Social media and your relationship

Are you having relationship problems due to Facebook or Instagram? Or any other social media platform for that matter?

Perhaps you’ve seen some posts or status updates that make you suspicious of what your partner’s up to. Maybe you’re fed up with competing for your partner’s attention against Facebook’s news feed, chat or gaming on Twitch, or the latest on Instagram. Or maybe you’re the one who can’t stop checking your updates. Whatever’s happened, my guess is that you’ve landed here because you’re feeling angry, hurt, rejected, confused, embarrassed or disappointed right now. 

Relationship problems caused by the use of Facebook, Twitch or Instagram often reflect relationship issues in ‘real’ life. Therefore, as you read this article, keep in mind that those Facebook problems you’re experiencing might be telling you more about the health of your relationship in general than you first realised.

Facing and fixing these problems can give your relationship a whole new lease of life. It’ll lift that cloud that’s possibly been hanging over your head.  

Let’s focus on FB for now though and let’s take a look at what might be happening for you…

Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and other social media platforms, which can be the cause of relationship problems
Many people’s attention now also goes to gaming, where they can also easily develop a relationship with someone else.

Common relationship problems caused by various social media platforms

Social media may, or may not, play a big part in your life. But whatever your situation, I guess you’re probably here because something recently happened on, for example, Facebook that really upset you.

That could include any of the following:

  • Naively posted content that wasn’t designed to hurt you, but that you perceived to be hurtful;
  • Content posted with genuine ill-intent, totally meant to upset/embarrass you;
  • Seeing your partner tagged in a photo with people from his/her past (particularly an ex), and/or with someone they’ve started to get perhaps a little too friendly with recently;
  • A sudden change in relationship status to: single (that will really be a shock if you didn’t know the relationship was over!). Or…
  • Your new partner refuses to change their status to ‘in a relationship’ after you’ve started seeing each other;
  • Threats, bullying or manipulation – coming from ‘outside’ towards either one of you, or between the two of you;
  • Facebook or Twitch (gaming) addiction – it feels like your partner is way more interested in what’s happening online than in your actual relationship. Or, you could be the one who’s addicted to gaming or another social media activity. Whoever is addicted, the satisfaction of receiving messages, posting updates, chatting with someone “who understands them” and counting up ‘likes’ and comments becomes intoxicating. Everything else and everybody else disappears in a fog.

Is your fear of rejection getting in the way?

You know what it’s like: everyone’s ten times more successful, beautiful, loved-up and super happy on social media than they are in real life. Seeing other people’s lives through their carefully edited snapshots and the things they want people to know can really fuel your insecurity.

But also, messages and photos on Facebook can be read and interpreted by different people in different ways. So, the kinds of comments that hurt you are perhaps shrugged off by your friends.

In any case, there’s huge potential for your suspicions and insecurities to be fuelled – particularly if you’re already feeling a bit fragile. Low self-esteem and lack of confidence can only worsen. If you see a photo or a status update that you weren’t expecting, your reaction will be coloured by your mood at that time.

Have a look at this video of two people expressing their insecurities through their messages to each other.

Could-have-been love story

You can see here that what’s actually posted is very different than what these individuals are really thinking and feeling.

Do you think that could be the cause of your relationship problems? If so, I urge you to – ideally – stop using Facebook and get some good relationship advice.

Have you found something that’s devastated you?

There are many ways that Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms can reveal things you perhaps hadn’t known about your partner (and/or your relationship) that can be upsetting or even shocking.

Let’s take a look at a few specific examples of Facebook problems that might mean more (or less!) than first meets the eye…

Have you found a photo that’s upset you?

Posting and tagging photos on social networking sites cause all kinds of problems. I can understand that you feel really upset if your partner appears to have done any of the following:

  • posted an intimate photo with someone you never knew about
  • posted a photo with someone he or she denied knowing
  • posted a photo of him or herself with a former partner
  • has not kept to an agreement to delete a particular photo (often of an ex-partner)
  • re-posted a previously deleted image that you found offensive or upsetting

It’s understandable that you may have been shocked, annoyed or terribly hurt by what you’ve seen. Therefore, this is what you need to do…

  1. Take a little time to calm down before you challenge your partner.
  2. Stay calm when you talk to them.
  3. Aim to discover their motivation.
  4. Give them the chance to explain, just in case it truly was a mistake or an oversight, or they truly had no idea that you’d feel so strongly. As human beings, we’re prone to doing stupid things and overreacting when we’re very emotional. If your partner’s Facebook antics appear to have been deliberately designed to hurt you, perhaps it’s because they’re struggling with ‘stuff’ right now.
  5. Consider any apologies (if needed and given) in the light of the state of your relationship overall. Maybe he or she truly regrets what they’ve done. However, don’t be too easily convinced by any explanations of innocence, (fake) apologies and promises.
  6. Consider carefully what the situation means for the future of your relationship. Don’t just let it go without talking it all out.

