7 Ways Social Media Affects Relationships, Based on Research & Experts


Thanks to romantic comedies and flawless Instagram feeds, our idea of people’s relationships has gone massively skewed. And while movies are scripted for perfection, social media isn’t. It shows people living real lives. It also tends to show the best moments and angles out of each day. So, how does that interfere with our romantic relationships?

Group of mixed race people looking at mobile phones and tablets outdoors at urban setting
7 Ways Social Media Affects Relationships, Based on Research & Experts

Social Media and Relationships

There isn’t a single answer to whether social media is exclusively bad or good for relationships. When used sparingly, it can be good; when overused, it can lead to poor body image, depression, and jealousy. If there has to be a solution, it would be to find the balance between how much you are on social media and how you use it to interact with your partner. Here are 7 ways that social media is likely to affect your relationship.

1. It Can Create Unrealistic Expectations

Social Media likes
7 Ways Social Media Affects Relationships, Based on Research & Experts

The harsh reality of social media is that each platform has algorithms that push carefully filtered and curated posts up on your feed. These are typically posts that highlight unrealistic images of couples, making you believe this is what your relationship should look like, too. Sex and behavioral therapist Chamin Ajjan, M.S. says that seeing such posts can bring resentment toward your partner for not doing the same things for you as people do on social media.

2. It Can Lead to Jealousy

Woman secretly looking at man's phone
7 Ways Social Media Affects Relationships, Based on Research & Experts

Research shows that college students are prone to feel increased jealousy as a result of social media use. Seeing your partner leave comments or likes on other people’s posts can lead to the suspicion that they are interested in someone else.

3. It Can Make Daily Life Seem Less Interesting

A couple having a fight
7 Ways Social Media Affects Relationships, Based on Research & Experts

Let’s face it, we all post our finest moments on social media. The drool-worthy Instagram picture of a couple on a dreamy vacation can easily trigger feelings of envy. Seeing such posts continuously can keep you from appreciating the moment you’re currently in and the experiences you’re sharing with your significant other.

4. It Can Negatively Affect Your Mental Health

Teens overwhelmed with their phones
7 Ways Social Media Affects Relationships, Based on Research & Experts

Although the idea of social media is to connect people, multiple studies have shown that the use of Facebook, Instagram, and the likes is linked with mood disorders, poor self-esteem, and loneliness. Due to a negative cognitive bias, people with preexisting mental health issues are also more likely to fall into the trap of social comparisons.

5. It Helps Single People Meet Others

Couple holding smartphones with their pictures on
7 Ways Social Media Affects Relationships, Based on Research & Experts

According to a recent Tinder survey, dating apps can help certain members of the community connect. The survey found that 80% of LGBTQ+ adults have found online dating apps to help find like-minded people and feel more comfortable being themselves.

6. Social Media Can Keep You Connected to Your Partner

Flirting couple in the park texting on smartphones
7 Ways Social Media Affects Relationships, Based on Research & Experts

Whether it’s a quick Snapchat or a funny meme sent over Messenger or Instagram, social media can help you interact with your partner throughout the day in a low-pressure and fun way. This is especially important for long-distance relationships and couples that don’t live together.

7. It’s a Time Capsule of Memories

Social media memories tab
7 Ways Social Media Affects Relationships, Based on Research & Experts

It’s safe to say that many digital social platforms have replaced the need for printed photo albums. We use social media to store memories and places we’ve been to. In that sense, it has become a digital capsule that keeps many of our notable memories in one place. Isn’t that amazing? Social platforms aren’t all bad after all!