At least once a month or so, someone on my feed writes a long-winded post about how they’re going to delete social media, listing alternate contacts for those who wish to stay in touch by other means. I’d say about 80% of the time they’re back on the platform they swore off within a couple of weeks. It’s hard to deny the convenience that these platforms offer when it comes to connecting with family and friends, particularly now during a global pandemic.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of benefits to flipping off social media and going without it. Heaps of people report that they sleep better, it reduces feelings of FOMO and reprioritises in-person interactions, among other things. But what about romantic relationships? Can ditching social media enhance how you function together or is its overuse just a symptom of deeper problems?
For Kath, social media was definitely a negative factor in past relationships. “Literally the old following feed on Instagram is what made me suss on the cheating originally,” she told PEDESTRIAN.TV.
“I could see fire emojis he was putting on other girls’ images. Then after the cheating, it became an issue whenever he’d have a big night out and become friends with a girl on Instagram or Facebook. It became suss. I was right to be suss obviously, but yep, social media definitely played a big role in the pressures on the relationship.”
For others like Rachael, social media can simply become an unwanted third party. “Me and partner have been together 9 years now and about 6 months after being together, I distanced myself from social media in the sense that I don’t post anymore, I look but don’t normally engage,” she told PEDESTRIAN.TV.
“Around the 4-year mark, my partner quit social media altogether because I felt like I was in a relationship with him and his phone and it was causing a lot of arguments. He kept a lot of secrets and was overly protective of his phone.”
While she says her partner still misses seeing what’s happening on social media, he’s ultimately much happier without it. “We have grown a stronger trust in each other because of the distance, so it’s worked out well so far,” she said.
It doesn’t always benefit everyone, though. “Early on in a relationship with an ex, she made me delete Facebook and Instagram because she thought I looked at my phone too much,” Mitch told PEDESTRIAN.TV. “In the end, we broke up because she was overly jealous of anything I did that wasn’t spending time with her, so I feel like it made no difference at all.”
In the end, the dynamics of every relationship is different, so there’s never going to be a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s up to every couple to decide what’s best for them.
When you boil it all down, it’s love vs data, and in this weird digital age, the latter usually wins. In fact, the fresh telco Circles.Life recently found in a research survey that 55% of Aussie singles would choose data over a lover, which kinda makes sense given the current climate.
The survey, which was carried out by Dynata with more than 1,000 Australians, also found that choosing to cuddle up with their smartphone over a person increases with age, with 66% of singles between the ages of 45 and 55 preferring mobile data, as opposed to 16-24-year-olds, where the majority (58%) would prefer having a lover. Overall, 31% of Aussies would prefer mobile data over a lover.
If you’re one of those people and find yourself absolutely ploughing through monthly data allowances in quarantine, the company offers a very generous 100GB per month for just $38 on a SIM-only plan. You don’t have stress about coverage either because Circles.Life runs on the Optus network, so you’re pretty well sorted in that department. Plus there are no lock-in contracts which makes it even better.
However you handle social media in your relationship or single life, a little (lot) extra data will always come in handy. Who’s gonna be the one laughing when, um, a pandemic strikes and you rely on the stuff to keep you connected?
You can see more research and plans from Circles.Life here.Image: Grey's Anatomy