Is Your Relationship Suffering From Happily Ever After Syndrome?

All the pressure social media has put on our relationships has led to a phenomenon that has a particularly negative effect on romance in the form of Happily Ever After Syndrome (HEAS). This is where we sabotage our real-life relationships just so we can portray everything as perfect on social media. Is your relationship suffering from this? Here’s how to recognize it and how to stop it in its tracks.

  1. Are you very active on social media? There’s nothing wrong with sharing your relationship highlights with your friends and family, but there’s a limit to how much and how often you should be doing this. Studies have shown that couples who overshare on social media do so to mask the insecurities in their relationship. Constant posting is a way to seek reassurance from others and takes couples out of living in the moment. If this is a habit you’ve gotten into, take a break from social media. When you’re with your partner, enjoy each moment without worrying about documenting it.
  2. Do you strive to make everything seem absolutely perfect? Are you known for being a bit of a perfectionist? If you’re only happy when every single thing goes your way, you’ll begin to see this having a detrimental effect on your relationship. When two people come together, there can sometimes be chaos, and that’s OK. You have to learn to take the good with the bad, compromise when you need to, and come to terms with the fact that not everything can be perfect all the time.
  3. Do you get upset if you can’t take the right picture? There are plenty of things to get upset about during a relationship, but not being able to take the right picture isn’t one of them. If you’re the type of person who spends hours trying to frame the right photo of your meal, your night out or your couples vacation, you’re not living in the moment—you’re just trying to portray the perfect moment online.
  4. Have you forgiven your partner for something unforgivable? Have you ever forgiven your partner for something you know you shouldn’t have just to keep up appearances of a happy relationship? The fear of breaking up with your partner may outweigh anything they’ve done to you, but make sure you don’t end up as a doormat and that you’re always treated with respect.
  5. Do you ignore problems? You gloss over arguments, keep complaints to a minimum, and find it hard to bring up things that have made you upset. You may tell yourself that you’re working hard to keep your relationship going, but deep-down, you know you’re ignoring the truth because you can’t face ruining your Happily Ever After. The mature response to problems is to talk them through and face them together. Relationships take work, which is often missed out of fairytales.
  6. Do you communicate enough? How often do you and your partner talk? Not just about the day-to-day, but about how you’re feeling, your future plans, and any worries or fears you may be having? If you’re avoiding conversations because you don’t know where they might lead, you’re just making it worse for the both of you in the long run.
  7. Are you terrified of being alone? There’s no doubt that it’s better to be alone than to be stuck in an unhappy relationship, but the thought of going solo can be incredibly daunting. It’s so important to become comfortable with who you are and your own company so you don’t stay in, or enter into, a relationship that you’re not happy in.
  8. Are you afraid to confide in your friends? Becuase you’re trying to uphold the facade of a perfect relationship, you may struggle to confide in your family and friends when things do go wrong. You don’t have to be perfect in front of everyone all the time. Take some time to confide in people you trust if something doesn’t feel right.
  9. Do you often feel alone? This is one of the biggest symptoms of HEAS. Becuase you feel like you have to make everything seem perfect, and you don’t want to talk to your partner about issues with your relationship and struggle to confide in your friends, you’re often left feeling alone. This can even lead to you needing to post more on social media to get the empty rush of likes.
Writer, reader, runner.

Marketing strategist and journalism graduate.