Keeping Your Relationship Issues Off Of Social Media Is Key. Here's Why

There's nothing more cringe-inducing on social media than posting about your relationship issues. Those sad and angry posts might feel cathartic at the moment, but they will only intensify your problems and leave your mutual friends feeling deeply uncomfortable.

While the internet can play a positive role in our social lives, social media platforms are far from the ideal venue for handling your relationship issues. In fact, most experts find that social media is an aggravating factor for relationship problems. Per Pew Research, nearly a quarter of American couples report that their partner's social media activity and interacting with other users makes them feel worse about their relationship. Additionally, a 2020 study published in the Journal of Public Affairs found that couples who struggled with jealousy and infidelity were more likely to have conflicts related to social media use. If your relationship is already fragile, posting about it on social media might be the final straw.

It's passive-aggressive

Posting about your relationship issues online is extremely passive-aggressive. Announcing to the entire world that you have a problem rather than speaking directly to your partner will cause hurt and confusion, and is akin to talking about them like they aren't in the room. By posting publicly instead of reaching out to your significant other, you've initiated a conflict without giving your partner guidance on how they should respond. There's a good chance that your partner will be surprised by the post and unclear about how you're really feeling.

This kind of social media posting is a form of relational hostility. Relational hostility is a passive-aggressive behavior where you intentionally create an uncomfortable environment to make someone feel insecure (via Psychology Today). Rather than privately informing your partner that you're upset, you've turned their social media apps into the Wild West of insults and subtle digs. You and your partner can't resolve issues if your communication style has produced an unsafe space.

Recording all your thoughts is a bad idea

Recording all your thoughts on the internet is a bad idea, especially when you're upset. Think back on all the regrettable things you've said to your partner during a horrible fight. There's no reason why those statements should be made permanent on social media.

Saying nasty things about your partner online can have long-term detrimental effects. Your partner will be hurt, and even if you delete the post after the fight, they'll still have the upsetting memory of seeing your cruel words shared in public. Negative social media posts during an argument can also impact your and your partner's reputations. Friends might wonder whether the unkind things you said about your partner are true, or judge you for being unkind in the first place.

Having a record of your conflict can also make it harder to forgive each other and move on. Resolving big arguments often requires resetting relationship boundaries and reframing your perspective on certain issues. Those types of attitude changes are never easy, but having a constant reminder of your previous mindset will make it even more challenging.

Privacy matters

Discussing your relationship issues on social media is also a huge violation of your partner's privacy. A couple's arguments can be deeply personal and touch on significant insecurities or emotional struggles. Your partner might not want those details announced to everyone who follows you on Instagram. When you argue with your partner, it's best to assume that everything said was shared with the expectation of privacy.

Oversharing is also a troubling sign for one's mental health, especially in young people. Sharing private information on social media has a strong correlation with anxiety and maladaptive coping habits. A 2022 study in Psychological Reports indicates that adolescents who overshare on social media struggle with attention-seeking behaviors and anxiety disorders. With this in mind, oversharing about your relationship issues may exacerbate the existing emotional problems that you and your partner have.

It's also worth noting that posting publicly about private matters can be embarrassing. You might look back at your relationship posts and find them to be tacky or immature, and you'll regret exposing so much of your personal life.

Your friends have bad opinions

This may sound harsh, but most of your friends and acquaintances don't understand the nuances of your personal life. Outside of your dearest loved ones, the majority of the people who follow you on social media can't offer informed opinions about your relationship.

For instance, if you share on social media that you struggle with feelings of jealousy, your followers might assume that your partner has been unfaithful and encourage you to break up with them. In reality, your jealousy issue could be related to an entirely different problem, but now you have all these voices telling you to end the relationship.

Hopefully, you can have the insight to ignore bad advice, but our friends' opinions can have a sizable influence on our romantic relationships. As a 2015 study in the Journal of Family Psychology concluded, criticism from friends has a bigger impact on couples than family disapproval or social stigmatization. For this reason, asking your friends for their opinions isn't necessarily the best way to have a stable partnership.

That's not to say that you shouldn't reach out to a close friend for advice. Depending on the nature of your relationship, you and your partner may both have close friends that you go to for support during a fight. Sharing your problems with your best friend is healthy — announcing your problems to everyone you've met since middle school is reckless.

It disrupts the arguing process

Posting about relationship issues on social media disrupts your and your partner's natural conflict-resolution process. It's a little strange to think about, but most couples have a rhythm and routine for arguing. Knowing how to fight well is an important factor in a healthy relationship (via Gottman Institute). You and your partner might work best when you take time apart to calm down, or when you pause arguments to provide each other with emotional comfort. Some couples may also have special ways of apologizing or reconciling after a fight.

Developing these communication habits creates a safe format for you and your partner to navigate hurt feelings and challenging situations. When you throw social media into the mix, you alter the communication system. Social media posts intrude on those crucial self-soothing moments when you're supposed to be calming down or forming an apology. Your social media post can also re-instigate an earlier stage of your argument, causing circular, unproductive fights. Furthermore, disrupting your resolution process betrays the emotional boundaries you and your partner have set and can trigger new, more intense conflicts.

It's tempting to turn to social media to vent about your relationship struggles, but the real person you should be talking to is your partner. When you and your partner take the time to have private, thoughtful conversations, your relationship will become healthier and happier.