Just pairing the words “social media and relationships” together gives me anxiety.

Although the topic may seem unnecessary, it’s not. It’s a real issue – an issue that I wanted to write about because when it comes to social media and relationships, there isn’t much out there.

Why?

The topic of social media and relationships is one of those guilt and shame-inducing unmentionables that we’re too scared to admit we have an issue with. We’re scared because there’s a part of us that feels like we have no right to impinge on someone else’s right to do whatever they want with their OWN accounts.

A big reason why this topic never gets discussed: whenever it starts to become a problem, we involuntarily generate a bandaid-on-cancer excuse:

“He/she had these accounts (and a life!) before me. Who am I to have a problem with it?”

“I FINALLY have what I want. He/she is an amazing person in every aspect. I need to get over this pettiness before I lose them and fail at yet another relationship. I’m not getting any younger. This is just me trying to sabotage a good thing.”

“It’s better than him/her cheating on me! At least he/she feels comfortable enough to do this in front of my face and not behind my back.”

“All guys do this! I have no right to be embarrassed or feel shameful about it. He’s just being a guy. It’s not like he’s sexting/DM-ing these Instagram models and a*s/boob accounts. It’s FINE. I clearly need to work on MY issues and  insecurities.”

And the list goes on.

So, we give ourselves the excuse pacifier and seek to work on becoming “more understanding,” “less sensitive,” and “stronger.”

Yet, there is STILL this lingering, “if-I-was-good/hot/popular-enough-he-wouldn’t-have-to-follow/comment/like,'” mind f*cking MADNESS that you just can’t shake no matter how many excuses you try to extinguish your partner’s voyeuristic fire with.

Is there an Instagram/Facebook etiquette for dating and being in relationships?

What are the pink flags that precede the red ones?

When does “normal” social media activity become a deal breaker?… When does it become wrong?… When does it become creepy?

I’m fortunate to have dated men that could care less about social media. All it took was dating ONE guy that was extremely active on social media, to unearth my most humiliating behavior, reverse narcissism, and deepest insecurities (that I didn’t even know I had in me).

The thing about social media and relationships is that if you’re being disrespected, it’s the most painful checkmate to find yourself in.

There’s nothing that is being DIRECTLY aimed at you, so if you ever call your partner out on it, YOU look like the unreasonable, insecure, and boundary-less a*shole.

When it comes to social media and relationships, here are 5 red flags to look out for…

I hear often from women who say that they’re in great shape, their self-esteem is intact and they feel like they’re with a great guy BUT… He follows an excessive amount of Instagram accounts that display everything that they physically aren’t.

For these women, their self-esteem is intact until they see who he’s following.

And whether he knows the people behind the accounts or not… it hurts. 

Another impossibly annoying scenario is when he follows his exes. And the commenting/liking is mutual and excessive.

As far as deal breakers go, that’s not for me to say. It’s ultimately up to you to decide what breaks your relational deal. What I am going to provide are some red flags to keep an eye out for when it comes to social media and relationships.

Your head, heart, and libido may be excusing and hanging onto a crumb diet for dear life, but YOUR GUT KNOWS when the crumbs are being taken for a loaf.

Here are the 5 red flags to look out for when it comes to social media and relationships

+ as with all of my writing, this can apply to any gender or orientation.

  1. In-Your-Face Awareness.

    If your partner follows an excessive number of accounts that you deem as disrespectful; that you, your friends, family, and the world can see, what about the things that you can’t see? I’m not trying to scare you. What I am trying to express is that if your partner is highly sexualized in the public world of social media (and casually follows/likes/comments on numerous model/sexy/naked/porno/ex/inappropriate photos a day for everyone to see, WHILE he’s dating you), that’s a problem.

    If your partner isn’t even going to pretend to respect you on a PUBLIC platform, what is he going to do in private? And if he doesn’t deem that as disrespectful, what then? This is so much LESS about insinuating that he will cheat and so much MORE about the kind of mentality that prevents a MUTUALLY loving, honest, loyal and respectful relationship from EVER forming.

