Social Media And Relationships: Negative & Positive Effects

Understand how your time on the internet influences your relationship dynamics.

Reviewed by Roma Williams, LMFT Roma Williams Roma WilliamsLMFT facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English) Asmita De MA (English) Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA Sangita Goel MA linkedin_icon

Social media has taken over every bit of our lives. And it is difficult to manage privacy and hide relationship status. But how are social media and relationships connected? From sharing personal pics to failed relationship information, everything is posted on social media. Therefore, it is no big surprise that this has impacted relationships if we see through the lens of social media platforms.

It also depends on how social media is used. In addition, many polls, opinions, or ideas on different topics may often mislead us to make wrong decisions. This article explores how social media alter your relationships both positively and negatively. Scroll down for more information.

Is Social Media Bad For Relationships?

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Socializing and relationships are seen through a different lens in the age of social media, where we are hooked to updating and scrolling through pages.

Social media has given us the privilege of meeting people from different walks of life, staying connected easily, and eliminating distance. It has not only changed how we look at communication but has also opened us to a variety of possibilities. It has become so convenient to form connections across the globe that ideas such as falling in love with someone do not seem far-fetched fantasies anymore. These digital connections have often led to internet dating and strong online friendships too.

But this convenience also comes with a cost. Although social media can be used to strengthen your bond and keep you connected with your partner, it can also be a reason to see your relationship going splitsville.  Bringing social media into your relationship can change the dynamics you share with your partner. It might lead to jealousy, unrealistic expectations, infidelity, and loss of intimacy.

Bhavnaa Narula, a blogger, shared that every time she had trouble with her relationship, she ran to social media for advice. She states in one of her blog posts, “At first, I was happy to have free pieces of advice readily available for me but soon I started feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I didn’t know which advice to pick and which one to kick (i).” She further mentions that every time she followed the wrong advice, she sabotaged her relationship. She adds, “It slowed down the progress that was happening with my partner and worsened the situation much more than it already was.”

To conclude, whether social media is good for a relationship or not is decided by the way you incorporate it into your relationships and how you indulge in online communication with others. Let’s now look at the downside of social media on relationships.

Negative Effects On Relationships

1. Sets Unnecessary Standards

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Social media can press unnecessary standards on bodies, beauty, and even on love. The social engagement of couples includes posting about each other’s lives, grand gestures, romantic getaways, appreciation, and hoping on couple trends. It also creates a false image of love and relationships.

Social media also fails to project that relationships deal with hardships and struggles which people do not put out in the open. Thus, social media and virtual platforms can distort the image of relationships in your mind.

2. Leads To Oversharing

We all have been the victims of the joy of oversharing on social media, and couples are no exception. Couples on social media love updating their followers about their whereabouts and relationship status. People who tend to share nitty-gritty about their relationship forget that some moments are best enjoyed in private. Many couples tend to share gloomy details about their relationships via cryptic posts and stories. Sharing on social media is an unhealthy way to let your partner know about your feelings. Instead, having an open, heart-to-heart conversation can help you arrive at the table.

3. Leaves No Scope For Quality Time

Social media addiction has become a boiling issue between couples. Most couples tend to prioritize their social media presence over their current moment. Due to these virtual interactions, couples find it difficult to make time for each other. They might minimize talking and miss out on creating real memories, which ultimately fades away communication and togetherness between them.

A study done by the Pew Research Center found that half of the Americans in a relationship say that their significant other is distracted by their phone at least sometimes when they try to talk to them. This not only limits the time they could be spending together but also fosters a phony sense of intimacy that is not founded on genuine bonding or conversation.

Number Of Partner Distracted By Mobile Phone

Source: Dating and Relationships in the Digital Age

4. Encourages Lethal Validation

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Social media might plant deceptive ideas of relationships in the minds of the youth. It has become a key factor for low intimacy in relationships. Couples go the extra mile to validate their relationships through social media posts. This might bring couples to question if their love is only for social media or does it exist outside it?  Overuse of social media can drain out intimacy and love in the pursuit of seeking validation from your partner or the virtual world.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Social networking can also lead to “retroactive jealousy,” which occurs when a person is dissatisfied with their partner’s love history even though ex-partners are not involved in the present relationship.

