If we had a dime for every time we compared our relationship to those we see online, we’d all be rich. Am I right?
If you have never compared your relationship to someone else’s you see online, you can stop reading now; this entire article will be irrelevant to you, and will be a colossal waste of your time.
For the rest of us…listen up.
As a sex and relationship coach, I ‘sorta-kinda’ feel like I have at least SOME credibility here.
You’d be hard pressed to find a person who hasn’t seen the quintessential social media “gush posts” (I just made that up – FYI). You know, the ones where the person shares all of the amazing things about their partner and the life they share? Yeah, those. If you find yourself comparing your relationship to the social media highlight reels, try to remember a few things:
- The inner workings of their relationship are different than yours. Do you have any idea how DIFFERENT the criteria is for relational satisfaction? Even if (and that’s a big IF) they are nauseatingly happy together all the time, you have zero clue what they require to be ‘happy’ in their relationship. As a matter of fact, if you ‘copied and pasted’ their criteria to your relationship, it’s very possible that you would NOT be satisfied. Let me drive this point home a bit. I conducted a little poll on Instagram asking about the level of satisfaction regarding foreplay and passion. I also got private messages about how passionate some of these relationships were. At face value, one could start thinking, “Oh man…I wish my relationship was passionate and filled with lust. I miss that so much…”
Here’s what you DON’T know by simply looking at an IG poll: Some of the people that messaged me are in ethical non-monogamous relationships. Are you? Others were in relationships less than 6 months. Are you? Some had gone through horrific phases, and have had insanely difficult conversations to get to the point where their sex life has been renewed a bit. Have you gone through awful phases and had the hard conversations? Comparing your relationship to others is, quite literally, comparing apples to oranges.
2. Social media is a highlight reel. When is the last time you saw posts that looked like this…
“My husband is driving me fucking crazy. He’s a selfish lover, and doesn’t help at all with anything around the house. Honestly, I can’t even stand to be around him right now. Sometimes I wish I could just run off and live my life alone.”
“My wife is driving me crazy. She’s judgmental of my sexual desires, and refuses tomeet me in the middle on ANY of my fantasies. We fight all the time, and honestly – I’m struggling with staying faithful.”
“Sometimes I wonder if my partner is the right one. What if there’s someone that’s a better fit for me? We seem to be on different pages lately, and I’m worried we can’t get back on track.”
Exactly. You haven’t. But, you know what? Those are some of the struggles that are more common than not. Those are the challenges of many couples that I speak with (both personally, and professionally). Social media posts are a SNAPSHOT in time; milliseconds of a person’s life. That post may be indicative of the moment, but rarely the entire relationship. Relationships ebb and flow like everything else in this life.
So, remember when you see a “gush post”, you are only seeing the glory – not the story.
3. We live in a society that thrives on comparison. We live in a world full of instagram filters, “thirst traps”, and “influencers” that also happen to be incredibly attractive. We are constantly struggling to decide if authenticity will bring us followers, or if we should just show what we think people want to see. We literally EXIST in a virtual reality more than we do an earthly one. You know what’s easier to do in a virtual reality? Yup – FAKE IT. And so many of us have mastered this art, unfortunately. Seeing what we lack is easy – especially in the world we live in. The HARD part is realizing what’s actually important to you, and not just trying to “keep up with the Jones”. Sometimes I wonder if we didn’t have social media, if our level of overall life satisfaction would sky rocket. I’m inclined to say yes.
But, since social media isn’t going away anytime soon, the best I can do right now is write a blog about it. Until next time, if you want to compare your relationship to anything, compare where it is now, to where you’d like it to go next. From there, have conversations about how to move in that direction as a couple.
There is no magic formula for relationships; and even if there was, we’d all have different ones.