We all know those couples who clog up our news feed with gushing statuses and inappropriate selfies but it turns out, according to a new study, this kind of relationship bragging behaviour could actually be a way of masking insecurities within both an individual and a couple.
The new UK relationship support charity Relate study, which provides advice for a generally healthy, strong relationship, surveyed over approximately 2,000 participants consisting solely of adults and found that 51 percent of millennials are pretending that their relationship is actually happier than it really is. So, how exactly are people making them out to be excessively better? Unsurprisingly, 41 percent of millennials admitted to using social media to benefit their image and make their relationship look perfect to their family and friends. However, an incredible 92 percent of people surveyed also said that it would be better if everyone was more honest on social media.
Though the survey was specifically based in the United Kingdom, the study as a whole has definitely resonated with U.S. social media culture at the very least, and is showing a small insight into just how many people feel under pressure to make their lives and their relationship to look picture perfect to friends, family and social media followers.
“While as humans we have a tendency to compare our lives to other people’s, it seems social media has a huge part to play in making millennials feel more conscious of their relationship and how it appears,” Says Simone Bose, a counsellor at Relate.
She continued, “Occasionally with the younger couples we see in the Relate counselling room, we find that their expectations of the relationship can be unrealistically high and that they make comparisons to their friends on social media. The larger the gap between the reality and the expectations of your life, the more dissatisfied you will be.”
“No relationship is perfect, so try to notice if you are perhaps picking holes in yours unnecessarily, based the stream of ‘perfect’ photos and status updates you see on social media,” Bose says. “It seems as though we increasingly seek validation through comments and likes. Particularly if we aren’t feeling so good about ourselves or our relationship, we may feel that if others like our post then everything is OK, when in fact it isn’t.” Noting that the more we all post unrealistic versions of our lives, the stronger the pressure to keep the appearance up soon becomes.
So, how exactly can an individual combat the social pressure behind online appearance? Professionals have suggested that its simple – honesty is the best policy.
While it can be hard to resist the social pressure to present a perfect lifestyle and relationship to those around you while trying to collect as many likes as possible and stay . “trending,” one thing that can help is remembering that everyone in some type of level feels that way, too.
“Be aware that other people are likely to be sharing things to give off the impression of the perfect relationship too — half of millennials in our survey admitted to doing this so chances are at least some of your friends do it!” Bose says. “If you see a photo that makes you feel envious, imagine them posting a photo of what they were doing a few seconds before and after, that would be more realistic. It would be good for everyone to show more mundane and less filtered images. By being more honest and real, we would all be helping each other in feeling better.”
Bose also suggests that simply grounding yourself and being grateful for the positives in your own relationship (and living the moment) and spending less time on social media is always a great option to solidify your relationship and your priorities on social media.