We may be in a love hate relationship with social media, but hopefully that doesn’t mean a love hate relationship IRL.
In a recent CenturyLinkQuote survey with 1,110 adults in relationships, 1 in 2 Americans say social media makes them feel closer to their significant other.
Rebecca Williams, a licensed marriage and family therapist at Inland Empire Couples Counseling, stated, “Social media often plays a role in couples getting together or getting to know each other during the dating period. Sometimes it is the source of laughter, conversation topics, or couples connecting around things they both care about.”
- 68% of respondents said social media has impacted their relationship. Of this 68%, 50% of people said social media makes them feel closer to their partner.
- 75% of respondents also said social media sparks interesting conversations with their partner, which could include anything from workout inspiration to new recipes to cook together
- 54% of Americans said social media makes it easier to keep in touch with their long-distance lover. By making it easy to see what the other person is up to and to share interesting content, social media helps long-distance couples keep the spark alive.
Below is a more detailed interview with Rebecca Williams, a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Q: How have you seen social media affect romantic relationships?
Social media often plays a role in couples getting together or getting to know each other during the dating period. With couples who seek out counseling services, social media can sometimes cause problems in relationships. It is a source of distraction to one partner, which can leave the other partner feeling neglected or unimportant. Social media is often involved when cheating happens in a relationship: the person who is stepping out might find or communicate with the affair partner through social media. We have also seen this last year social media becoming a source of conflict in couples around politics or news, with one partner disagreeing with who the partner follows or where they get their news.
Q: Does this differ by the age of the people who are in a relationship? (If so, how does social media tend to affect older couples vs younger couples)
Maybe 10 years ago we might have seen a difference in older vs younger couples and their use of social media. So many people participate in social media now, that we see it coming up in the conflicts our couples have across age and socioeconomic status.
Q: How have you seen social media bring couples closer together?
Some couples meet on social media or use it as a communication tool when they are getting to know each other. Some couples use social media platforms as a way to keep in touch throughout the day when they are not physically together. They send each other messages of support or post about good news.
Q: What advice do you give to couples regarding healthy habits for social media use?
When you are physically together, be together. Put your phones down. Don’t use social media to get other people on your side during an argument. Don’t let social media rob you of opportunities for real connection; use it as a tool. Take what you see online and use it as a conversation starter in real time with your partner. “I saw what you posted. How did that go? Tell me more about it.