Ashlyn McKenna, a junior English major from Gunlock, and her husband Jackson McKenna, a sophomore emergency medical service major from Santa Clara, keep their relationship real and genuine both in person and virtually. DSU community members weigh in on how social media can cause couples to only show the good parts of their relationships. Photo by Bailey Chamberlain.
Relationships are not always the spontaneous date nights and surprise romantic gestures you may see all over social media. Couples tend to promote the “highs” of their relationship on the media platforms and pretend the dark days do not exist.
An article by HuffPost, states social media has created an unrealistic expectation of what a relationship entails. People who have never dated formulate what they believe happens in a relationship based on content they see on social media. When they finally get into a relationship, their whole world comes crashing down when they realize it’s not always sunshine and rainbows.
TikTok has been a hit since 2019 where people are free to share a variety of different types of videos. Some couples on the app have huge platforms and broadcast their relationship out to millions. Some couples frequently experience hate comments on their videos because they are “too happy.”
In a newly circulating viral video, a man surprised his girlfriend with an extravagant picnic and presents. The video is filled with comments expressing how lonely the video makes the viewers feel. The watchers do not know if the couple is truly happy; they just see a snippet of their life.
“You never know when people are in a horrible and toxic relationship. They just post ‘goals’ wanting their life to appear perfect.”Miriam Gonzalez
An article by MindBodyGreen said it can be hard to measure up to what you see on social media. People post the most elaborate aspects of their relationships, and it’s easy to be intimidated by it. Real relationships are not perfect, and they sometimes are full of boring days and small talk.
Chandler Jones, a junior exercise science major from Sandy, said couples only flex their relationship to their followers because they seek approval and attention.
“I do not need others to know who I am dating or how we are doing,” Jones said. “I would only post pictures if we were celebrating a milestone.”
Miriam Gonzalez, a senior secondary art education major from Murrieta, California, said a couples’ followers never know if the relationship is actually healthy in reality. She said a relationship is more than the happy moments captured for Instagram.
“You never know when people are in a horrible and toxic relationship,” Gonzalez said, “They just post ‘goals’ wanting their life to appear perfect.”
James Stein, assistant professor of communication, said it can be challenging for couples to post meaningful content that relates to their relationship.
Stein said, “Promoting yourself as ‘a couple’ effectively on social media is a lot like presenting yourself in person.”
A relationship is not your whole life, so your feed should represent you as a person and the things that are important to you.