  2. Preoccupation with activity.

    If he’s more preoccupied with likes, followers and comments than he is an active participant in your relationship… red flag. Conversely, if you have all the females that he follows memorized and are stalking his every social media move WHILE being in a relationship with him, that’s not love. That’s distrust, that’s a red flag, and THAT needs to be addressed.

    As far as how it needs to be addressed, keep in mind that if someone is going to advertise their unavailability, empathetic bankruptness, and disconnectivity for the world to see, it’s safe to assume that explaining to them the hurtful effects of something they’re totally fine with doing on a public platform, won’t be effective. Sometimes you just need to speak with your actions and know when to fold.

  3. Attention seeker.

    As humans, we are wired to yearn for connection, meaning and belonging, but when it comes to social media and relationships, attention-seeking behavior is a definite red flag.

    When you consistently seek attention on social media, you’re basically proving that for you, image and outward attention takes precedence over authenticity, intimacy, substance, maturity, and connection. And what is life without any of those? It’s a red flag when your partner consistently looks for attention outside of your relationship in the name of cyber hearts.

  4. “Without communication, there is no relationship. Without respect, there is no love. Without trust, there is no reason to continue.”

    If you’ve lost respect for your partner (due to his social media activity), and you’ve lost respect for yourself (due to your social media stalking, excusing and lack of backbone), true love is going to have an impossibly hard time finding a way.

    If your partner does not provide an environment in which you feel safe to express your concerns, feelings, and emotions (in a KIND and civil way), without feeling like you’re going to be abandoned, rejected or made to feel/look crazy… you’re in red flag, toxic relationship territory.

  5. The worst kind of threesome.

    Understand that if you’re dating someone who’s social media habits are disrespectful, you will ALWAYS be in an emotional threesome. As I’ve said before – true love is linear, not triangular. Inhabiting a relationship triangle is, in and of itself, a red flag.

    If your relationship can be defined as you, him and social media – that’s not true love, that’s a very sh*tty, dysfunctional and heartbreaking threesome. Emotional threesomes always start as little pink flags that enable us to feel “passion” (because we suffer from low self-esteem and define passion as having to compete for basic things like love and respect). However, they quickly turn into deal-breaking red flags that will always be present unless you ACT by exiting the dynamic. There’s no need to explain why you want linear to someone who’s a professional triangle constructor and inhabiter.

x Natasha

If you need further and more personalized help with your relationship, please look into working with me here.

WANT TO BECOME THE MOST
BADASS VERSION OF YOURSELF?

Get Natasha’s 7 life-changing & essential boundaries straight to your inbox.
Sign up to receive exclusive content, updates + more.

Your free download has been emailed to you. Please make sure you confirm your email address. 

You May Also Like

32 comments

Reply

I needed this today like You Have No Idea. May Karma Bless You a Thousand Times.

Reply

So happy it helped <3 Thanks Jen. All my love to you soul sister. XO

Reply

So true. Social media and people take up all of the attention that is needed for someone special. I’ve been through this. Thankyou so much dear for the red flags to watch out for. Love. ??

Reply

Thanks Pankhuri! 🙂 Sending you love. xx

Reply

Oh wow… You could just switch out the title of this article with the name of my ex and it would be bang on ? but it was SO hard to articulate at the time.
Natasha – THANK YOU for reminding us all that our feelings are wise (and valid). And that we’re better off out of the narcissistic, social media harem. Hope you and the fam are well. Much love & hugs.
B x

Reply

Thank YOU B !! 🙂 I’m glad that it served you. You’re right, it is so hard to articulate, especially when you’re immersed in it. Thank you for your love, sisterhood, support and well wishes.

Love to you soul sister. xx

Reply

Great post! Thank you!

Reply

Glad you liked! 🙂 XO

Reply

Natasha what do you have to say about this scenario: I was dating this guy for 3 months and everything was going well, we were exclusive and in all intents and purposes he was my boyfriend. But when we finally added each other on FB after 3 months, I noticed that he had put me on “restricted access” to his profile, I couldn’t see most of his pictures, honestly there was literally no difference between what I could see as a member of the public and when he finally “friended” me. But me being me, I said nothing and never addressed the issue even though it hurt so much because he had unrestricted access to my profile, I have nothing to hide. What I didn’t know then was that he was emotionally unavailable and had no intention of letting me further into his life. I think in hindsight it was a Red Flag situation.

