Don’t Follow Or Friend The Person You’re Dating On Social Media—It Makes All The Difference

It’s a knee-jerk reaction: you’ve started dating someone and suggest becoming friends on Facebook. No big deal… or so you think. To be honest, there are actually some really good reasons to keep your relationship off social media—here are 14 of them.

  1. You don’t jump to conclusions. It’s really easy to take things out of context on social media, like if your partner and his friend have a childish conversation in the comments section of an Instagram post. You might worry that he’s a man-child, meanwhile, it was a one-off and not a reflection of his daily character.
  2. You don’t overanalyze things. A study by Loyola University found that one in five couples who are getting a divorce mention Facebook as a factor for the destruction of their marriage. There are many reasons for it, including how people overanalyze what their partners are doing online. If you’re tracking your partner’s activity, such as what he’s “liking” or who he’s friending, it can make you start looking for negative things to use against them. It creates an atmosphere of jealousy and hostility.
  3. You keep your space. Everyone needs space sometimes and social media might be the perfect way to achieve some. It’s healthy to have something that’s only yours and refreshing to have a space online where you’re free to say whatever you want without worrying about what your partner will think or how he might misunderstand it.
  4. You don’t need to be the queen of PDA. If you want to be connected to your partner on social media so that you can share lots of romantic posts about your relationship, it feels like you’re overcompensating for something. Why should all your friends know everything about your relationship or how wonderful it is? It starts to look like you care more about appearances than your actual relationship.
  5. You don’t become a stalker. Social media can quickly become a way for you to check up on your partner, which is creepy AF. If you haven’t heard from him all day, you might log onto Facebook to see what he’s been up to as a way to stay in the loop. Why not just ask him instead of snooping around? If you rely too much on social media, it can prevent real communication in your relationship.
  6. You preserve your relationship privacy. You should enjoy the sacred moments in your relationship and milestones with your partner offline. That’s where they matter the most. When they stay private, they also feel more special. Getting 100 “likes” on these moments don’t make them meaningful or more official. It actually dilutes them because they become something trivial for people to read about in their newsfeed, stuck between someone’s political post and another person’s status update about how much they love coffee.
  7. You don’t need others’ approval. If you’re so worried about what people think about your relationship, you’re totally missing the point of being in a relationship. You should care more about why you’re in it and what’s great about it. You don’t need other people to stamp their approval on it.
  8. You don’t live in the past. If you’re always checking up on your partner’s ex who happens to be on his friend list, you’re really just staying in the past instead of focusing on your relationship and what’s happening in it right now. It prevents you from enjoying what you have with your boyfriend if you’re always comparing yourself to his ex, like by checking what he posted about her versus what he posts about you.
  9. You connect in real ways. Real-life connections, experiences, and conversations will always feel more meaningful than what happens online with your boyfriend. It’s sad if you’re using social media to catch up with your partner at the end of the day instead of making time to see and speak to them.
  10. You actually talk. Social media can be full of TMI. Do you really need to know that your partner’s killing time at work or had to deal with bad traffic? The less you see of your partner’s day online, the more stuff you have to talk about later.
  11. You don’t become paranoid. You might end up stressing about things online that really don’t matter at all and don’t reflect your relationship quality. For instance, if your partner didn’t post a picture of the two of you at your birthday party, it might make you wonder if he’s ashamed of you. When he doesn’t “like” your latest selfie, you might worry that he’s over you. See how social media can create problems that weren’t even there to begin with?
  12. You prevent awkward connections. When you get into a serious relationship, you might find yourself adding lots of people from your boyfriend’s family and social circles on social media. Although it’s cool, what happens when you break up? Do you have to delete them or do you keep seeing news about them—and possibly your ex—on your feed? It makes things complicated. By not adding him to begin with, you prevent those awkward situations.
  13. You avoid embarrassing yourself. Everyone has something embarrassing in their social media history but it’s not always what you want your boyfriend to see. It might be something small, like a weird haircut from 10 years ago or a mad rant against a previous boss or it could be something bigger. Whatever the case, your partner doesn’t need to know every single thing about your past, especially if it’s things that don’t affect your relationship.
  14. You’re not fooled by the promise of connecting. You might think that the more you add, follow and “like” your partner on social media, the more you’re connecting with each other. But you’re actually not. If you’re not connecting offline, social media doesn’t mean a thing—so why bother with it?
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.