Confidence and security in a relationship have never been the easiest of things to maintain. It is natural for everyone, regardless of who you date, to feel jealous or uncertain at times in their relationship. To make matters worse, several social media platforms were introduced.
Instagram has turned into a place where everyone battles to market themselves as the greatest human to exist with the most perfect life, relationship, successes, and body shape. Social media, or low self-esteem in general, should never be the cause for break up in a relationship, but it is, and quite often, to say the least.
When it comes to social media and how it affects our confidence and relationships, it is vital to remember the following:
1) What you see on Instagram is not real
As I said before, Instagram is no longer the simple publishing of photos; it is now a full-blown marketing tool. One of the aspects of life that people love to market for themselves is their relationships. It creates doubt within us to see others thriving in their relationships. Whether we see photos of dates, flowers being received, a romantic getaway, or curated videos that make it appear that a couple could not possibly be happier. Every time we see a relationship-related Instagram post, we immediately and involuntarily compare ourselves.
“Well, how come Madison’s boyfriend got her flowers for National Girlfriend Day and my boyfriend didn’t?” First, what is National Girlfriend Day, and second, was it important to you before you saw someone else partaking in it? The answers are who cares and no. It is not only detrimental to a relationship to constantly compare, but it is also pointless to assume that people are as happy as they appear. One way to combat this is to remember that what you see of someone’s relationship on social media was the best content that they could come up with to advertise it. For example, you’d never see someone curate a video of all the fights they had with their significant other last month.
It helps to think about all the great times you have experienced with your person that weren’t captured and broadcasted for others to see. We shouldn’t be able to compare our relationships outside the close circle of people we know. Don’t let Instagram fool you into thinking that your relationship is lousy because other people care to post the most notable moments of theirs.
2) What you see on Instagram is not real part #2
This one pertains to self-confidence and relationship security. Not only do people try their absolute hardest to market their relationship, but they also spend time and resources to market themselves! Whether it be their appearance and body, their life successes, or the amazing plans they seem to have daily. It can be really difficult to maintain self-confidence when you are aware that your significant other can witness and even socialize with others on social media.
Hundreds of thousands of social media profiles are dedicated to attracting attention based on looks. This can make it hard to maintain self-esteem when you constantly worry about what your significant other sees on their feed. Do not let this get to you. The content that either you or your partner see on social media is not an accurate representation of that person. It only does harm to believe so. Often, women feel down about themselves after stalking an “Instagram model’s” profile. She lives in Miami, she posts at the gym every day, and my boyfriend wishes I looked like her. These thoughts are invalid and useless. Anyone can market themselves however they wish; that is the power of Instagram. In other words: If you want to appear that way, you could.
3) Don’t share passwords
When a party in a relationship takes a social media-fueled blow to their self-esteem, they may wish to take a peek at their partner’s social media accounts to ensure they are being faithful. This is where you present the possibility to yourself and your partner that you do not trust them. Before jumping into what inevitably will turn into an argument, try to have a simple conversation about it. Talk to your partner about why you are concerned about their time spent on social media or who they may communicate with on their accounts.
Communicating your thoughts when it comes to self-esteem and security issues in a relationship will always be the best option. Give your partner a chance to understand where you are coming from and learn about what you would consider crossing a line in your relationship. “But what if she likes photos of the boy she went to prom with 9 years ago????” If this is your ultimate concern with your partner, then you are doing just fine. Social media is clever in creating issues that should never exist.
4) Don’t tell your SO what they can and cannot post
It is generally agreed upon that when you are in a relationship, you should refrain from posting photos or comments that could attract beyond-friendly attention. This should and will come naturally, however. If you are in a committed relationship, then you should not have the desire to solicit romantic attention from others on social media. If your partner is doing so, have a conversation about it. Do not jump down their throat and start accusing them of being unfaithful or longing for flirtatious attention. Sometimes, people are heavily involved in social media. Everyone interprets its use differently. Therefore, you cannot say for sure what your partner’s intentions are. This is especially important because they may need attention. After all, as their SO, you are not providing them with what they require. This, again, is why having a conversation about the issue is the best way to settle the issue. What your partner does and does not post should never be an argument. If it is, the question to be asked is, which one of you does not feel entirely secure or confident in the relationship?
5) Show appreciation for your partner
People like to show appreciation for their partner or relationship in the digital world by posting it for everyone to see. In a way, it seems artificial, but everyone navigates and values social media differently. I suggest showing appreciation to your partner in ways you have shown are important to you. For example, if you regularly use social media, you should include your significant other in that. If you do not, you should regularly show appreciation with acts of kindness and affirmation. We have to try a little harder these days with how easy it is for us to witness the ins and outs of other couples and how they communicate. Put in the extra effort to ensure your partner knows they are appreciated.
6) Compliment your partner
It is a safe bet to assume that occasionally, your significant other struggles internally about their appearance and status. Many of us spend more time than we’d like to admit comparing our lives to those we saw on our feeds that day. Don’t hold the feelings you have for your partner in. Remind them what you love about them, that you like a certain outfit they put together, and that you are proud of the success they have achieved thus far. Always assume that your partner needs a confidence boost. The regular exchange of compliments reminds both of you that you do not need to constantly compare, individually and as a couple.
If you, your partner, or both, regularly use social media, it is important to set aside time to take a break from them. Even if following all of the above advice, and even if you both feel fully confident and secure in your relationship, it is still essential to remember to embrace reality. Allow yourselves to enjoy a moment you do not feel the rest of the world needs to know about. Have a conversation that doesn’t involve what either of you read or saw on your phone that day. It sounds ridiculous, but with how important and accessible the Internet is, it is easy to revolve our lives around it.
8) Be vulnerable and honest
It can be difficult to demonstrate that you are struggling with low self-esteem. If you are with a good and compatible person for you, then talking about your feelings can only help. It is equally as important to be honest with your partner if you feel they are feeling down about themselves. Let them know that regardless of what you see or post on your profile that they are the ones that matter the most to you. If social media seems to be the leading argument that you are having, then do away with it. No one can create a list of ways to exit the feeling of competition with the rest of society, but not giving in to social media mayhem would place you further along than most.
To all intents and purposes, social media has its subjectively determining advantages and disadvantages. When speaking about relationships, however, I would say it produces more negative effects and thoughts than positive ones. The most important thing to note is to always listen to each other. Try to remember to provide reassurance to your partner when they express the need for it. It is not as easy to stay confident in your relationship in today’s digital age. We should all make it a top priority of our relationships to ensure that both sides feel secure and confident. You, your significant other, and the love you have is authentic; social media is not.
Olivia Guthrie is a freelance writer and life & relationships blogger. She is passionate about providing unique insights and helping others achieve meaningful relationships.