How Social Media Can Affect Relationships, Plus 6 Red Flags To Look Out For

The Internet behemoth that is social media can put a lot of extra stress on relationships these days. When dating in today's Instagram-Facebook-Twitter-addicted world, you have to be aware of how social media can affect your relationship. With all of the privacy of social media, it's sometimes impossible not to think about the fact that your significant other might be inappropriately liking someone else's photos on Instagram or sending them DMs on Twitter. It's a lot to stress about, especially if you're in a new relationship or have been cheated on in the past. Odds are, whether you'd like to admit it or not, if you're dating someone, you've thought about their social media habits before. Maybe you will get lucky and neither you or your partner will have a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, but the likelihood of the that happening is rare.

Because social media is so prevalent in all of our lives, it’s crucial to know the red flags when it comes to this area. Being a matchmaker for It's Just Lunch Seattle, and receiving my Master's in Counseling Psychology, I've seen first hand how social media can hurt and/or help a relationship. If you are aware of these social media flags, then you can more easily spot them and decide how you want to move forward. It's better to be aware than in denial. 

1. Inappropriate Activity

A major red flag is when you see inappropriate activity happening on your partner’s social media accounts. If he or she is liking pictures that make you feel uncomfortable, then it’s time you speak up. If you are catching flirty comments or other questionable behaviors, it’s your job to call it as you see it. That means if you catch your partner liking a person's Instagram picture of him/her wearing something sexy and it doesn't sit well with you, let him know. Or if your partner is adding random girls on Facebook late at night, ask them about it. Be specific about what you saw and why it makes you feel unhappy. There may be an innocent explanation, but if it makes you feel uncomfortable, you have a right to speak up. 

2. Too Private 

It’s OK to be private on your social media accounts. However, if your significant other is too private, this could be a red flag. If he or she refuses to change their FACEBOOK RELATIONSHIP status from single or post any photos of you two together anywhere, then that is saying something bigger. When you’re excited about someone, you want to shout it from the rooftops — or in our case, the Internet. So it can be a warning sign when your significant other doesn’t ever do that. If you want your partner to show more social media PDA, then simply communicate that to him or her. 

3. Too Much PDA

On the flip side, too much PDA on social media sites can also be questionable. Thou doth post too much? Hmm. Sometimes the couples that post too much are trying to overcompensate for their unhappiness and make it appear otherwise. It’s always nice to leave a little privacy when it comes to a relationship. This isn't always the case, because obviously there are some couples that truly enjoy each other so much they can't stop from posting on social media. However, if you are in a relationship where you know it's not going well and you're arguing constantly, and your partner is still displaying too much social media PDA, then you might want to approach this topic. 

4. Attention-Seeking Activities 

If your partner is constantly posting selfies left and right, you might want to take a second look. Not at the photo, but at the relationship itself. It’s OK to have a couple photos of yourself here and there, but there is such a thing as one too many. If you feel as if your partner is posting photos of himself or herself to receive more attention, it’s going to make you feel a little weird inside. Your other half should feel fulfilled within your relationship, instead of resorting to “likes” on his or her Instagram pictures FOR A CONFIDENCE BOOST. 

5. Always On 

Social media can become quite a problem if it’s taking over your partner’s life. If your date night is looking a lot like you talking and your significant other looking at his or her phone, you might want to shut it down. Some people can become obsessed with this false sense of reality and lose sight of what is in front of their eyes. If that’s the case, you don’t want to be part of it. 

6. Suspicious Pictures

A picture says a thousand words. With that being said, a picture on social media that you don’t like can say even more. If you are constantly seeing your partner in compromising pictures via the Internet, it might be time to speak up. You may not love seeing a bunch of guys doing body shots off of your partner on Facebook. Or, seeing photos of your significant other snuggling up to their ex may likely make you feel uneasy. So if your eyes aren't happy, it's time to confront your other half on how you feel. 

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.

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