Instagram poses some unique challenges when you’re in a relationship. How many #couplegoals posts is too many before your followers get fed up? Should you delete pics of your ex or unfollow them? Is it bad to creep on bae’s activity via the news tab? And of course, how long should you date before Instagramming your partner? That last question is one that plagues many new couples. You don’t want to seem too overly eager to post a pic together and make your boo uncomfortable — but at the same time, you’re proud to be with them and darn it, you want to show it.
A 2014 Pew Research Center survey revealed that 45 percent of millennials believe their social media accounts have had a “major impact” on their relationships. And is it any surprise? Considering how much time we spend scrolling through our feeds and carefully crafting the perfect caption, it makes sense that these channels would start to play a role in our dating lives.
There’s obviously no exact formula for figuring out the right timing for that first post — that will depend on the nature of your relationship (and you and your partner’s comfort levels on social media). However, according to online dating expert Julie Spira, about six weeks to two months after you’ve decided you’re exclusively dating is a good general rule of thumb.
It’s never too late to Instagram you and bae, so there’s no harm in waiting a few months or so. By then, the people in your inner circle will likely know you’re a couple, anyway. On the other hand, Spira says it is possible to post a pic too soon. For example, if you or your SO went through a breakup very recently with little time in between, you may want to play it safe and wait a little longer.
“If you’ve just ended a relationship and started another without skipping a beat, it can be confusing to others,” she explains. “When a relationship is brand new, it might not stick, so posting and then deleting isn’t worth the embarrassment. Plus, you don’t want to hurt your recent ex by sharing your happy photos with new squeeze if you know they haven’t moved on.”
Also, Spira advises thinking twice about uploading that photo of you two if you haven’t had “the talk” about exclusivity. To some, Instagramming as a couple is a move that makes things seem serious, so if you have a casual understanding, hastily posting that pic may lead to some awkwardness.
“If your new crush is dating others, it’s a good idea to wait until you define the relationship and agree to be on the same digital page,” she explains.
Still not sure if it’s the right time to brag about your boo on the 'Gram? The only way to find out if it’s cool with your SO is to have a convo about it. “The best thing to do is to ask your partner how they feel about posting couples shots on Instagram, and if both of you feel ready, then go ahead and tag away,” says Spira.
Ultimately, she says to trust your instincts on this one.
“If you think it’s too soon, it probably is,” she adds.
Asking your partner whether they’re comfortable with you Instagramming a pic of you together before posting it can go a long way in terms of avoiding any awkwardness or arguments. Try to be mindful and respectful of your boo’s comfort level — after all, some of us are more active on social media while others choose to remain more private. There’s no right or wrong in terms of the ideal time to post that first photo as a couple because of course, every relationship is unique. If bae has already enthusiastically shared a pic of you together, then it’s safe to say that you can post away. Otherwise, you may choose to play it safe by waiting at least a month and a half or two — and when in doubt, always ask whether they’re down to go public on social media. Then you two can kick back and wait for the heart-eyes emojis and congratulatory words to roll in on the comments.
And remember: There is no definitive correct time to Instagram your new relationship, so do what feels right for both of you!