Social media has always been a form of free expression. A space where you share your ideas, your work, your personal information, and more. It is such a good place for people to find work, relationships, and positive social and political change. However, it also has become a vile place where people are bullied, harassed, brings the end of relationships, and more. While we cling to this global place to share and feed off of content, it is important that we also talk about how it has been able to mask unhealthy relationships.
Most of the time, when we see pictures of a couple on social media, we are quick to envy what we see. Single people will flood comments detailing how they cannot wait to find a partner, those in relationships will look for ways to either level up or upstage the couple. In a way, social media has brought about a fantasy disease of what relationships are to be like.
The one thing we do not see is the life of the couple in real life. Many Africans were shocked to hear of Anele Tembe’s death. A fiancee to South Africa’s rapper AKA, who until her death looked happy on social media. On the 11th of April, her body was found on the pavement outside of the hotel that she and AKA were staying. A few days after her funeral, social media was awash with pictures and videos that indicated that their relationship was abusive. Contrary to the pictures that were shared of the couple when she was still alive. Within moments, people learned that not everything they saw of the couple was the reality of their relationship.
social media as a mask for abuse
As the reality of the relationship between the couple struck many, there were divided opinions about the relationship overall. While some condemned the abuse, some became gatekeepers. With a keen eye, I saw people defend the abuse by saying
every relationship is different and each one has their own problems
Indeed, every relationship is different, but abuse is not. Be it physical or emotional, it is all abuse and should not be condemned. We see people post happy couple pictures that some then take as goals, but in reality, some partners are using social media to mask away the abuse in their unhealthy relationships.
social media standards
Another huge problem in this digital era is the high standards set by people on social platforms. This applies to relationships as well, many are swayed by the lives that other couples are living, wanting badly to live that same life, forgetting about the realities in their life. Thus, partners will put pressures on each other on the places to go, the restaurants to eat at, the gifts to be gifted, all of that because they too want to be seen to be living the life that other couples are living.
Not only is this unhealthy, but also shows the lack of knowledge of self for many. Which brings us to some girls hiring shopping bags from designer brands like Chanel or Louis Vuitton while shamelessly lying on social media that they are gifts brought to them by their partners. Not only is this absurd, but goes to show the levels people will reach to show a perfect life on social media platforms.
And what constitutes as the problem? Well, I think because most of us suffer from wanting to be seen as the IT thing. The IT couple, the one with a perfect life, and money to splash whenever. We often want to be seen as perfect and so in love when in reality, we are miserable.
By the way, this is not me saying all couples are like that, but can you even decipher which ones are being real and faking life nowadays? The point is, live your best truth. Be accepting of what you and your life’s partner is like and enjoy it. Social media does not offer a lens in people’s lives, they create a narrative best suited for the algorithm.
Enjoy your relationship, post as you wish with the life you are living, but never be vain enough to be pressured to live a life that social media pushes.