I am the first to admit I have a social media problem. It’s the first thing I check in the morning and the last thing I do at night. I spend most of my day taking Snapchat selfies or scrolling through Twitter. So it logically follows that if anyone knows about the damaging repercussions of social media on our relationships, it’s the girl with the self-confessed addiction.
Sometimes, I genuinely wonder how people maintained relationships before texting, Snapchat and Tinder. It makes me shudder to think that once upon a time, people had to call their partners if they wanted to speak to them. Why put myself through a long, uncomfortable phone call when I can just send them a hilarious gif via iMessage?
However, there is a much darker side to social media and the effect it has on modern relationships…
The benefits that social media has had on relationships are clear: it’s easier to meet new people (thanks, Tinder…), it’s easier to connect and communicate with those we like, and it is even easier to maintain a long distance relationship, due to Skype and FaceTime.
However, there is a much darker side to social media and the effect it has on modern relationships. Over the years, I have developed many ways to check if someone is ignoring me, from checking their ‘last seen’ time on Facebook, to stalking their Twitter. It’s unhealthy and dangerous but it becomes an addiction, especially for those of us who have anxiety issues linked to rejection.
An opened snapchat means they think you’re unattractive. An unfollow on Instagram means they think you’re irritating…
While the rationally minded understand that a read and ignored message or a snapchat does not constitute anything deeper than the person being busy, every anxiety-ridden person sees this as something more serious. An ignored message means they don’t want to talk to you. An opened snapchat means they think you’re unattractive. An unfollow on Instagram means they think you’re irritating. Social media allows us to see our flaws in full and lays out our deepest worries for us to analyse and dissect.
Social media gives us a chance to write people off before we’ve even met them. I know I’m not the only girl who has stalked her Tinder matches online and decided that because he posted a status in 2009 stating “how overrated Beyonce is” I’m not going to go on that date with him. Social media gives us the chance to learn everything about a person, but we should remember that it only presents what we want others to know. It doesn’t, and never will, provide an accurate depiction of someone’s life.
If you’re not over that person, the constant reaffirmation on social media that your ex is doing better without you can hit like a tonne of bricks…
Not only can social media cause insecurities at the beginning and throughout the relationship, it also makes breakups more painful. Social media offers us constant reminders of those we were convinced we loved, from tagged pictures to retweets. We can see exactly when our ex is out with other potential partners thanks to their Snapchat story. If you’re not over that person, the constant reaffirmation on social media that your ex is doing better without you can hit like a tonne of bricks.
Perhaps relationships without social media wouldn’t be so bad after all. At least when Elizabeth Bennett corresponded with Mr Darcy she had the time it took to write the letter to consider whether that passive aggressive smiley face emoji was really the best thing to send.