Has Social Media Changed the Way You Navigate Your Relationships?

E.B. Johnson | NLPMP

A man stares at his phone late at nightPhoto by(via Envato Elements)

How many times have you checked your social media today? It’s not a silly question to ask in a world hyperfocused on Facebook, TikTok, and the latest drama on Twitter. Social media sucks up so much of our focus and forms the backbone of so many connections that we make. Our romantic relationships are not immune to this force. 

Social media has undeniably changed the face of the modern relationship and the way we connect on an intimate level. This isn’t the stuff of sci-fi future films. It’s here, right now. Our social media platforms are reshaping human romance…for better and for worse.

Social media definitely plays a role in modern relationships.

Set goals and intentions with your partner that include your social media use, how you connect through it, and even the amount of time you spend on it. Don’t get distracted by the curated lives you see on your phone screen. Remember, what’s really important is right in front of you in flesh and bone. Appreciate your relationship and remember to celebrate it and build on healthier behaviors and beliefs (sans social media).

More than half of social media users have reported using the platforms to check up on exes and their current partners, scrolling through profiles and feeds to keep “tabs” on their romantic connections. Worse, some 30% surveyed have reported using their social media platforms to vent about their relationships (or to read about the relationships of others). 

We can’t deny the fact that social media is intertwined in the fabric of our daily lives. It’s a part of everything that we do and our relationships are no different. 

People are taking their relationship cues from social media. They’re making decisions based on what they see online. How they treat their partners, it’s shaped by what happens online and on their profiles. 

That can be a good thing for couples and it can be a bad thing for couples. It comes down to intention and the goals that we set within ourselves, our relationships, and in online social spaces. How is social media shaping your relationships? Even more importantly? Are you being mindful of your social media use as a couple?

The undeniable ways social media has changed the way we connect with our partners.

The undeniable ways social media has changed the way we connect with our partners. tionships is a must in a social-obsessed world. It’s not all bad, and it’s not all good. But knowing where the line sits can save us a lot of time and heartache in our relationships. 

The Good 

Some couples benefit greatly from the existence of social media. Every relationship is different. It’s important to acknowledge the positive powerful changes that social media has offered up for the modern relationship. From showing care, widening the playing field, and giving us a broader view of relationships, there is a lot of good to be gained.

  • Showing care: Young adults (ages 18–29) are more likely to see social media as a way to express care for their partners. With partners seeing these expressions as a form of affection, it’s arguable that social media has become a new outlet for sharing our emotions with those closest to us.
  • Widening options: Social media has given us access to a global network of individuals. It’s easier than ever to find those with the same interests and goals, no matter how far away they are. There are more options when it comes to dating and finding love, and social media remains a key component in this digital hunt for love.
  • Creating connection: Life throws curveballs at couples. While being together, living in the same home may be the goal that isn’t always the reality. Distance gets in the way, and social media has made it easier than ever for long-distance couples to remain together and focused on the future goals they’re working toward.
  • Vetting candidates: Let’s not pretend that checking up on potential partners isn’t a benefit. Especially if you’re someone who has a bad habit of picking bad partners. On social media, some red flags can quickly be identified, which prevents a lot of drama, upset, and hurt in the long run.

Social media has certainly widened the field and made it easier for couples to find each other based on interests, needs, and long-term goals. That’s a powerful thing. People who are better matched for one another have the freedom and access to find one another.

It’s arguable that social media also provides another channel of communication for partners. Social media has created some solid benefits for relationships, but there’s no denying the harm that social media inflicts too.

The Bad

As good as those benefits are, there is undeniably a dark side to social media when it comes to our romantic partnerships. Using your profiles the wrong way can create a major wedge in connection. Some of those divides are hard to overcome.

  • Triggering shame: There’s no denying the shame that social media can create. People feel insecure when they compare their real lives to the curated lives of others online. 1/3 of single people surveyed answered that social media made them feel bad about their relationship status. Likewise, couples can feel compelled to compete with what they see projected as the standard in social media circles.
  • Creating insecurities: Major insecurities can be triggered in relationships by social media. According to one survey, almost 1/4 of partnered social media users reported feeling jealous as a result of their partner’s social media use. They also noted feeling unsure about a relationship because of social media. It can create doubts if not used wisely.
  • Wrong mentality: Because social media presents us with so many options, it can create the “grass is always greener” mentality. That can encourage partners to pursue the next best thing, over and over again, making the development of long-term relationships difficult.
  • Encouraging temptation: There are a lot of temptations when it comes to social media. Platforms provide a chance to encounter the past, to look back at paths untaken (and partners unchosen). There’s a lot of temptation in that, and there’s a lot of temptation in new connections and going after what you feel you “lost” out on.

