We’ve all witnessed the implosion of relationships on social media. There’s glaring signs, like deleting kissing photos, exchanging subliminal statuses, and secretly updating relationship statuses from “in a relationship” to “single.” Knowing that social media platforms offer ringside access to the rise and declines of relationships makes many couples cautious about what they share publicly.
When I first started dating my live-in boyfriend two years ago, I was always uncertain of what aspects of our relationship were acceptable to share on social media. We’re smartphone and selfie stick owners, so capturing intimate moments, like date nights and hikes, is routine for us. Yet, sharing all of those moments opens our relationship in a way that’s undesirable. I didn’t want to depict a picturesque relationship without turmoil, but I also didn’t want the interior of our relationship scrutinized. Now that we live in the same home and spend our nights together, it’s easier to craft an authentic social media presence that both honors and protects our relationship. Every moment isn’t offered for consumption, even if it’s captured in our phone’s galleries. We’ve become strategic about what we opt to share with our friends and relatives and what should be reserved for us.
Scientific research supports the idea that couples who overshare on social media are attempting to conceal individual insecurities. In 2014, researchers at Albright College published a study that found couples who share their entire relationships on social media are often reliant on their partner to provide self-esteem. The researchers refer to this as relationship-contingent self-esteem (RCSE).
Lead researcher, Gwendolyn Seidman, found that external approval of the relationship on social media is also a factor of RSCE. “There is positive correlation between your self-esteem being contingent on relationships and it being contingent on other things external to you (e.g., others’ approval),” Seidman told The Atlantic.
Yet, what this study fails to capture is how intertwined many couples are, especially if they live together. I don’t chronicle the ins-and-outs of my relationship on social media, but my partner appears often because he’s an integral part of my daily life.
So, in a time of oversharing, how can couples map boundaries around their relationship?
Sound off Clutchettes and gents! How much is too much to share on social media?