In our current society, it’s not enough to demonstrate your love with a significant other through affection, solidarity, and daily reaffirming. Technology has seeped into our lives to the point that we also require to show our union on social media. It seems absurd, yet it’s an undeniable part of our reality.
Each relationship creates its own kind of language, conjugating the verbs of love in different tenses. But what happens when a wave of opinions, external individuals, news, and ideologies that inhabit one space become tethered to the couple?
Keeping up with a romantic relationship on social media is very much like a couple sitting at a huge table with friends, family, coworkers, friends of friends, a few former flings, and random acquaintances from both parties. The pictures, videos, and comments all seem to have the potential for misunderstanding and disaster.
As citizens of the modern age, we face a stupid but incredibly real worry about how to keep love alive while still using social media. Here are a few things some lovebirds do on Facebook that prove their relationship isn’t all roses, cupcakes, and videos of birthday surprises.
The wall becomes a fairytale narration
We all know that one person who turns their Facebook account into a corny scrapbook that should be titled: “Look everyone! I have the best boyfriend in the history of the world.” Couples that constantly flood social media with pictures, phrases, and videos of what a jolly time they're having might actually be proof of a fizzled spark.
The constant affirmations of affection are unraveled by uncertainty. The posts about how in love they are could be them trying to convince themselves that things are going great.
There’s no need to document every meal shared, how you’ve started to dress alike, or a detailed report on that weekend getaway. If you’re truly with the one for you, there’s no one else who needs convincing.
The wrath of jealousy
Gwendolyn Seidman, professor at Albright College’s Psychology department, claims that there is a correlation between possessive couples and excessive posting on social media. This isn’t exactly shocking since “(…) neurotic individuals are generally more jealous in their romantic relationships.” Social media becomes a way they can monitor their beloved’s actions and affirm the hold on their partner.
Another similar research done by Catalina Toma and her team in the University of Wisconsin-Madison supports Seidman’s claim. The study revolved around comparing the success of a relationship with the amount of wall posts shared about their romantic situation.
Toma suggests that social media works as a new form of public displays of affection. It implies commitment, but not necessarily in a positive sense. Not unlike a wedding with its rituals and symbols, such as the ring, which is used as a way of legitimizing the relationship, displays of affection in social media do not assure it will last forever.
Despite the evidence, Seidman concludes there is a possibility to obtain a balance of capturing moments on social media without having a timeline overflowing with posts. What is important is that the couple feels confident enough in their relationship to show their happiness without having to rely on posts to feel reassured.
Translated by María Suárez