Positive Effects On Relationships

1. Helps Stay In Touch With Your Partner

Social media connects couples virtually
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A lot of relationships end due to a lack of communication.  In such situations, social media can act as a glue to help you stay connected with your partner. You can keep yourself updated about your partner’s life and communicate easily through messages, video calls, or posts.

If you are in a long-distance relationship or struggling to align with each other’s availability, social media is an excellent way to cut the distance. Since communication steers the progress of every relationship, social media helps accelerate it. One of the best positive impacts of social media on relationships is improved and effective communication.

protip_icon Did You Know?
A study found that people who have their significant others in their profile photo or make their relationship status public on Facebook are more likely to be happy in their relationships (1).

2. Helps Gain Perspective

Social media is a great guide to learn about various concepts of relationships. It helps open our eyes to setting boundaries, giving space, gaslighting, and stonewalling.  Social media articles and posts help us identify unhealthy bonds and create awareness about toxic relationships.

3. Helps Discover Your Partner’s Lifestyle And Opinions

Learn your partner's likes and dislikes via social media
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Social media presence mirrors a person’s lifestyle, opinions, attitude, profession, and personality. It can give you an overview of your partner and help you decide if you both are fairly compatible with each other. Mutual connections in social media platforms help you understand your partner better and faster. It is also a safe place to start dating someone and get into a cyber relationship.

Infographic: Effects Of Social Media On Relationships

Social media is a massive part of our lives and keeps us connected. For relationships, these platforms could be both beneficial and detrimental – they can help a relationship thrive but also cause fights and insecurities. The obsession with social media has consequences for every relationship, which is why it should be used with caution. Scroll down to the infographic below to learn social media’s positive and negative effects on relationships.

effects of social media on relationships (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

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Final Thoughts

There may be both positive and negative impacts of social media on your relationships. If you and your partner are having fights over (or sparked by) social media, or if both of you are not spending quality time, it could spell trouble in your relationship. How you use social media determines whether it helps or hinders your relationships. Furthermore, many opinions, views, or ideas on many topics may lead us to incorrect conclusions. Over-reliance on social media to advance your relationship could be fatal. It is better to figure out a method to incorporate social media into your relationship without jeopardizing it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does social media create a gap in relationships?

Social media may create gaps in relationships, depending on how it is used. If communication over social media replaces face-to-face interactions, that may lead to a lack of intimacy and create gaps in communication within relationships.

How social media causes jealousy in relationships?

Spending too much time on social media may limit the time that partners spend communicating with each other. Relationship posts on social media may also create unrealistic expectations about how one’s own relationship should look and cause feelings of jealousy to arise. Jealousy may also stem from how one’s partner interacts with others on social networking sites.

Can social media use lead to relationship conflicts?

Yes, excessive social media usage can lead to conflicts in your relationship. Consequently, you may spend less time together, resulting in a reduced level of satisfaction in your relationship.

How can couples effectively communicate about social media use?

Following a few practices such as checking with your partner before posting a story or post that involves them, not snooping on your partner’s social media account, not asking your significant other to share their passwords with you, and prioritizing quality time are some ways couples can effectively communicate about social media use.

Can social media be a source of infidelity or emotional cheating?

Yes, social media makes it easier to cheat on their significant other. A person can confide in someone else, post flirty photos, delete their search history, or exchange contact information with another person.

What are some healthy boundaries for social media use in relationships?

Couples can, for instance, turn off their phones on date nights or post photos after vacation rather than during it. Regardless of how much you trust one another, you should talk about the potential harms of social media in your relationship and set some healthy boundaries by setting a daily time limit on social media, respecting your partner’s privacy, and addressing discomfort or issues as and when they arise in regard to social media usage.

Key Takeaways

  • Social media is neither good nor bad for relationships, as the effect depends on how social media is incorporated into your life.
  • Some negative effects of social media on relationships include oversharing, lack of quality time, unrealistic standards, and the need for external validation.
  • Social media, when used well, can help you stay in touch with your partner, get insights into each others’ preferences and personalities, and gain different perspectives on various concepts of relationships.
Social Media And Relationships

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Social media has changed the way we interact with the world at large and with each other. Learn how social media imapcts our relationships from this informative video!

Personal Experience: Source


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