Social media platforms are carefully curated places where people try to show the best, most knowledgeable sides of themselves. That feeds the ego, but it can create a sense of shame in those on the other side of these curated images. They can begin to feel bad about their own relationships and compare their relationships to those they see online.

That’s a slippery slope and one which triggers a lot of insecurities. It’s easier to develop the wrong mentality on social media, namely the idea that the “grass is always greener on the other side”. Long-term relationships get traded in for short-term flings and partners who jump from opportunity to opportunity.

Temptation is rife on social media and that can lead to a world of pain all its own. Mindful social media practices require that couples address that temptation and set boundaries accordingly.

Can we find the balance between social media and our relationships?

Looking at the good and bad changes the perspective a little. It’s intimidating. How can you overcome all those hurdles, even considering the benefits that social media offers? It’s a straightforward process when you’re working with clarity and a compassionate other half. Find the balance between your social media use and the happy spot in your relationship with mindfulness, focus, and boundaries.

Making more mindful strides

When it comes to social media and our relationships, we must strive for more mindful practices. There’s no need for extremes. It’s not one or the other. Social media and healthy relationships can co-exist, but both partners must make sure they are using their preferred platforms with the right intentions.

To use your social media more mindfully, each partner must seek to use the platforms in empathy and in respect for their relationships and their respective goals as partners. This can be done by:

  • Cleaning up your feeds: Start by cleaning up your feeds. If there are people and content who are creating chaos in your relationship, cut them out. Only follow people and resources that make you feel positive, informed (in a healthy way), and connected to the people and experiences that matter.
  • Don’t get sucked into drama: Social media has no shortage of drama. Getting caught up in the back and forth can take a serious toll on your state of mind and even your relationship. Don’t fall into the trap. Keep focused on the best social media practices that help to maintain peace in your life.
  • Figure out the end game: Being mindful requires both awareness and knowing what the “end game” is. You need to know what your overall goal is — individually and as a couple. If you’re only cruising social media to connect with attractive people, that’s going to be a problem. Use your favorite platforms with the right intentions as a person and a partner.

It’s no different than the mindfulness we strive to use as a couple in real life. You want to make space for the other person’s comfort and needs, within reason, and make sure your own needs and desires are being met. Social media shouldn’t cause conflict in your relationship. It shouldn’t be fundamental to what you’re building as a couple at all.

Figure out the positive ways in which your favorite social media platforms can boost your connection and understanding.

Keeping the focus on what matters

Couples who spend too much time in the digital la-la land of social media can find their connection at risk. Insecurities get triggered, and resentment brews. There is a lot of conflict involved for those couples who are constantly distracted by their phones, their likes, and their mentions.

To find the balance, partners need to make sure they’re getting their heads out of the digital cloud and focused on what really matters…each other. Spending time on social media is no substitute for spending quality time together. Showering each other with love online isn’t enough.

Partners have to spend time making positive memories, and they have to spend time solidifying their connections. This will happen by having shared experiences, learning new things together, and exchanging thoughts, feelings, and dreams. Focusing on one another limits the damage of social media fantasies.

Working as a team to set boundaries

Relationships are a team affair. Working together, partners have to set goals, support one another, and share moments of strength and vulnerability alike. Social media is included in all of this. As a team, it’s up to couples to decide what their social media practices are, within reason. Boundaries still apply and personal needs too.

What does this look like? It begins with partners having frank discussions about what makes them feel good or bad in terms of social media. Where is the line with exes? What type of content violates the trust you share together?

One partner shouldn’t call all the shots. Both parties have to make sure their voices are being heard and their most important needs are being respected and considered. When partners are using social media in the future, these agreements and boundaries should be at the forefront of thought and choices made.


Social media is no longer a trivial digital world populated by college kids and tech trolls. It’s an immovable part of our lives, our businesses, and even our relationships. Couples have to take that reality seriously, or risk facing calamitous issues in their relationships. 

Set goals and intentions with your partner that include your social media use, how you connect through it, and even the amount of time you spend on it. Don’t get distracted by the curated lives you see on your phone screen. Remember, what’s really important is right in front of you in flesh and bone. Appreciate your relationship and remember to celebrate it and build on healthier behaviors and beliefs (sans social media).

© E.B. Johnson 2023

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Pelham, AL

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