Just pairing the words “social media and relationships” together gives me anxiety.
Although the topic may seem unnecessary, it’s not. It’s a real issue – an issue that I wanted to write about because when it comes to social media and relationships, there isn’t much out there.
The topic of social media and relationships is one of those guilt and shame-inducing unmentionables that we’re too scared to admit we have an issue with. We’re scared because there’s a part of us that feels like we have no right to impose on someone else’s right to do whatever they want with their OWN accounts.
A big reason why this topic never gets discussed: whenever it starts to become an issue, we immediately generate a bandaid-on-cancer excuse.
“He/she had these accounts (and a life!) before me. Who am I to have a problem with it?”
“I FINALLY have what I want. He/she is an amazing person in every aspect. I need to get over this pettiness before I lose them and fail at yet another relationship. I’m not getting any younger. This is just me trying to sabotage a good thing.”
“It’s better than him/her cheating on me! At least he/she feels comfortable enough to do this in front of my face and not behind my back.”
“All men do this! I have no right to be embarrassed or feel shameful about it. He’s just being a guy. It’s not like he’s sexting/DM-ing these Instagram models and a*s/boob accounts. It’s FINE. I clearly need to work on MY issues and insecurities.”
And the list goes on.
So, we give ourselves the excuse pacifier and seek to work on becoming “more understanding,” “less sensitive,” and “stronger.”
Yet, there is STILL this lingering, “if-I-was-good/hot/popular-enough-he-wouldn’t-have-to-follow/comment/like,'” mind f*cking MADNESS that you just can’t shake no matter how many excuses you try to extinguish your partner’s voyeuristic fire with.
Is there social media etiquette for dating and being in relationships?
What are the pink flags that precede the red ones?
When does “normal” social media activity become a deal-breaker?… When does it become wrong?… When does it become creepy?
I’m fortunate to have dated men that could care less about social media. All it took was dating ONE guy that was extremely active on social media, to unearth my most humiliating behavior, reverse narcissism, and deepest insecurities (that I didn’t even know I had in me).
The thing about social media and relationships is that if you’re being disrespected, it’s the most painful checkmate to find yourself in.
There’s nothing that is being DIRECTLY aimed at you, so if you ever call your partner out on it, YOU look like the unreasonable, insecure, and boundary-less a*shole.
When it comes to social media and relationships, here are 5 red flags to look out for…
I hear often from women who say that they’re in great shape, their self-esteem is intact and they feel like they’re with a great guy BUT… He follows an excessive amount of Instagram accounts that display everything that they physically aren’t.
For these women, their self-esteem is intact until they see who he’s following.
And whether he knows the people behind the accounts or not… it hurts.
Another annoying scenario is when he follows his ex/exes. He may even comment on their posts.
As far as deal-breakers go, that’s not for me to say. It’s ultimately up to you to decide what breaks your relational deal. What I am going to provide are some red flags to keep an eye out for when it comes to social media and relationships.
Your head, heart, and libido may be excusing and hanging onto a crumb diet for dear life, but YOUR GUT KNOWS when the crumbs are being taken for a loaf.
Here are the 5 red flags to look out for when it comes to social media and relationships
+ as with all of my writing, this can apply to any gender or orientation.
1. In-Your-Face Awareness.
If your partner follows an excessive number of accounts that you deem as disrespectful; that you, your friends, family, and the world can see, what about the things that you can’t see? I’m not trying to scare you. What I am trying to express is that if your partner is highly sexualized in the public world of social media (and casually follows/likes/comments on numerous model/sexy/naked/porn/ex/inappropriate photos a day for everyone to see, WHILE he’s dating you), that’s a problem.
If your partner isn’t even going to pretend to respect you on a PUBLIC platform, what is he going to do in private? And if he doesn’t deem that as disrespectful, what then? This is so much LESS about insinuating that he will cheat and so much MORE about the kind of mentality that prevents a MUTUALLY loving, honest, loyal, and respectful relationship from EVER forming.
If there is a difference in your personal values and moral codes, a relationship will never work.
2. Preoccupation with activity.
If he’s more preoccupied with likes, followers, and comments than he is an active participant in your relationship… red flag. Conversely, if you have all the females that he follows memorized and are stalking his every social media move WHILE being in a relationship with him, that’s not love. It’s a red flag that needs to be addressed.
As far as how it needs to be addressed, keep in mind that if someone is going to advertise their unavailability, empathetic bankruptness, and disconnectivity for the world to see, it’s safe to assume that taking the time to explain the hurtful effects of something they’re (totally fine with) doing on a public platform, won’t be effective.
Sometimes, you just need to speak with your actions and know when to fold.
3. Attention seeker.
As humans, we are wired to yearn for connection, meaning, and belonging. But when it comes to social media and relationships, attention-seeking behavior is a definite red flag.
When you consistently seek attention on social media, you’re basically proving that for you, image and external validation take precedence over authenticity, substance, maturity, and connection. And what is life without any of those? It’s a red flag when your partner consistently looks for attention outside of your relationship in the name of cyber hearts.
4. “Without communication, there is no relationship. Without respect, there is no love. Without trust, there is no reason to continue.”
If you’ve lost respect for your partner (due to his social media activity), and you’ve lost respect for yourself (due to your social media stalking, excusing, and lack of backbone), true love is going to have an impossibly hard time finding a way.
If your partner does not provide an environment in which you feel safe to express your concerns (in a KIND and civil way), without feeling like you’re going to be abandoned, rejected, or made to feel/look crazy… you’re in red flag, toxic relationship territory.
5. The worst kind of threesome.
Understand that if you’re dating someone who’s social media habits are disrespectful, you will ALWAYS be in an emotional threesome. As I’ve said before – true love is linear, not triangular. Inhabiting a relationship triangle is, in and of itself, a red flag.
If your relationship can be defined as you, him and social media – that’s not true love, that’s a very sh*tty, dysfunctional and heartbreaking threesome. Emotional threesomes always start as little pink flags that enable us to feel “passion” (because we suffer from low self-esteem and define passion as having to compete for basic things like love and respect). However, they quickly turn into deal-breaking red flags that will always be present unless you ACT by exiting the dynamic. There’s no need to explain why you want linear to someone who’s a professional triangle constructor and inhabited.
Written by: Natasha Adamo