The Case for Keeping Your Relationship Entirely Off Social Media
Young love! Starting a new relationship can be so exciting -- you found another person with whom you share a special, wonderful bond, and you're basking in happiness. It's all you can think about. You can't wait to tell the world!
Well, you should be doing the exact opposite of that. Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg and his myriad social media counterparts, it's all too easy today to publicize every minute detail of our lives -- even the personal stuff. And unless you're a cast member on Sister Wives, an intimate relationship is comprised of TWO people: you and your partner. Notice how I didn't also list your 985 Facebook friends? While I understand wanting to share a blissful romance with everyone you know, below I shall allocate why you shouldn't -- and how making your private life public can do more harm than good.
You avoid false validation
Everyone knows that omnipresent couple on social media... and everyone hates them. They upload incessant "usies" that all look the same, banter about last night's amazinggg dinner via Facebook comments, and post "I love you babe" on each other's walls. Yes, you're aware that this advertised version of their relationship is all smoke and mirrors, but it's hard to constantly remind yourself of that.
So you covetously look at Mitch and Deborah and think, "Wow, I want a love like theirs!" But what you DON'T know is that they had a screaming fight last night over who finished the box of Bagel Bites. You think they’d share a status update about that? Of course not! People only tell the world the good stuff because it’s a way to show off and seek validation from others.
Don’t be Mitch and Deborah. If you feel the need to post signs of your relationship all over Facebook, ask yourself why. It's likely a sign of a much bigger issue.
You steer clear of unrealistic pressures
So, you've been seeing a guy. You make plans together three times a week and you've met his parents. But he never asked you to be in a Facebook relationship, so are you even officially dating?!
Please stop this nonsense. A stupid link that virtually connects your profile to your partner's should NOT hold that much weight. It puts unnecessary pressure on the relationship. If he calls you his girlfriend, takes you on dates, and likes your company in real life, then congratulations. You're dating!
Speaking of "likes," it’s a sad-but-true reality that the "likes" we get on Instagram and Facebook directly correlate with our feelings of self-worth. So if you share something really special on social media (i.e., your relationship), you'll naturally take the feedback to heart.
"Why'd our vacation album only get one comment?" "Why hasn't my boyfriend even liked our photos yet?" Consider this: all it takes to "like" something is a mindless click of a mouse. Measuring your partner’s devotion by his level of social media interaction with you can cause resentment... especially if he’s a private person and doesn't think of it that way. (In which case, he sounds like a keeper!)
You keep exes out of your business
Do you really want to give ex-flames an open invite to track your love life? Even if you're foaming at the bit to post a make-out sesh photo to rub in your cheating ex's face, it's still ill-advised. Stirring the pot with jealousy-inducing posts encourages stalker-like conduct. You might THINK you want your ex to be envious of your newfound happiness, but envious people tend to do audacious things without thinking. You know, like message you and try to sabotage things -- or worse, accost the SO you decided to tag in the photo. This could cause severe disruption to a budding relationship.
Also, be extra careful broadcasting your current romance if you're in the midst of a divorce or separation. Anything you say (or post) can (and most likely will) be used against you in a court of law.
The takeaway: if you’re truly happy and secure in your new relationship, you shouldn't care what your ex thinks. Actually, you shouldn't think about them at all.
You enjoy cleaner breakups
When I split with a guy a few years ago, the heartbreak was followed by impending doom when I realized I would have to log in and delete our Facebook relationship. I knew that once the update flooded people's newsfeeds, I'd be bombarded with questions and have to relive the devastation. I didn't want people’s sympathy or inquiries -- I just wanted to be left alone with a bottle of wine and old-school Carrie Underwood on repeat. But whose fault was that? Mine. I chose to make my private life public and as soon as things went downhill, I suffered for it. That's when I decided to deactivate Facebook altogether; I haven't been on the site since.
Look, you don't need to take my drastic all-or-nothing route (because how else would you share your #glutenfree meal photos?) But in the instance that you do unfortunately suffer a breakup, I guarantee you’ll be happy with any preventative measures taken to not draw attention to it on the internet.
Other people can't run their mouths
When you publish private matters for all to see, you’re giving your followers the opportunity to form (and voice) opinions about your relationship. Your Auntie Joan is retired, so she'll spend a few hours perusing your boyfriend’s profile after you tagged him in a photo. Then she'll call, advising you to dump him because he looked like a player in 2009.
Then there's Ashley, a girl from high school with whom you haven't spoken in years. She'll comment on one of your couple photos, "Aw, you guys look SO happy!" Then she'll screenshot the pic and send it to Becca with the caption, "Wasn't she JUST dating someone else two months ago??" And Becca happens to have loose lips and works with your boyfriend’s brother... you get the idea. I'm not saying you should care what other people say. But why even give them the opportunity to say anything at all?
You can have a stronger connection with your partner IRL
These days, some people consider a photo "like" or a retweet from a significant other to be a legitimate form of communication. But you know what’s a million times more effective in strengthening a relationship? Real conversation! Spending time together! Showing physical affection!
Eighty-seven percent of people in a relationship rate touching as an extremely important part of building intimacy, according to the Touch Initiative survey presented by K-Y and the Kinsey Institute. And yet, 34% of those men and women said they're not touched enough. When you make an earnest effort to keep your love life off social media, you get to go back to the basics to foster your relationship. That's a GOOD thing. So c'mon, people -- get off Facebook and touch each other! Or at least use your hands for hand-holding, which is WAY better than clicking a "like" button.
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.
Brooke Sager is an NYC-based contributing writer for Thrillist. You won’t find her on Facebook, but you can follow her on Instagram and Twitter: @HIHEELZbrooke.