No one has the perfect relationship, but you wouldn’t know that from all the blissfully happy couples you see online. It’s easy to believe that everyone is coupled up and loving it, but a new study has revealed that the truth isn’t quite so rosy. In fact, roughly half of millennials relationships pretend they’re happier than they truly are. Here’s what’s happening and why.
Millennials aren’t the only ones affected. A survey of over 2,000 people by relationship charity Relate revealed that while 51% of millennials admit to playing up their relationship, 39% of the general population do the same, so this isn’t simply an issue young people are having. That’s a pretty significant number—what are we even supposed to believe anymore?!
It’s all about social media. It comes as no surprise that social media apps like Facebook and Instagram are the biggest places couples go to flex their supposed true love. The survey revealed that 42% of millennials and 27% of people from other age groups use social media to make their relationships look perfect. Makes sense given all the gag-worthy “happy couple” photos we’re bombarded with daily.
Couples who do this are obviously insecure. Obviously people who feel the need to make their relationship look perfect have some issues, and it all comes down to wanting to be validated by other people. As dating coach and relationship expert Madeleine Mason told The Independent, “People want attention, and positive stories are likely to be celebrated, liked and commented on.”
They’re also afraid of looking like failures. Mason continued, “In other cases, some feel pressured to display success for fear of coming across as unsuccessful, and some people want to believe things are going well, so by curating a positive image they attempt to trick themselves into thinking things are fine.” It seems silly since we all go through splits and messy breakups, so what’s the big deal if things go wrong? Unfortunately, logic doesn’t seem to play much of a part in this trend.
There’s a serious obsession with competing. Since we so many other seemingly happy couples online, we feel like our relationship needs to compete with that and be super happy and successful too—regardless of the fact that what we’re seeing isn’t true anyway. It’s a vicious circle that we need to get out of.
It’s making you needlessly miserable. The pressure to present a perfect relationship is taxing, unrealistic, and kinda depressing, especially if your relationship is having issues and isn’t quite as great as you’re leading everyone else to believe. This can get to pretty extreme levels, affecting your overall mental health in negative ways.
At the end of the day, we all just want to be happy. The survey found that 87% of millennials really just want a legitimately happy relationship. Pretending to have one certainly won’t achieve that, but maybe if we spent more time working on things with our partners instead of curating an image online, we might get a little closer to having it.
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