Relationship: How digital jealousy and social media comparisons harm love

Relationship: How digital jealousy and social media comparisons harm love

Most people in a relationship have thought at some point: “Is he looking at his phone again?” or “One of the 200 pictures has to be enough for Instagram.” A study evaluated which digital behavior is particularly damaging to love.

Social media can put a strain on relationships, as a representative study of the population shows, for which 3,340 couples were surveyed. The background to the extensive survey by the dating portal Elite Partner was the fact that social media often causes conflicts in a relationship.

Sometimes the partner presents themselves differently online than in real life, is constantly filming or can’t take their eyes off the screen. Added to this is the idealized portrayal of relationships in social networks. Younger couples in particular, up to 39 years of age, feel under pressure when they compare themselves to others and find their relationship boring. This phenomenon of comparing a relationship is called “comparisonship.”

Almost one in four also suffers from “phubbing”, i.e. digital jealousy, because their partner pays more attention to their smartphone than to them. 32 percent of 30- to 39-year-olds and 22 percent of 40- to 49-year-olds even actively wish that their partner would pay as much attention to them as to their cell phone.

Social media puts couples under pressure, according to the study. 15 percent feel stressed by the perfect pictures of other couples. Younger people in particular – 27 percent under 30 and 26 percent of 30-39 year olds – find their relationship boring when they compare it with others. Ten percent think that social media leads to excessive demands on their own relationship, especially young men under 30 – one in three of them.

Some relationships are strained by social media photo sessions

Constant photo sessions like those for influencers in private life are particularly annoying for men under 40. 25 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 27 percent of 30- to 39-year-olds are bothered by the fact that their partner spends a lot of time on social media photos. One in four men under 30 feels like an involuntary photographer. In addition, 24 percent of men between 30 and 39 feel that their partner presents himself differently on social media than in reality.

Despite conflicts, social media also has positive sides: 38 percent of couples enjoy posting together. 33 percent like being mentioned or linked by their partner, and 28 percent like posting pictures together. Young men in particular, at 46 percent, like to do this. In addition, almost one in five couples find it helpful when negative moments are also shown on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok & Co.

Psychologist Lisa Fischbach emphasizes that “migrating to the digital world” leads to a loss of attention in the relationship and often triggers digital jealousy. The comparison culture in social media promotes insecurities and affects self-image. Younger couples in particular are susceptible to these influences. Couples should set clear boundaries for digital use in their relationship.


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Source: Stern

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