Reply

Hi Becky! Yes – definite red flag. Sorry I can’t elaborate more, I cannot give advise in the comments. Thanks for reading and for understanding! XO

Reply

My ex boyfriend lost interest in me and stopped acting like a partner when I said it bothered me he was following and actively liking lots of naked girls on Instagram and Facebook. He said they were his “friends” and it was controlling to ask him to stop liking their naked posts. I felt like I was going crazy and started to question my sanity.

This article gives the best advice, often it’s best to just fold and remove ourselves from their disrespect rather than torturing ourselves over it. Clearly he wasn’t looking for a serious relationship. Thank you this post was just what I needed!!

Reply

Hi Anne! Thank you! I’m so happy it helped 🙂 You are not alone. XOXO

Reply

Hi Natasha…I still read everything you write and always want to reply cause I love everything you write, but I am usually too tired being the end of my day, and all, by the time I check in with you. I have been following you basically from the beginning, I feel your articles are getting stronger and stronger, or maybe I am getting stronger and stronger, or maybe we are growing together!! I always admire your bravery and raw honesty, and as long as your writing I will be reading!! I will never forget how you came through for me when I reached out for you, it meant a lot to me and still does. x0

Reply

Melissa!! Hi! You are my day 1 – I’ll never forget you. I think we are growing together 🙂 The feeling is mutual. You are loved, appreciated, missed, believed in and adored. Thanks for being a part of this tribe and for your love and sisterhood. I’m excited for you to check out the videos, podcast, online courses and my book when it comes out. Love you sister! XOXO

Reply

My ex had another big red social media flag. Even though he had deleted his previous exes, traces of them still littered his Facebook. A ‘like’ here, a reply to a nonexistent (any more!) comment there. But he never made mention of me on Facebook, anywhere. When I asked him about it, his reply seemed reasonable enough… he didn’t want drama to happen because of it. Thinking back, that should have set off so many warning bells! If we were in a real relationship, why would there have been drama in the first place?

Funny enough, after I finally broke up with him (I gave him an ultimatum about a destructive habit that was ruining both our lives… he made his choice, so I made mine!), and he hopped into a new relationship, photos of them together popped straight up on his Facebook the very day after they started dating. They got married after three days of knowing each other at all. It’s been almost two months and I’m unhappily happy to say that everything you said in your “think your ex has changed and is in a better relationship” post is EXACTLY RIGHT! The new guy is finding out everything I found out first hand. And all I can feel any more is pity — for the new guy!

I was a complete and utter wreck the first month post-male. I finally found my way here thanks to a Google search for, I believe it was “how to get over him when I just can’t” or something along those lines. Anyway! This blog honestly provided me a waypost on getting back on the road to recovery, and I cannot begin to even formulate adequate thanks for that. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and insight! Every day has its own struggles still (working on month four post breakup, and month two of no contact!) but I’m starting to believe I can make it. The biggest lesson I learned was that good memories can STILL BE GOOD even if they turned into something horrible… you’re not weaker for enjoying them for what they are! But, they also don’t have to be a reason to get off your white horse and go begging for him back…! They can just be good memories, nothing more and nothing less.

Wow sorry I did not mean to type you a miniblog here. Bottom line… thank you, thank you for showing your scars so that we can learn for them. Thank you for being a beacon for those of us who are completely, utterly, and hopelessly lost.

Reply

Hi Mouse! I’m honored to have helped propel your healing and realizations. Thank YOU for being a part of this tribe 🙂 You are adored, loved, appreciated, understood, believed in and never, ever alone. XOXO

Reply

Love this! You are always spot on! ❤️

Reply

Love you sister! xo

Reply

I’m curious about a social media experience, and wonder if you have any thoughts on it : my ex would not engage with me at all on FB. He completely ignored everything I did or said – never once acknowledged me online. I didn’t especially want to live my life on FB, so I largely ignored this behaviour.

