What’s the 411 on Social Media and Relationships?

A girlfriend is suspicious of her boyfriend’s phone activity because of its impact with social media and relationships

Social media can be helpful if it’s used wisely but it can become a threat to your relationship if it’s not.

Key takeaways:

  • Couples are meeting online now more than ever as social media has become more popular.

  • Social media itself is not bad or good; its impact depends on how it’s used.

  • Research shows that social media can have both positive and negative effects on relationships.

  • Setting digital boundaries can help mitigate social media’s potential negative effects.

  • Attending therapy can help if social media is negatively impacting your relationship.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know what a big role social media has in our lives today. Almost everyone uses it in some way. Research shows that around seven out of 10 American adults use social media, and it’s one of the most popular ways to spend time online. There are numerous social networks, from messaging platforms like Reddit to professional networking platforms like LinkedIn, and apps for virtually everything in between, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

Then there are the dating apps. In 2020, 270 million adults worldwide used dating apps, representing an increase of nearly double in the past five years. 39% of U.S. couples met their partners online in 2019. Social media, obviously, is a great way to meet people. But, what if you’re already coupled in a monogamous relationship?

Like anything, social media can be disastrous when used inappropriately. Although its use is prevalent and widespread with no signs of slowing down, social media doesn’t have to be a source of problems for your relationship. Let’s talk about social media and relationships, its impacts, and what to do about it.

So…should we just delete social media?

Social media in and of itself is not inherently bad. Its outcomes really just depend on an individual’s usage. While there’s lots of research showing its harmful effects, there is also research that speaks to the positive benefits of using social media.

In an Australian study, most respondents didn’t suffer negative impacts on their relationships due to their social media usage. In fact, results showed that those who have their partners as “friends” on platforms were less likely to report concerns. The research concluded that for some couples, social media is helpful for the relationship.