Navigating Your Partner Not Showing You Off On Social Media (& How To Make It NBD)

We are knee-deep in the digital era, and it can sometimes seem like everything worth our attention has moved online. Jobs, friendships, relationships — they're all tied to apps, chat histories, and social media posts. While this can certainly be an easy way to celebrate successes and preserve fond memories for posterity, the constant pressure to display our lives online can also lead to stress.

For instance, some people may want to set social media boundaries in a relationship, while others can end up feeling overlooked if they're never even mentioned in their partner's posts. Not everyone is into social media, and that's obviously fine. In fact, more of us could probably stand to have a social media break now and then. But if your partner is always silent about your relationship on social, it can start to feel like a big deal.

There's nothing wrong with wanting a little public acknowledgment, and these days, social media is the place for any big announcements and updates. So it's natural that you'd like to see yourself represented as a part of your S.O.'s life, and it can feel nerve-wracking when you consistently aren't. But it's not as simple as demanding your partner start posting more. If you're in this situation, here's what you need to know about the intersection of social media and relationships, and how to fairly and productively navigate a partner who doesn't show you off online.

How social media impacts relationships

Having your partner mention you online can feel like a win. Especially if you're still feeling uncertain about your relationship, you may crave the affirmation of being shown off. But a lack of posts could just mean that their focus is on the time you spend together. "Couples who display extreme affection online via social media tend to be more insecure," life coach Grace McMahon tells Stylist. "They are seeking external validation, whereas couples who feel more secure in their relationship are not — they are too busy living 'in the moment' to update their status."

Social media can also become a source of envy and unfair comparison if you see other couples posting adorable content. You hopefully know that comparing yourself to the perfect lives you see on the internet isn't healthy — or even accurate, since everyone tends to idealize their social media presence. But this also holds true for relationships. "You may begin to feel jealous of how much someone posts about their partner and feel resentment toward your partner for not doing the same," sex and behavioral therapist Chamin Ajjan, M.S., LCSW, A-CBT tells MindBodyGreen. "The lifestyles you are scrolling through may change how satisfied you are in your relationship because they seem to be better than what you have."

Social media isn't an honest view into someone's relationship, so there's no need to keep up with the Joneses, romantically speaking. But if you thrive on pride and affection from your partner, it may still feel important for them to celebrate you in their social media presence. Bear in mind, they aren't breaking any relationship rules by restraining themselves, so don't play the victim in this scenario. Instead, approach a conversation about social media with an open mind.

How to handle a partner's online silence

If you're feeling anxious that your partner doesn't post about you online, start by understanding their social media philosophy. Are they an online ghost who eschews social accounts and only posts once a year? If they aren't sharing anything, you shouldn't feel snubbed that they aren't sharing content about you, either. And if they aren't the social media type, it's not fair to ask them to change their ways just to assuage your ego.

If they do have an active social media life that doesn't include you, find out why. Maybe they only share trivial things because they're concerned about online privacy. Or, if your relationship is still in its early days, they may want to get to know you one-on-one before they start complicating matters by going official on social. Of course, some people just aren't preoccupied with PDA, so maybe showing you off genuinely hasn't occurred to them. That doesn't mean they love you any less. Let your partner know that you're feeling insecure and explain why appearing on their social accounts would be meaningful to you. Most partners will happily accommodate your request, or at least explain why they aren't comfortable with it.

If your partner is dead set against sharing pictures or profile updates, try to be understanding and remember that social media isn't the end-all-be-all. Ultimately, the most important thing about your relationship isn't how it looks online, but how it feels when you're together.

One caveat: If your partner refuses to mention you online and won't say why, they may be hiding something. Give them every opportunity to state their case, but be wary and keep an eye out for other suspicious behaviors. You don't want to find out too late that you're their secret sidepiece.