However, he and his new girlfriend are all over each other on FB, with declarations of love, how much they miss each other, etc, ad nauseum. I also happen to know that it was this way with the gf before me, too (FBI mode. You know how it is).
Given how it all worked out (me with broken heart), I just wonder if any meaning can be attached to any of it.

Your blog has been a lifesaver, by the way – definitely saved my bacon. 🙂

Reply

Hi Rachel!

I’m so happy that the blog has helped!! & YES, I know FBI mode all too well haha 🙂

I wish that I could answer, but I have too much to say to type it all out not enough hands to type or hours in the day. I would also need more details. This is why I cannot give specific advice/answers in the comments.

Thanks for your love, for reading and for your understanding. Keep coming back here to the blog. All my love to you soul sister.

You’re not alone XOXO

Reply

I’ll try to write a post on this soon !! x

Reply

That would be great, thanks! My curiosity runneth over. 🙂

Reply

Words can’t express how accurate this is, and how much it has helped me to understand that I am not the problem, and never was in this aspect of my relationship. Now, onto figuring out why I’m so ready to ignore those red flags and question myself instead. Thank you SO much!

Reply

Happy it helped! Thank YOU Jen – for being a part of this tribe and for being the light that you are 🙂 XOXO

Reply

Really looking forward to working on this

Reply

🙂 xo

Reply

Curious about this coming from the opposite perspective. I’m currently talking to someone who is constantly asking me about people who are in photos with me, like my photos, etc. He must do a lot of social media (mainly Instagram) stalking of me, to the point where he randomly brings up people he’s never met and asks about my history with them. I know he has a lot of distrust as it’s only been a few months in and he’s been cheated on before, but it drives me nuts. I try to pacify the conversation and assure him that these people are not a threat. I don’t follow any questionable accounts or regularly communicate with other males on social media. It’s like he looks for things to be worried about. Definitely sounds like a personal problem he needs to work on but I’m not sure if there’s anything more I can do and it’s very challenging to not get angry! Still enjoyed this article for the other perspective.

Reply

Author:

You misspelled ‘lose’. ” I need to get over this pettiness before I loose him…”
Loose is not tight fitting.
Lose is unable to find or cease to have.

Reply

Hi Tori!

Thanks for pointing that typo out – I just fixed it.

And thank you for defining the difference between the 2 words in case I didn’t know. It was a typo.

Reply

My boyfriend acknowledges me on Facebook and is attentive in real life and is present with me. Still his social media, Instagram and Facebook have many provocative type people that he’s following/friends list. I’m not a prude and I try not to be uptight, but it hurts me. I cannot help how it makes me feel, but at the same time I don’t want to be controlling or tell someone what to do.
I feel caught between a rock and a hard place and I don’t like the insecure feelings this is evoking in me. I feel guilty for my feelings and not sure if it’s my own insecurity or if I’m valid in my feelings?

Reply

Hi Veridiabue!

I wish that I had the time to advise/answer in the comments, in the kind of depth that I want to (thank you so much for your understanding and kindness).

You are completely valid in your feelings <3 xoxo

Reply

Just found this article. My BF is a an administrator of one FB group where we met. We strated dating and he made many promises about stopping his behaviour in the group and on FB overall. In the group, he holds a contests for sexy girls of the month, he has all of them in friends. Evethough he keeps his real face private and jsut some chosen people know what he looks like. When we started dating he made a promise: I will not keep you a secret…. He never kept it although he kept making the same promise evere month and many more promises. It almost makes me cry and I feel he is ashamend of the fact that he is dating me. Or maybe he does not want to loose his FB status as an unreachable guy. At first, I helped him with the FB group, I made funny pictures and videos for him – no appreciation at all. Now I ghosted from the group and all his FB pages because it makes me sick seeing him commenting a posting while I am waiting for him to reply to my message. Is that so hard to confess he is with someone….and moreover…dedicate his time to the relationship instead of Facebook? Do not know what to do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *