Is Social Media 3rd Wheeling Your Relationship?

Eve Sorrentino


February 16, 2022

If your high school health education class is anything like mine, the healthy relationships segment flashes by. The information that is presented, in my opinion, is extremely outdated and doesn’t take into account the newest and most aggressive third wheel: technology. Healthy relationship boundaries are being blurred through our phone screens. Let me tell you about some things that have happened to me or to those around me, and we can discuss why they aren’t healthy and we shouldn’t have to deal with them.

You have their FindMyFriends location. This seems like something so normal to share with those who are close to you, in the name of safety if not for anything else. But when you find yourself stalking your boyfriend/girlfriend at all times of the day, there is a boundary issue there. You shouldn’t need to know where they are 24/7 to feel close to them.

You can see who they are following on Instagram. This crazy phenomenon can happen when you see someone you don’t know on the list of your boyfriend/girlfriend’s “following” list. The simple fact that so much of our lives are public can lead to some raised eyebrows when someone unknown is introduced. As a result, seeing an unknown name can make you jump to conclusions that there is some fishy infidelity occurring, even when this could be far from true.

You expect them to answer right away. And you think something is wrong when they don’t. I know it seems like it, but there is no unwritten rule that says we should be checking our phones every two seconds. I, too would be worried after several hours or a day, but a couple hours is nothing to sweat about. Life happens, and you and your partner should want to live some life away from your screen. When you’re not expected to be constantly connected, you’ll have more to talk about when you are together.

You compare your relationship to other relationships you see on social media. No relationships are perfect, even the ones that go on vacation together and post the cutest photos you’ve ever seen. Similarly, if people think that your relationship is perfect based on the photos you post, but you are unhappy, don’t let them convince you that your relationship is perfect. Relationships should be about feelings, not aesthetics.

Now let’s quickly talk about breakups. For any other country music fans like myself, we can see that Sam Hunt wasn’t far off when he sang “Breaking Up Was Easy in the 90s.” Maybe it wasn’t “easy”.... But a lot easier than having to watch someone you miss seeming to have the time of their lives. Take my advice… it’s not always petty to unfollow! It can be so much better for your own personal journey towards feeling better.

I know a lot of these things seem to be the norm, and might be easier said than done. It’s just my recommendation, as I have seen the littlest technological discrepancies drive couples to fight. We are dating on a playing field like no other these days, let’s try to keep it as fun and healthy as possible.

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With immense gratitude, the Promly Team.

Eve Sorrentino

Eve (she/her/hers) is a junior at Tulane University studying communications, management, and psychology. At home in New Jersey, she spends most of her time with her dogs Molly and Leo, and she also loves spending time baking, painting, or doing other creative projects.