There can be no doubting the significant impact social media has had on society in modern times. You only have to spend time on public transport to be aware of being surrounded by fellow commuters engrossed in their smart device screens, catching up on their favorite online dating service. Whether they’re also commenting on Instagram images or sharing Facebook posts, social media has become a 24/7 channel of activity which so many people find it difficult to resist. It is inevitable that such a potent medium is bound to have some kind of knock-on effect on relationships.
The constant distraction
Social media affects relationships in many different ways, both positive and negative. For many, the need to constantly access information can prove to be a considerable distraction to their partner. With mobile phones set to notify the user of new posts, there can be an irresistible urge for the phone never to be further than at arm’s length. Obviously, this is not ideal if you are engaging in real-time conversation with a loved one. Some couples actually feel it necessary to introduce phone bans when engaging in offline connections, such as being seated in a restaurant.
Because social media is so busy and is constantly in a state of flux while users update or add comments, it can be difficult to resist the urge to keep abreast of activity. While this certainly doesn’t indicate one person is necessarily dissatisfied with their partner, being so fully engaged with electronic devices at the expense of proper conversation does demonstrate a certain lack of tact.
One of the most negative impacts social media has on relationships is in the way it can create unnaturally high levels of expectation. This is a problem particularly facing younger site users, or people who might be impressionable or vulnerable. Site users can fall victim to self-esteem issues, and these are exacerbated by social media channels bombarding web browsers with airbrushed images of models, or individuals clad in ridiculously expensive fashion items. Glamorous pictures can have a detrimental effect on people viewing these photographs or posts by making them feel belittled or challenged by unnatural aspirations.
Being led astray
Social media has a habit of forcing people to rely on immediate perceptions. Someone within a relationship might come across a photograph on Facebook where their partner appears to be getting overly friendly with someone else. Without understanding the full context of the situation, they could quite readily jump to the wrong conclusions. Social media can foster feelings of jealousy or envy. There have also been examples of people engaging in Facebook coming across ex-partners, then suddenly getting the urge to rekindle long-forgotten connections. No matter how transient these feelings may be, they obviously have the potential to completely destroy a current partnership.
On the positive side, when utilized with a modicum of common sense, social media can actually strengthen the bonds which exist within a partnership. People are free to engage with their preferred platforms when they are not actually with their partner. So when you are not in each other’s company, you can keep the flame burning by sharing information. Social media clips can become a way of sharing laughter or entertainment, creating conversation topics for when you do meet up again.
Perhaps the most positive aspect of social media is its immediacy. Not so long ago, couples could only keep in touch via text messages or phone conversations. Now they have a whole arsenal of virtual weapons at their disposal, including instant messaging through Facebook, or adopting video chatting software.