Have you ever sat on the couch with your partner for hours, but instead of talking to each other, both of you were using your phones? This happens very often in modern couples, as people are checking more than the people they’re following online than they’re checking the person standing right next to them.
From the first moment of the day when we wake up, to late at night when we close our eyes, our phone is the first and the last thing we see. We’ve become addicted to what it has to offer, social media and all, and we’re creating more virtual interactions than we are in real life.
While no one can deny all the benefits social media has brought to our lives, including being able to talk to your loved ones or see them whenever you want, making new friends or keeping in touch with old ones, and networking, there are also a lot of downsides to it. Firstly, social media can affect our reality, making us more focused on what happens online than in real life.
Relationship-wise, social media can also have a negative impact, since it can contribute to infidelity. At the same time, seeing your partner using their phone all day can cause a lot of relationship arguments and could also lead to potential trust issues. It’s true that you can easily find a romantic partner via social media, but it can also ruin relationships in a blink of an eye.
A simple ‘Like’ could contribute to a lot of relationship fights or even make you feel jealous of your partners’ online interactions. But sometimes the problem is not the people you interact with online, but social media overall. When does social media become too much?
Have you ever felt like you’re competing with social media to get your partner’s attention? It happens more than you’d think nowadays. It’s important to acknowledge that the time you spend online can dictate the future of your romantic relationship.
Read on to discover how social media can affect your relationship, according to experts!
1. You need to reconsider the time you spend online!
As the expert and author Leslie Shore has explained, the amount of time you spend online can affect your ability to communicate with the people that are close to you. According to research, people spend three or more hours on average online every day, she added.
It’s important to understand that creating connections online could affect your relationships offline, as well.
“Those who have limited experience in reading people do not have the same level of social intelligence [that] previous generations possess. If this becomes the new normal, building strong, deep relationships will take more time and will be more difficult to maintain,” Shore added.
The key to a happy relationship is finding a balance between the time you spend online and offline. While it’s normal to read the news on your phone, scroll through Facebook or Instagram to see what’s new, or check your emails every day, you need to make sure you’re not neglecting your real-life partner.
According to Shore, you might not realize how much power your phone has over you, until someone calls it to your attention. We became so focused on social media dar we forget to live our lives outside the screen. She also added that you won’t be able to concentrate on your real-life relationships as long as you’re giving all your time or attention to your phone.
2. Acknowledge that social media is addictive!
Recent studies have shown that social media is as addictive as taking drugs, and unfortunately, children tend to be the most affected by this addiction. You need to ask yourself how many hours a day you spend online. If you’re spending more than one hour a day on social media, you might have a problem.
Most people are no longer focused on human interactions and prefer to spend time online where everything is ‘safe’. Ever gone to a restaurant or a bar, looked around, and seen a bunch of people using their phones and not talking to each other? This is the effect of social media. This addiction can affect both your friendships and your romantic relationships as well.
Research has shown that 10 percent of Americans are addicted to social media. Moreover, a study conducted at Harvard University has shown that using social media affects certain parts of our brain that are usually triggered by drugs, so it’s safe to say that social media addiction is a real thing.
When you’re addicted to social media you feel the need to constantly check your feeds, notifications, and friend requests throughout the day. And that doesn’t happen a few times a day, but rather every five minutes or so. You feel the need to check up on social media when you’re at work when you’re watching a movie or even when you’re spending time with your loved ones.
If you’re using your phone even when you’re going out with your friends, it could be a sign that you’re addicted to social media, as you would rather prefer to stay connected online than socialize offline.
This could be very problematic when you’re in a relationship and choose to spend time on your phones at the end of the day, rather than communicating with each other. This could lead to a lack of meaningful conversations or even intimacy.
3.Social media could lead to infidelity in a relationship.
One of the worst effects social media can have on a relationship is infidelity. Starting a conversation with other people is much easier on social media platforms, and a simple ‘like’ on someone else’s photo could turn into more than that.
First, you start liking their photos, then you start chatting with them, and after a while, you might even ask them out. While it’s nothing wrong with that, things become very complicated when you’re already committed to someone else. A lot of love affairs start as something innocent, you begin talking as friends and the more you talk, the most attracted you feel to the other person.
A lot of people found out their partner is cheating on them through social media, either they came across incriminating messages or became suspicious after seeing their significant other spend more time on their phone, constantly talking to someone else. At the same time, people find it easier to open up to a stranger on social media, so you might share your relationship issues with someone you just met online.
