A friend of mine recently messaged me: I’ve currently gotten into a relationship with someone after dating them for 5 months.
Since being officially classified as “being in a relationship”, we’ve obviously been taking more pictures together on our dates.
But one thing has come up — my partner doesn’t like sharing his relationships online.
He says he’s friends with a lot of family on his social media accounts and doesn’t like them seeing or talking about his personal life.
The one good caveat to this is he also, in general, does not post much at all, maybe 3–4 times a year on his Instagram showcasing a reunion with his best friends or a trip with family, things like that.
I’m someone who likes to share on social media.
I obviously have respect for his thought process on social media, but for me, this is making feel weird because social media is sort of how I let my friends and family know how I’m doing and I guess I’ve always assumed when I did find someone, that they’d also post decently often on social media and thus post pictures of me as a result.
I guess reciprocating (in terms of both sides posting) has been a part of my past relationships as well, so I assumed it would always be. This would be my first boyfriend who wasn’t active on social media.
I also am worried that the scenario that we get serious and he wouldn’t post about me. Obviously, I can’t ask him, hey two years from now, if we’re still dating, would you consider us serious enough to post us?
Just being honest, at that point, if he didn’t feel comfortable sharing pictures of us, that would be a red flag for me because once we’re serious, I don’t think there’s an excuse to not post us.
Do you have any advice on how to approach this?
Social media and relationships, and what to post/how often to post, can get tough.
I think everybody that was kind of was a teenager around the advent of Facebook, MySpace, or the iPhone coming out — those people and then people younger than them have all kind of grown up on social media being a big part of life. Obviously, at the same time, there are exceptions to that and people who didn’t or still don’t participate in social media.
There’s a couple things I would say in this situation.
1. Make sure your posting is not affected by his social media relationship
It wasn’t entirely clear from the message, but I assume, it would be okay for you to post on your social media account pictures of the two of you for the time being, and just not tag him, correct?
If that’s okay, then I don’t think there’s any red flag for now.
If he says no to that, I think that’s a red flag.
Because in my mind, there’s no way his family would see those pictures if you’re not tagging him and so I’m not really sure the thought process in not allowing you to post pictures of the two of you.
In that case, I would say be worried about his character because I’m not sure there’s really any good justification for why he’s asking that of you.
Relationships are a two-way street. And he has to understand that social media is something you use as a form of letting people know how you’re doing. So, your relationship with social media shouldn’t be stunted because of the way he uses social media.
He’s gotta understand who you are and not want to change a big part of your identity.
2. Understanding that your way of processing is different than his, and his probably won’t change
This is a big relationship thing just in general — but two people can have completely different ways of going about things, and from an identity perspective, those ways of going about probably won’t change.
I’ll give two examples of what I’m talking about to make the point.
Take arguments for example, one person could be someone who wants to take a step back after an argument, think through things, be alone, gather thoughts, and then talk the next day about the argument. On the flip side, another person might prefer to figure out the ending of the argument on the day of despite both sides being in an emotional state.
Another example — when someone is stressed or depressed, one person might reach out and text friends for support whereas another person might do the opposite — be less social, not reach out to friends and kind of deal with it on their own and be more social once their good.
There’s no right or wrong answer in either of things. It’s just the way people are in terms of processing. Things like these (including relationship with social media) are so wrapped in your identity, they’re unlikely to significantly change in your adult life.
Basically, him not posting as much and not posting pictures of you guys together is something you’ll may have to deal with for the rest of your life and don’t bank on that changing.
Is that something you can take/accept? Let’s say, he never posts a picture of the two of you together for the rest of your life? How does that make you feel knowing that? Do you feel less validated? Those are things you’re going to have ask yourself and kind of figure out.
The big thing you can do is just communicate. Hey listen, like social media is a big part of my life and I do want to get validation from my partner if we’re in a serious relationship.
How do you feel about that?
He might then answer, oh that makes complete sense. Like I do posts people that I have gotten into a long-term relationship with. So, maybe after a year, I might be comfortable posting pictures of us. A simple conversation like that could put you at ease about your anxiety two years from now whether or not he’d post about you.
4. Validation comes in the form of the relationship, not whether you all posting online.
I obviously understand — you grew up on social media and it’s ingrained in you mentally as a form of validation and a form of letting everyone know how you’re doing.
So, as humans we want to be validated — obviously, him posting online about the two of you kind of lets all the girls interested in him know he’s no longer single and things like that.
That being said, you have to realize, the real relationship is in the in-person. If he loves you, if he takes care of you, if he does everything right in the in-person interactions, if he’s loving for real in-person, you don’t need him to show love for the two of you online.
And in some ways, I also think you need to think about sometimes, they’re can be unhealthy habits when couples post relationship pictures.
Sometimes, couples stay together longer than they should — they want to keep up an image and make everyone feel like their good, when in actuality, the relationship in-person is not healthy or as loving as it seems. This is obviously a terrible relationship (the in-person is what matters, not what people see on social media).
You’re focusing at all the reasons him not posting may be bad, but there is some good too in the sense, the two of you won’t ever feel like you need to keep the relationship going because you’re friends think you’re adorable or whatever.