If you didn’t do it for the ‘gram, did you even really do it at all?
by Emily Mary Chin, Carrybeans
These days, the overall validity of your relationship can be easily measured in double taps and retweets. If you’re not #couplegoals, it almost feels like you’re not really a couple at all.
It doesn’t help that we, as human beings, are hardwired to want what we don’t have. When we see people posting about their picture perfect relationships, we start to question why our relationship doesn’t have that same aesthetic value. And just like that, we’ve already convinced ourselves that our relationship is lacking.
As someone who’s been on both ends of that spectrum, let me clarify a few things for you.
There’s no couple more seemingly perfect than the couple that travels together. And there are dozens of articles all over the internet trying to convince you of that too. The general consensus is if a couple can travel together, then they can get through anything together.
It’s somewhat true. Travelling as a couple takes a lot of planning, patience and cooperation on both sides to make it work. All of that can challenge and build the relationship in fantastic ways. But what I’ve found behind the gloss of GoPro adventures and VSCO filters is usually a raw, unfiltered mess that doesn’t ever make it onto the feed.
For example, whenever my ex-boyfriend and I would travel together, I would always make sure that all my social media followers knew about it. They were all right there with us as we explored everything from beaches to waterfalls, art districts to museums, hipster cafés to hipster bars. Our travel feed was so on point that I almost envied myself!
What people didn’t get to witness, however, was just how much fighting went on behind the lenses of our phone cameras. One trip got so bad that we weren’t even touching each other if not for a picture. We were arguing miserably the entire time but online, we weren’t letting any of that seep through. As far as everyone else knew, we were the happiest couple alive.
Now, I’m not saying that social media is what broke us up. What I am saying, though, is that social media is not all what it seems. Social media is nothing more than a highlight reel that portrays everyone’s best moments in the best lighting. You see fragments of our relationship, yes. But you never get to see the sharp edges.
If we were all to believe social media, we’d think that an intensive fitness routine is all that stands in our way of a perfect relationship. So couples that travel together do not necessarily stay together. Understood. But the couple that gets fit together must stay together right? Wrong. The couple that gets fit together posts a lot of pictures in the gym together, but that’s about all it guarantees.
It’s always nice to have a workout buddy. You get part companionship, part motivation. It’s also great to have common interests and goals with your significant other. Like travel, working out together can also aid in relationship building.
However, the couple in question unknowingly ends up putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on themselves. Because they now have to keep up this fitness brand of #couplegoals, much of the vitality of their relationship is drained from constantly trying to outdo themselves. Something that is supposed to be healthy and empowering so easily becomes a desperate chase for attention.
And although there is nothing wrong with prioritising your health, there is a dysfunction when choosing to have your whole relationship wrapped up in something that is shared publicly for everyone to experience with you.
If you’re the type of girl that posts her own boyfriend as her #mcm every week, you are annoying. But you’re not just annoying. You’re also twisting your appreciation for your man into nothing more than aesthetic value. Even more damaging than that, you’re also encouraging everyone else to minimise their significant others’ value to just that as well.
I used to date a guy that always had an appreciation post ready in his back pocket. And he’d always pull it out right smack in the middle of an argument. We’d be having a really bad fight, we wouldn’t be talking to each other. Next thing I know, I’d be tagged in a picture on Instagram with a long caption attached, spouting my virtues as if I were God’s gift to man.
Even worse than that, I’d be getting messages and comments from friends and strangers alike, all telling me how lucky I was to have such a loving boyfriend. They’d tell me how much they wished their own relationships were the same.
The scary part is that, for a very long time, I actually believed them. A lot of the time, it was the only thing keeping us together. It didn’t matter that our lives were going in separate directions. If our followers believed in our #couplegoals love, it must be worth sticking it out right?
So thank you, ex-boyfriend. Thank you for all the public declarations of love. It is always nice to feel appreciated. And for awhile, it actually worked. But appreciation starts to feel a lot less sincere when it’s used as a playing card every time.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing inherently unhealthy about a couple who likes to document their relationship online. But show me a couple whose existence is consistently documented on social media and I’ll show you a couple that doesn’t exist in the real world. Not to say that it isn’t a real relationship. But it isn’t what they have made it out to be on social media. And it definitely is not what we as spectators are longing for in our own relationships.
My point is, #couplegoals are really not all that they’re cracked up to be. Every relationship has its ups and downs and even perfectly posed couples are prone to filters and retakes. When social media gets put into the mix, our relationships become open to public opinion. Suddenly, our priorities are less about the state of the relationship and more about the state of our social media feed. And no matter how toxic the relationship gets, it will last way longer than it should if enough people are labeling it #couplegoals.
Comparison is a nasty thing and we’d do well to steer clear of it. We’ve got enough of our own problems as it is. Let’s not try to inherit anyone else’s, shall we?
Featured Image Credit: Milan Popovic
Who do you consider to be #couplegoals? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
Here‘s how we at Carrybeans choose to set our own relationship goals!