It's been extremely popular on many social media platforms to label an Instagram photo, Vine video or even tweets as #RelationshipGoals. It's common to fantasize about how your first date will be or the moment you get engaged when you're thinking about your future with someone, and often those moments were inspired by what was seen on Pinterest or from a popular romantic comedy.
The concept of #RelationshipGoals has set standards for dates and proposals online that now influence how people make romantic decisions in their personal lives. Has the phenomenon of creating relationship rules online done more damage to dating than people realize?
It seems that if your significant other hasn't done anything meme or Instagram-worthy for you, then your relationship is invalid through popular opinion. There are $200 dates, elaborate proposals, Pandora promises rings or extremely long text messages that express undying love. Then, you can take a picture or screenshot it and post it on Twitter. These are all examples of online #RelationshipGoals.
The way people look to validate relationships due to #RelationshipsGoals seen online influences why people have issues in their relationships. They put importance on how others view their relationship as opposed to what truly matters. How does idealizing photos or videos of unknown couples distort expectations of what a relationship should be?
Relationships are not always as they appear online. It's extremely easy to see one photo of a couple online and think, "Wow, they must have an amazing relationship." Creating the façade of a perfect relationship is easy, but what's most important is the quality of a relationship when no one is looking.
Being fixated on having your relationship look perfect online can often taint organic experiences in a relationship. If your significant other does something that really warms your heart, you don't have to tell him to reenact it for an Instagram photo.
Not everything needs to be a photo opportunity. Yet, people feel if they don't post it online, it never really happened.
The unhealthy obsession of Pinterest boards filled with wedding plans is another example of how #RelationshipGoals taint an organic experience in a relationship. The planning of a wedding should, at least, begin once you've actually met your partner.
Having your dress, invitations, the rings and even the cake picked out before you even meet your partner is a problem. You should never plan a union of two people with only one person's ideas in mind. The wedding plans should reflect the relationship, not a Hollywood cinematic experience.
After having my fair share of ruined relationships in the past and then finally being in a healthy relationship, I've realized one extremely important thing about relationships and social networks. What works for one couple may not work for the next, and that's OK.
For some, $200 dates will work, while for others, froyo and a movie are an equal display of affection. Just because your date idea isn't given admiration online does not mean it wasn't an amazing date. Social networks shouldn't be used to validate any personal dating experience.
It's OK to get ideas or even inspiration from your favorite YouTube or Instagram couple, but never allow the Internet and hundreds of strangers to set rules and limits in your relationship. When you allow the opinions and judgment of others to influence your relationship, that is when issues will arise.
If you are anything like me and use different social network platforms multiple times a day, it is important not to let your Instagram likes and Facebook feeds get in the way of your relationship. Most people think, “If social networks can ruin your relationship, it wasn't strong enough in the first place.”
This comment is valid, but if issues arise in the beginning of a relationship due to the fact that your standards are set by online dating rules and #RelationshipGoals, you're ending your relationship before it even gets a chance to truly start.
At the end of the day, your #RelationshipGoals should come from within your relationship, and they should never be based off of what's trending on Twitter or Facebook. The less of a relationship you see online, the more likely it's a sign of a healthy relationship. Set your own standards and create your own boundaries for what a healthy relationship is to you.