Northwestern University found those who posted on social media more frequently about their partner actually feel insecure in their relationship.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets a little annoyed by that couple on social media. You know who I’m talking about. Their profile pictures are selfies of them together smiling. Their statuses are inside jokes or cheesy relationship goals. But when you actually spend time with them, you’re wondering why they’re together.
Unlike their public facade, behind closed doors, this couple is always bickering about everything from chores to finances, and they seem on the verge of breaking up.
It becomes so tiresome that you long for the days when a social-media status was merely a shout out in your AIM profile. Unfortunately, social media has evolved to become a part of our daily lives — which includes sharing too much information about our relationships.
The thing is, genuinely happy couples don’t have to boast about it. In fact, they hardly discuss their relationship on social media. Here are eight reasons why over-posting couples may not be doing as well as they make it seem.
1. They’re convincing others to convince themselves.
When two people constantly post inside jokes, confess their love for each other, or share pictures of themselves doing fun and romantic activities, it’s a ploy to convince everyone else they’re in a happy and healthy relationship, which is really just a way to trick themselves into thinking they’re in a happy and healthy relationship.
Sexologist Nikki Goldstein told Mail Online: “Often it’s the people who post the most who are seeking validation for their relationship from other people on social media.
“The likes and comments can be so validating that when someone is really struggling, that’s where they get their up from — not the person making the gesture, but what other people will say about it.”
2. People who post more often are more likely to be psychopathic and narcissistic.
A survey of 800 men ages 18 to 40 found that “narcissism and psychopathy predicted the number of selfies posted, whereas narcissism and self-objectification predicted editing photographs of oneself posted” on social-media networks.
Another study discovered that posting, tagging, and commenting on Facebook is often associated with narcissism in both men and women.
In short, the more often you post or engage on social media, the more likely you are to be either narcissistic or, even worse, psychopathic. And in case you’re wondering, “Narcissists are very bad relationship partners,” says professor Brad Bushman of Ohio State University.
3. When you’re happy, you don’t get distracted by social media.
Sure. There will be plenty of times where you’ll share a status or a couple of pictures of you and your significant other. Happy couples, though, are busy enjoying each other’s company in the present. This means that they’re not going to stop enjoying each other’s company just to post a status or snap a selfie.
That’s why you’ll see this couple post a collage of their recent trip after they get home. They were too preoccupied with having fun to keep posting pictures.
4. Couples who post a lot tend to be insecure.
After surveying more than 100 couples, researchers from Northwestern University found those who posted more frequently on social media about their partner actually feel insecure in their relationship.
5. Couples are better off when they keep arguments offline.
Have you ever been in the presence of couple that’s fighting? It’s awkward, to say the least. Now imagine that fight playing out for the whole world to see on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube?
Instead of filming and uploading an anger and profanity-filled video, for example, the argument should be discussed in private between the couple. There’s no need to air your dirty laundry to all of your friends, family, co-workers, or even clients.
6. Those who post more often on social media rely on their relationship for happiness.
Researchers from Albright College call this Relationship Contingent Self-Esteem (RCSE). RCSE is described as “an unhealthy form of self-esteem that depends on how well your relationship is going.” These people use social media to brag about their relationship, make others jealous, or even spy on their partner.
“These results suggest that those high in RCSE feel a need to show others, their partners and perhaps themselves that their relationship is ‘OK’ and, thus, they are OK,” said Albright assistant professor of psychology Gwendolyn Seidman, PhD.
7. They don’t have anything to prove.
Couples that are genuinely happy do not need validation from social media to prove how happy they are. They don’t need to show-off, make anyone else jealous, or keep tabs on their significant other. They’re so secure and content in the relationship that there’s no need to gush about it.
8. People who stay off Facebook are happier.
Denmark’s Happiness Research Institute wanted to know what would happen if people quit Facebook for a week. So, they conducted an experiment that involved 1,095 people.
“After one week without Facebook, the treatment group reported a significantly higher level of life satisfaction,” stated the researchers.
Prior to the experiment, the volunteers were asked to rate their lives on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the happiest. The “no Facebook” group increased from an average of 7.75/10 to 8.12/10, while the group that kept using Facebook actually decreased from 7.67/10 to 7.56/10.
The researchers also found that frequent Facebook users were more likely to feel angry (20 percent versus 12 percent), depressed (33 percent versus 22 percent) and worried (54 percent versus 41 percent).
9. Happy couples don’t need your likes and comments. Seriously, they don’t.
In reality, it doesn’t really matter what all the research says. It matters what you think and feel. However, the comments and findings from professionals may be something to at least take a look at. And if you feel you, a partner or friend has a “social media” issue, you may want to take a much closer look.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.