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Gegli news - What Are the positive and Negative Effects of Social Media on Relationships? - 7/28/2022 9:28:22 PM 9:28:22 PM 

How Social Media Affects Romantic Relationships


Social media has allowed us to be more aware and engaged in the lives of those we care about, including our partners. We can more readily communicate with them and we can see their daily happenings and feel more connected. However, it can also impact mental health and relationships negatively by making people feel upset with what they see or what a partner is choosing to share.

Social media has also made it possible for us to share our relationship with the world. This too can be positive or negative. Sharing too much on social media can lessen intimacy in a relationship, and sharing too little can cause others to question the authenticity of it. Finding a healthy balance between sharing too much and not sharing enough is important for a healthy relationship.

Negative effects :

Although social media has many positive benefits, it has the potential to wreak havoc on a relationship. Some of the negative effects of social media on relationships include decreased time with a partner, missed connections, jealousy, conflict arising from disagreements or hurt feelings, and negative comparisons.

Decreased Time With a Partner

Social media can also impact relationships by decreasing attention and quality of time spent together. According to a recent study, negative effects of social media on relationships are distraction, irritation, and decreased quality time.2 If someone is engrossed in a social media site, they are likely to miss or get irritated with a partner if they’re interrupted.

We have all had the experience of hopping on a screen for “just a minute” only to find out that an hour has passed before we know it. Screens, and in particular social media, have a tendency to suck us in, distract us from our surroundings and make time pass quickly. This is time that used to be spent engaged in the present with the people around us, including a significant other. Whether we intend to or not, social media does decrease the quality time spent in a relationship, which can decrease our satisfaction and sense of connection – and ultimately lead to a social media addiction if left unchecked.

Negative Comparisons

Social media makes it much easier for us to negatively compare our relationship to other relationships or our partner to other people we see on social media. This can impact our commitment to our relationship that can lead to betrayal and possibly even the demise of the relationship.

According to a recent study, the bigger role social media plays in a person’s life, the less satisfying their romantic relationships are.3 People may see what is happening in other relationships and wish they had the same, causing relationship satisfaction to decrease. This is often a false comparison. People do not usually show the negative aspects of their relationship on social media, only the positive.

Missed Bids

In relationships, we all make what Dr. John Gottman calls “bids” for connection. This can be as simple as asking our partner a question or reaching for their hand, or it can be more involved such as seeking emotional support from our partner when we are having a difficult time. Regardless of the bid, a partner can either turn toward you (meaning they respond positively to the bid), turn away (meaning they intentionally or unintentionally ignore), or turn against (meaning they respond negatively to a bid).

There are missed bids in every relationship, but research conducted by Dr. John Gottman revealed that in healthy relationships couples respond positively to one another’s bids about 86% of the time.4  Something I hear a lot in my work with couples is that people often miss their partner’s bids when they are distracted by social media.

Although this is usually an unintentional turn away, it has the same impact on your partner as an intentional turn away, which is that it makes them feel less important than social media. Although a missed bid here and there will not negatively impact the relationship too much, if this becomes a habit, it can have lasting detrimental effects on your relationship.


Jealousy usually stems from interactions with someone in which there is potential attraction or ongoing interactions with exes. You may see an interaction between your partner and someone they may be attracted to and interpret something between them that may or may not be there.

Social media may also cause “retroactive jealousy,” which occurs when a person feels upset about their partner’s romantic history despite ex-partners not being a factor in the current relationship.5 This stems from seeing digital remnants of former romantic relationships, social comparison (comparing yourself to your partner’s ex), or uncertainty, which occurs when seeing your partner’s past on social media makes you question the stability of the relationship.

Conflict Stemming From Disagreements or Hurt Feelings

Couples may find themselves in conflict regarding differing beliefs about what is acceptable on social media. For example, you may believe in blocking exes from social media while your partner disagrees. Or, you may post something that your partner didn’t want shared, or vice versa. Or, you may not post something your partner wished you would share. These actions can all lead to hurt feelings and potential conflict in the relationship.

Positive effects :

Although social media has the potential to negatively impact your relationship, it also has the potential to positively impact your relationship. According to one study, positive impacts can happen through partners’ public expressions of affection and mutual information sharing.6 For some, it gives them peace of mind knowing what their partner is up to.

Additionally, for couples that are in a long-distance relationship or have to be long distance for a period of time, social media can help them stay and feel more connected. They have easy access to one another’s everyday lives and moments they otherwise would not be privy to.

Signs That Social Media Is Affecting Your Relationship :

Hopefully, social media is impacting your relationship positively (or not at all). But if you are like most couples, social media may be impacting your relationship in a negative way. If so, it is important to recognize the signs early so you can take action before too much damage has been done.

Your relationship may be affected by social media if you or your partner notice any of the following:

Decreased quality time together (particularly in the evenings, which should be time for the two of you to reconnect at the end of the day)

A feeling of distance or disconnect between the two of you

Learning about important events of life happenings in your partner’s world through social media, instead of from them

Obsessively checking your partner’s social media to make sure they are not doing something you disapprove of

An increase in conflict regarding social media use, posts, and so forth

Secrecy between the two of you regarding your social media accounts, posts, and so forth

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