By Vince Lake
A few days ago a close friend showed me a screenshot of a few flirtatious comments on a picture of her boyfriend on instagram. When she asked my opinion on whether or not she should say something to him, I chose not to get involved. But it did make me think…. so, I took a census with some of my peers, 6 women and 6 men, ages 21 to 45 years old, married, single and in a relationship, and asked “How does social media influence your relationship? Here’s how it played out.
Of the women I conversed with, one said ‘no,’ social media doesn’t influence a relationship and the other five agreed that it does. The woman who believes that it doesn’t says,
“Communication is paramount to ensure you and your partner are on the same page. Also, if the foundation of your relationship isn’t stable, it’s more likely the person’s behavior that has caused the relationship’s demise.”
Though my other married friends (The fellas) beg to differ. They agreed that social media does have an influence on their marriage, and these are the major factors:
Insecurities– New friends both parties aren’t aware of. Random comments.
History- Reconnecting with old friends or associates.
Perception- Images, lies, popularity race (Keeping up with the Joneses)
Maturity- Age gap / Stages of life. Priorities
One gentleman doesn’t follow his spouse on social media, but both their social status is marked married. The other gentlemen have one or two social media accounts that they use to post pictures of their kids, and converse about sports.
My friends in relationships had a few end because of their partner’s behavior on various social media platforms. Case in point, one male friend was in a relationship with a woman he met via social media years prior. She told him that she didn’t want to mix her personal and social life, so on social media platforms she portrayed herself as single. It soon became clear that the life she was living as a social media celebrity didn’t mirror her reality. When my friend would question her about various things he would read on her different accounts she would wave it off stating that it was nothing to worry about. Her behavior on social media lead to endless arguments. My other friends experienced similar issues with their partners. One dealt with the issue of not being acknowledged on social media by her boyfriend who was a Hip-hop artist. His friends/followers didn’t know he was in a relationship with her, and when she would post something he would never comment or ‘like’ it. As miner as that may sound, it bothered her, especially when he’d un-tag himself from pictures of them together.
Now for my single people, a younger friend said he can’t function without social media, from Snatchchat to Instagram, he’s on all the platforms. “Social media is like having the club in the palm of your hand, minus buying drinks and paying an entry fee,” he says. Arguments with his ex used to start with, “Whose number is this?” but now it’s “Who’s this liking your pictures?” or “Who’s your new friend on Instagram?” My single ladies feel that social media is an open diary if your partner is cheating. “Liking pictures isn’t the only issue, it’s when you cross the line with code talk or undertone comments that the problems arise,” says one female friend.
As a whole, social media has deconstructed the way we communicate. Relationships/Friendships aren’t nurtured or valued the way they were about 15 years ago. So who’s to blame? Is it a person’s lack of maturity, playing the blind eye to the first letter of the word relationship…”R” as in “RESPECT,” or are we just reading into our own insecurities? Who am I to judge, I’m just here for the comments.