupid, overused famous quote that’s clearly laden with subtext is basically you declaring, “I am avoiding dealing with issues directly in my personal life. I am immature and feel the need to get validation about conflict in my relationship from people who have no real idea what is really going on. I’m the worst.”
Talk about changing your relationship status before you do it
No one wants to find out that the person they’ve been dating wants to be exclusive via a Facebook notification. I’m a big fan of not having a relationship status at all, but if that’s your thing, then at least have a conversation beforehand. Make sure you’re both down with doing it before it happens.
Don’t sweat their interactions with others
It’s one thing if you find out that your significant other is literally having porny conversations with other people, but I’m going to venture to say that far more relationship problems are caused by people projecting their insecurities onto harmless social media interactions. Like, just because your boyfriend liked another girl’s status does not mean he is boning her, or even that he wants to bone her. It probably means that you are feeling less than totally great about your relationship, which is why you’re seeing things like that where they don’t exist. Maybe instead of over-analyzing boring, meaningless social media activity and acting paranoid, you would find your energy better spent trying to figure out what’s really causing you to feel worried in the first place.
Plus, there’s nothing worse than dating someone who watches your every move – it means they don’t trust you, and/or they’re super possessive, neither of which is great to keep a love alive.
Talk about what you’re both comfortable with
Everyone has a different level of comfort with things being shared on social media. I’ve dated people who tweeted their every thought, and people who didn’t even have a Facebook profile. The latter might have had a real problem if I was posting pictures of him sleeping to Instagram. The point is, just talk about it. Make sure you know where each other’s boundaries are so you can avoid accidentally crossing them.
Don’t publicly exchange personal messages
No, but seriously, is there anything worse than that couple who posts on each other’s Facebook walls saying shit like, “Just thinkin’ about you! Work is sooo boring, I miss u! See you at home, sweetie! Xo <3”? I mean, yes, definitely send each other cute messages during the day. That shit makes the world go round. But really? You need to do it in front of everyone? What kind of weird need is that filling, wanting everyone to see that? It’s off-putting. Like, we all know you have about a dozen other ways to communicate – call, text, Facebook message, email, DM, iMessage – there is no reason for a public goddamn Facebook post.
Keep private things private
In your excitement about how perfect you and your person are, it can be tempting to share bits and pieces of your love on social media. Some people genuinely are the kind of awful humans who do this because they need the internet masses to open up and go “aww” before they feel like they’re love is valid. These are the people for whom nothing they do in life matters except in terms of how many Likes it gets them on social media. They are tragic. For the rest of us, sharing sweet photos or quoting something cute they said, or a note they wrote you is generally just a thing we want to do because we’re excited and need something to do with that energy so we’re like, “Look! How lucky am I to be so happy with such a gem of a person?”
The compulsion to social share is understandable, even if we feel a little ashamed about it. But when it comes to the special moments in your relationship, keep it to yourself. If there’s anything we’ve learned from years of over-exposure on social media, it’s that the things we care about the most are best kept private and protected and away from the undeserving eyes of the Internet. Keep your love just for you, and share it organically with the people in your real life. You don’t need the rest of the world involved.