Social Media & Relationships

The Impact of Social Media on Relationships

According to Forbes, Americans spent on average 1,300 hours on social media in 2020 alone! Although you might think the pandemic most likely spiked these numbers, the previous year’s average was relatively the same. Social media is used to stay in contact with friends, family, and even your significant other. However, social media can pose a threat to many relationships if not used cautiously.

Keeping each other in mind is part of using social media responsibly. Some boundaries should be set and discussed, this could be helpful to avoid future arguments or uncomfortable situations. Boundaries regarding social media should be applied to both parties. They are best set early in the relationship but can be established later in the relationship as well. The way your partner handles or uses social media should not make you uncomfortable or insecure. Uncomfortable thoughts and feelings can often lead to anxiety, depression, and marital issues. If you or your loved one is seeking guidance, a marriage counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist and you are in the Southlake, TX area, we are here for you! Here at Dr. Messina & Associates, we pride ourselves on the care we provide to each of our patients. 

 

Benefits of Social Media

Think about how easy it is to stay in touch with old high school and college friends you have not seen in years. Maybe it's a relative who lives on the other side of the country. All you have to do is follow them, double-tap on their pictures, or send them a direct message if you want to start a conversation. Working from home? Stay at home parent? Social media can be a lifeline to keep you connected with the world in an often otherwise isolating situation. 

Although there is a bad reputation for cyberbullying, there is also a support system for the newer generation. This community is helpful for any “outcasts, “the ones that do not feel accepted by society but have found comfort in a group online.

Social media is also helpful to keep relationships alive! Many long-distance relationships rely on social media to stay and feel connected even through distance. This is the same situation for friendships, many friendships stay “connected” through social media while sharing their similar interests such as memes and strike casual conversations over private messenger or direct message. 

Social media should not be an issue if you are not invested in it to the point where you neglect your partner or your responsibilities.

 

Possible Negative Impacts

Because social media mostly portrays the good in people’s lives, many may start to focus on other’s lives too much, too often. Sometimes engaging in social media can lead to this notion that your life is not good enough or not up to our standards. People forget social media is an illusion or a façade. Each profile is a tailored version of the creator, and most frequently, not even a fraction of what is displayed in their whole life.

The impact social media has on each person may vary however, for many it may be a trigger for insecurities and anxiety. The constant comparing and feeling like you are not up to a certain picture-perfect standard can lead to a mental health decline. For this reason, social media usage has been linked to depressive and anxiety symptoms.

There is also anxiety over feeling left out or not being “shown off to the social media world” when in a relationship. Whenever their significant other chooses to not showcase them in their tailored social media world, they might feel left out. Feeling left out can lead to emotions of feeling less important or of less significance in that person’s life.

Learning to communicate these insecurities and uncomfortable feelings is part of a healthy relationship with your partner. You should both be able to acknowledge each other’s concerns and reach a mature and healthy solution. If boundaries were not previously set, this is the appropriate time to discuss boundaries regarding social media usage.

 

Keep Your Partner in Mind

Keep Your Partner in Mind

Your rule of thumb should be not to post, comment, or send anything to someone you would not want your partner to send to someone else. It is okay to stay in contact with old friends, coworkers, and family. However, if you start to find yourself sneaking around, or having to hide conversations from your partner, perhaps this is not something your partner would be okay with. Sometimes, putting yourself in your partner’s shoes can give you a better perspective of how it looks from the other side. You should also communicate with your partner about what each of you are comfortable sharing online. If your partner is a more private person, they might not appreciate being on display on social media.

Although social media was created with the intent to keep you connected, it is creating a disconnect from the ones closest to you. Be aware of the amount of time you spend scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook while aimlessly liking pictures and watching videos. While you might not see an issue with this, your partner might be feeling a disconnect from you because of the lack of time you are providing them. While most lead busy lives with full-time jobs and families, scrolling aimlessly on social media can be a cause for friction in your relationship or marriage. Setting aside valuable time for activities that allow you both to nourish your relationship will create greater trust and grow the already existing connection.

 

Getting Help

Although social media is meant to connect us to our loved ones, at times it can leave us drained and disconnected from those who matter. This disconnect most often creates a sense of anxiety in some. If you or your loved one is struggling, you do not have to go through this alone!

Here at Dr. Messina and Associates, our compassionate team of professionals are qualified to help you at our Flower Mound, Texas, and Southlake, Texas, offices. Our Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Counselors specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychological testing, and medication management for a variety of emotional and behavioral health needs. All services are available in-person and online (telehealth). If you or a loved one are seeking help with mental health, we are here to help.

Author
Dr. Michael Messina

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