Should You Post Relationship Pictures On Instagram? I Don't Want To & Here's Why
As your resident Duchess of Drama, I've baited you in with an incredibly melodramatic statement. Somewhat bashfully, I admit that I'm actually very serious about this: Should you post relationship pictures on Instagram? Before you @ me for my radical take, let me have this. It's 2018, almost everyone has social media, and everyone can be the star of their own little show. When something gets shared with the "public" — whether that's a public of 600 or "145K" followers — it becomes "public" knowledge. Remember that aunt who asked you about the cute "hot dog-shaped straws" you were drinking out of at that bachelorette in Nashville?
If you broadcast your relationship on Instagram, people will notice, the same way we all notice when celebrities post photos with their partners. No one wants to admit this very real truth, but social media makes us all feel a little bit like we are celebrities. I fully have the celebrity complex. I get bummed out when I don't get enough celebratory little red hearts on Instagram. I only have 830 followers, but I pump out Insta Stories on the reg. Before long, I'll be posting the meals I cooked from Chrissy Teigen's Blue Apron as though it sponsored me... when it most definitely doesn't.
Like many celebrities who often wait to uncloak their relationships on social media (looking at you, Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson), I find it precarious to share my personal life online, even with my tiny circle. I know I sound like a big fat hypocrite because I write about dating online and I cohost a dating podcast called "51 First Dates." But when it comes to the real deal — when feelings are caught and titles are discussed — I have a harder time making the decision to share my personal life on Instagram.
What if it all implodes? Or what if it all goes well, but we still break up in a year and suddenly everyone knows? Does posting with someone jinx everything and ruin lives?!
I know that this opinion is my own, and not most peoples'. I also know that I have a crippling fear of commitment and abandonment, and so I am more wary of diving into a relationship all the way than most. (This message is brought to you by Therapy.) I have friends who tag the pants off of their new relationships. I have friends who aren't worried about getting in a fight the day after a romantic post. I also have friends who post more if they are in a fight with their SO.
But I'm starting to feel like I won't be ready to make anything Instafficial until I get married because I'm afraid of what people will think if it doesn't work out. To process that fear, I decided to speak to women about their experiences with relationships and Instagram, and whether they, too, were as scared of posting with a partner as I am.
This woman reminds me that I'm not alone in my spiral of fear.
"I haven’t had a relationship long enough to be posting pictures, but in the event I get into one I’m totally keeping it to myself so in the event of a break up I’m not having the extra pressure of do I keep the pics posted and be judged for still being into him? Or do you delete them and hurt feelings? I’m not in it for a double tap and a red heart and won’t let the number of likes determine how satisfied I am in my relationship."
— Claire, 25
This woman followed the three-month rule.
"I posted a picture of my BF — we met on Tinder — for the first time three months after we started seeing each other. We weren’t official yet and I felt a little uneasy at the time. It’s hard to tell when it’s right to share a guy with the world."
— Jess, 26
This woman (rightly?) prefers to use Instagram Stories.
"The way that celebrities drop hints about their relationships and 'debut' their relationships on social media has definitely had an impact on the way I used social media when I was single and dating. Partly because of what I had seen from celebs, and partly because I wanted to show off the relationship, I often posted Stories that featured little clues that I was dating someone. Ultimately, we broke up before we were ever Instagram official, so I never had to go through my feed and delete any relationship pics. That's kind of the beauty of posting photos to your Story — you know they're going to disappear in 24 hours anyway, so they don't put any real, lasting pressure on your relationship."
— Sara, 25
This woman likes to keep her relationship private.
"It feels too private. While I’d happily share, say, a selfie at the gyno, my relationship has its own world and I don’t think social media could do it justice. That is to say, I know social media is all about highlights in life, but it doesn’t seem fair to just post the good in our relationship when it’s full of all the things life brings. [It's] too much sharing for me."
— Emily, 29
This woman keeps her post to a minimum.
"I typically won’t post anything for about three months and even when I do, I don’t post a ton of stuff, because I don’t want people to notice if things change. I hate to delete stuff, because I feel like it’s deleting the good memories."
This woman uses Instagram to her advantage.
"How petty am I being? If I had a recent ex that I wanted to one-up post-breakup, I might tag the new guy in a pic he's not actually in, but was with me for, like a beach shot — call me Petty LaBelle. Otherwise, it's typically been after we've had the old commitment conversation that he makes his first appearance on IG."
— Anne, 30
This woman is wary about getting tagged on Instagram too soon.
"I went on a first date with a guy and later that night I was scrolling Instagram and saw a picture of me playing pool that I didn't even know he took posted on his page. It was so strange. So don't do that."
— Brittany, 25
This woman keeps it casual.
"With any guys I’ve been dating recently, we kind of make the whole social media thing a joke. Like, after three dates, oh, should I follow you on IG yet? Humor is definitely my default, so joking about it and being self aware of the fake lives portrayed on social media takes off a lot of pressure for me. That said, [when] my last LTR ended, I deleted most pics we had together [because] it helped me get over him and [because] it let people know I was single without having to 'announce' it."
— Genevieve, 25
This woman only shows off her relationships on Facebook.
"Haven’t been in a relationship in three years but when I was, I posted pics on FB. I wouldn’t post any unless I was in an official relationship and I don't know if I still would nowadays. And once the relationship is over, I would erase ALL pictures of us from my account."
— Kara, 31.
This woman's fiancé doesn't even have Instagram.
"[My fiancé] doesn’t have Instagram and I have a love hate relationship with it. I kind of love that he doesn’t see most of my posts. I'm hyper aware of not being cheesy on social media about my relationship. I try to keep the captions really short and usually not serious. That’s kinda who we are anyway."
— Jules, 30
At the end of the day, we're all comfortable with different amounts of our relationship being displayed on the internet, and that's totally fine. I did feel better about how many women shared some of the same fears I did — and the tales of deleting 'Grams made me entirely sure I won't be posting anything with anyone too soon. Maybe before a wedding day, though.
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