The next thing you know, you meet them for coffee, and then out of a sudden, you’re cheating on your partner. In fact, recent studies have shown that social media plays a very important role in infidelity in this day and age.
What you see on social media is not always the reality. Not every couple you see on Instagram is happy and their lives aren’t perfect either. It’s easier to assume that each couple you see is living in a perfect world, but the reality is much different. Social media makes it harder for people to be present in the relationship and enjoy each other’s company.
4. Social media is fake.
Social media is usually the place where you see a lot of happy people in happy relationships because nobody is posting their failures online. You’ll see a lot of women posting how amazing their partners are, even though they almost broke up last night, or a lot of moms saying how awesome it is to have kids and not at all tiring, while they might struggle with severe postnatal depression in real life.
Also, you see a lot of people showing their perfect bodies, which can make you hate yours or expect your partner to look a certain way. This could be seen as a fake sense of perfection and it could really affect your relationship and your self-esteem. You’ll find yourself scrolling through someone’s photos, wishing you had their life.
This is the effect of constantly having to see someone else’s perfect photos, but it’s important to understand that social media doesn’t always reflect reality. You see what other people want you to see, which is often a happy relationship, a successful job, and luxury lifestyle.
5. Social media could also contribute to mental health issues.
As previously mentioned, nobody posts their failures online, so it might create the false idea that other people are living a perfect life while nothing seems to go well in yours. You see pictures of people having perfect bodies, perfect relationships, perfect children, and perfect jobs.
This could contribute to mental health issues and a lot of disappointment in your personal life. It’s important to understand that what you see online is not always real, even though the lines between social media and reality can get blurry sometimes.
Seeing other people’s perfect lives could lead to depression or anxiety when you start comparing your life to theirs. But always remember that your life might also appear perfect in someone else’s eyes based on what you choose to post online, so this can be very misleading.
But how can you keep your relationship strong in the era of social media? Read on to discover Leslie Shore’s tips and tricks on how to prevent social media from destroying your relationship!
6. Shore recommends being very careful at the beginning of the relationship.
Social media abuse can affect a relationship at any stage, but it’s particularly important to be extra careful when you’ve just started one, Shore explains. At the beginning of a relationship you might want to get to know the other person better, so you just sit there and listen to what they have to share.
“We listen to their likes and dislikes, history, family dynamics, dreams, and fears. We spend hours in conversation discovering each other; no fact is too small, and no story is too long. The building of the relationship has newness and surprises. During this time, it is critical that cellphones are out of sight while in conversation to ensure total concentration on [each] other,” she added.
Moreover, Shore also warns people about talking via texts in the beginning phase of a relationship. While you might want to get to know each other better, texting could make you feel disconnected, and every time this happens, Shore recommends phone calls or interacting in person.
At the same time, she also believes texting should be fun and positive. Try to let go of sarcasm and do not use too many jokes, unless you want to appear like you don’t want anything serious.
7. Shore urges people to always think twice before commenting or posting something on social media.
While every couple needs to have a laugh together over internet jokes in order to make the bond stronger, Shore recommends paying close attention to what you’re partner is choosing to post online. You might not agree with something they posted or they might act totally different online than they do in real life, either way, social media can become a concern.
Shore recommends approaching them in person and opening up about how their posts on social media make you feel. Additionally, make sure you’re not rushing into commenting on their post when you’re not comfortable with it. Take the time to process the information and try to avoid responding out of anger or frustration.
Also, it’s important to understand that we’re all very different, as so are our opinions. We believe in different things and that’s OK. Even though you might be the type that prefers to keep things private, maybe your partner likes to share everything o social media. However, your personal conversions should be kept personal, Shore continued saying.
While it can be fun to post everything that comes to your mind on social media, you need to find a balance between your private and your social life. Make sure to also think twice before posting something on social media. It’s also vital to understand your audience before writing something controversial about politics or religion.
8. Always think about your loved ones.
In order to build a strong relationship with the person you love the most, you need to make sure you’re always focused on your life together, even when you’re scrolling on social media and feel tempted to like other people’s photos. Also, in order to stay connected offline, it’s important to take the time to actually connect in real life, not just on Instagram.
Never forget about the people you love the most. Never wish someone you love a ‘Happy Birthday’ on Facebook. Instead, you should call them and remind them how important they are to you.
“Stay truly connected to those who matter,” she says. While social media has become an important part of our lives, it can’t ever replace in-person interactions. While it is a good way of having fun, relaxing, and keeping in touch with your friends and family members, you need to find a healthy balance between online and offline.
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