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Social Media and Insecurity in Relationships

Speculations regarding social media’s psychological impact are prevalent. Such psychological effects may pertain to happiness or self-esteem.

And in regards to romantic relationships, social networking sites such asFacebook and Twitter also may increase feelings of insecurity.

Perhaps insecurities are deeply rooted. They may stem from past baggage (I’m certainly familiar with that concept). Maybe they’re from a lack of trust in the current relationship.

However, social media activity might further propel emotional turmoil. It may poke and prod at what’s already beneath the surface.

Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK, noted in a 2012 article that for those already prone to anxiety, “it seems that the pressures from technology act as a tipping point, making people feel more insecure and more overwhelmed.”

In an article in the University Daily Kansan, Anissa Fritz discusses the correlation between social media and jealousy in relationships for college-aged couples.

“Social media is now a breeding ground for distrust in relationships,” she noted.

“If your significant other has hundreds of Twitter followers, and many of them are opposite sex, getting jealous over something as trivial as having a social media account is not so far-fetched. So much weight is placed on favorites, retweets, likes and comments. For some people, a mere favorite on a tweet has the power to be interpreted as flirting. That can lead to a number of worrisome thoughts by one partner and cause unnecessary strain on a relationship.”

A Psychology Today article explains how in this digital age, closure from past relationships is difficult to come by. When an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend lingers electronically, on your newsfeed or in online photos, a new partner can become insecure. A “soft breakup” occurs since social media is prominent for many.

“The soft breakup gives us a new way of saying, ‘I don’t want to date you, but let’s try to be friends,’” clinical psychologist Galena Rhoades said.

Social media can spawn reconnections with an ex and create opportunities for contact — possibly fueling anxiety for the new partner.

“Rhoades hears clients voice fears of being left for the ex who hovers electronically,” the article stated. “Not every concern is dire, but it’s worrisome enough to feel that ‘your partner may be sharing things that are not shared with you.’”

Is there a resolution to this insecurity?

Open and honest communication within the relationship is always a plus (and a cathartic release). Introspection ultimately can lead to the original source of insecurity.Choosing not to engage in social networking as frequently also is an option.

Social media outlets have the ability to magnify insecure emotions in romantic relationships. Healthy communication, reflection and monitoring online activity are methods to combat emotional unrest.

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Social Media and Insecurity in Relationships

Lauren Suval

Lauren Suval studied print journalism and psychology at Hofstra University, and she is a writer based in New York. Her work has been featured on Thought Catalog, Catapult Community, and other online publications. Lauren's e-book “Coping With Life’s Clutter” and her latest book, “The Art Of Nostalgia,” a collection of personal essays, can both be found on Amazon. She loves to be followed on Twitter @LaurenSuval.


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APA Reference
Suval, L. (2018). Social Media and Insecurity in Relationships. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 21, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/social-media-and-insecurity-in-relationships/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.