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Social Media Relationships: Legit or Smoke and Mirrors?

by Joseph Leveston

Greetings and salutations, family.  Today, I'm coming to you talking about relationships.  We see them glamorized every day on social media and leave a lot of us secretly wanting these perfect unions.   Regardless of sexual preference, our social media feeds are almost inundated with #CouplesGoals posts which show date nights, vacations, the ever so popular " Bae caught me slipping" posts and the classic "#GoodHusband/Wifey" pics.  We secretly follow these people, ever so gracefully interspersing our own lives with theirs and living vicariously through them but just how happy are they once everything is uploaded and they're left unto themselves?  Even outside of the realm of social media, how happy is anyone in relationships? I'm in no way attempting to assume that every relationship on social media is a lie because there some genuinely happy people out there but let's face it: we all know at least one couple that creates a facade for social media but, when behind closed doors can't stand each other.  Even I know some couples, some of which are rather popular on Instagram because of the love in which they display, but are close to ending their relationship but no one would ever know. 

In a rather roundabout way, I'm forming the question of why it's even worth to continue to perpetuate such toxicity within a relationship when it's clear that said union isn't emotionally beneficial for either party?  Is the high of immediate satisfaction, hundreds, if not thousands of likes and comments so euphorically addicting to where people are willing to sacrifice their own personal happiness?  I never understood such this concept until I found myself in such a situation.  I was in a relationship with someone some years back and I was over the moon about them.  In the beginning, the posts were genuine.  I was posting the date nights, the dinner plates, the wine glasses, the candid car ride videos, etc. and it was Heaven for a while.  My social media was on fire.  My inbox was filled with messages from people saying that I and my partner gave them hope and kept them holding on in the hopes of finding such a love. Then, as with what happens with a lot of relationships, things began to deteriorate because of various problems yet we were still posting as if everything were okay.  While living together and it was just us, sometimes the tension was butter thick.  We'd make snide comments here are there but if we were out, without anyone even having to say anything, I'd snap pictures and take videos of us because the facade had to be upheld.  In retrospect, it was almost eery how unconscious the action seemed to be.

Once we broke up, we'd still post together here and there but ultimately decided that what we were doing was not only a lie, it was legitimately crazy as well.  I then had to take on the arduous task of removing the media of us from platforms in which I posted us but ever so quietly.  I didn't want to have to explain right away what happened within my personal #CouplesGoals but it inevitably happened and as I recounted the story (more than a few times which, after the third or fourth gets to be extremely annoying),  I realized just how insane my actions were.  I had created some sort of an alternate relationship universe where the happiness of those watching me trumped my own. I was trapped in a fallacious reality where the life I was posting was actually better than the one I actually lived. If you think sugar grits are crazy, try living what I just described and see which is worse.  

Am I anti-relationships? Absolutely not.  I think that a healthy (emphasis on healthy) relationship is absolutely wonderful and has a plethora of benefits for both parties involved.  However, the next time you start putting yourself down because the couple(s) that you follow are all over each other, feeding each other cupcakes and debating if spaghetti sauce is better with or without sugar (btw, WITHOUT), just remember that social media can be the ultimate illusionist.  It will legitimately have you believing that something is wrong with you because you don't have a partnership like the ones you're witnessing or that you're less than because you're single.  Keep in mind that most things aren't what they seem and that if something is too good to be true, it probably is.  Also keep in mind that some of the healthiest relationships you'll ever witness aren't for the social trifecta (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) which is more than likely why they'll go the distance but that's just my opinion.  Y'all stay moisturized...