You have a great partner who’s loving, supportive, and a lot of fun. You feel 100% comfortable with them and know you’re in it for the long haul. So why are you so unhappy in your relationship sometimes? It’s probably down to how much time you spend on social media.
Science proves it: heavy social media users are more miserable. Match.com brought in Oxford professor and evolutionary anthropologist Dr. Anna Machin for a survey of 2,000 British people to dig deeper into their ideas about love and relationships, and what they found was concerning but not all that surprising: 36% of couples and 33% of single people can’t cope with the images of “perfect” relationships they see on social media and on TV and in movies.
The green-eyed monster is real. Roughly a third—29% to be exact—of adults surveyed admitted that they actually felt jealous by other couples on social media, while 25% tend to compare their relationship to those they see online despite the fact that we know that social media is mostly fake.
The dissatisfaction is way higher among people who spend more time online. Surprise! The more time people spent looking at images of seemingly happy couples online and feeling jealous of them, the worse they considered their own relationships to be. In fact, they were twice as likely to be unhappy with their relationship compared to those who spent less time online.
The pressure for perfection is inescapable. In addition to thinking their own relationship sucked in comparison to others, heavy social media users were also five times more likely to feel like they had to present that perfect image online too. Kinda sad when you think about it.
At the end of the day, we need to learn to be happy with what we have. As Dr. Machin reminds us, “Humans naturally compare themselves to each other but what we need to remember is that each of our experiences of love and relationships is unique to us and that is what makes human love so special and so exciting to study; there are no fixed rules. So try to look at these images as what they are, aspirational, idealized views of a moment in a relationship which sit some way from the reality of everyday life.”
No relationship is perfect anyway. Most of us probably realize this logically, but perhaps the best way to remind ourselves when we start to lose sight of reality is that we need to put down our phones and pay attention to the wonderful partner in front of us.
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