There’s one more post we need to consider: if your partner shared a photo of you in a compromising position. It doesn’t matter if the photo was taken with or without your knowledge. Here’s my advice…

  • You’ll want to ask yourself if you really want to be with someone who appears to have no respect for you, doesn’t guard their own and your personal boundaries, and damages your reputation! 
  • You’ll want to consider if perhaps you shouldn’t have been in that situation/position in the first place.

Did you come across a photo of your partner or spouse appearing too close to someone else?

Perhaps you were already suspicious that your partner was cheating on you. Then suddenly you see a photo which makes you even more worried and perhaps even ‘confirms’ your suspicions.

Often these sorts of photos are posted after work-outings, conferences, parties etc. The (tagged) person themselves may be unaware of the photo even having been taken – let alone of it having been uploaded. That is until they log in!

Do you suspect or know that your partner has met someone online, thanks to one of the social media or gaming platforms?

What if, apparently, your partner prefers to chat with someone they’ve met online? Certainly the games that come with chat capabilities and private ‘rooms’ can make it easy for someone to develop an online affair.

I can understand completely if that’s triggering your sense of insecurity! That would be a normal reaction under the circumstances. And you have every reason to be concerned about your partner’s activities. It’s very possible that your partner is developing an emotional affair with that person.

In any case, online (multi-user) games are very addictive indeed. If your partner is a player, the game itself may become the third person in the relationship.

If you feel any of this applies to you, then it’s time to fight back! Get my Loving Communication Kit for Couples. It is packed with expert action-oriented, solution-focussed, relationship tools to help you create a really intimate relationship.

I would also recommend that you get some help from an expert. To get the support you need, do connect with a professional, online counsellor (click on the link for further information).

Have you discovered hurtful comments on social media?

Perhaps you’re shocked to find what your partner (or someone else you thought you could trust) has been saying when they thought you weren’t ‘looking’.  

This has a particularly devastating effect if the comments are at odds with the person you thought he or she was. I can understand you may feel a sense of ‘loss’ and wonder what to do.

In a way, you have lost the person you once knew. Unfortunately, that means your issue now is not just a problem on your Facebook page. This one will take some time to work out.

Ask yourself…

  • Can you live with the revelation that they’re not exactly who you thought they were? Or…
  • Have they crossed a line and is this a deal-breaker?
Image quote: 'What people say about you is a reflection of them, not you.' Timber Hawkeye

5 Problems associated with a social media relationship status

  1. Has the status of the person you thought was your partner changed to ‘single’?
    I think you know that means trouble… particularly if you were unaware that your relationship had come to an end! That public statement about the relationship status on a profile is an indication that the two of you may no longer be a couple. Take a look at my page: Can you make your partner fall in love with you again for information on what you can do.
  2. Could your partner be using Facebook as a dating site?
    People sometimes become friends to become part of someone’s life – almost by stealth. The change in relationship status to ‘single’ can be seen as an open invitation. This needs an open and honest conversation between the two of you. It also needs you to consider what’s at the bottom of this. If indeed your partner is cheating on you, do hop over to my article on how to survive infidelity.
  3. Was it your partner’s intention to deliberately hurt you?
    You may want to ask yourself if this really what you expect from someone who’s proclaimed their love for you. I’d like you to take a look at my article: Signs of an abusive relationship to discover if there are any other behaviours that fit a pattern.
  4. Does your partner not want to change their status to ‘in a relationship’ (or at least, so you think)?
    If you’ve only just got together with someone, then don’t be surprised. He or she may just not be ready – or be as committed – as you (yet). The question is – why are you so desperate for them to change their status? Are you too focused on them, and not enough on your own goals, interest and commitments? Are you dependent on having a relationship for your sense of security? Take a look at my articles: Are you bored? and How to build your self-esteem.
  5. Did that person you only recently started dating change their status from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship’?
    You’ll want to question that and be very protective of your boundaries! State clearly what the relationship means to you right now, and how you can see it developing in the future (or not).
  6. Did your ex change their status from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship’ within a very short space of time?
    This can be very painful if you still love them. It may be more than painful if it confirms your suspicions that they were having an affair. It may be very important to find out, particularly if you have children!

All too often, status updates of all kinds feed into a sense of insecurity…

Deep down, are you suffering from lack of confidence? Do you tend to feel insecure?

When you feel there’s something wrong in your relationship do you tend to become clingy or needy? Do you worry you might lose your partner at any time?

If so, deep down you may be suffering from a fear of rejection. Perhaps you’ve experienced traumatic endings early in your life. Maybe you feel you’ve been ‘dumped’ by a previous partner. Those kinds of experiences create a template in your mind. Your brain then scans the environment for ‘alike’ experiences, so as to prepare and protect you. When it discovers one, it sets off all the alarm bells. When you’re already feeling insecure you’re highly sensitive and susceptible to quickly feeling abandoned.

Then that Facebook or Instagram photo or status update of your partner and their ex, for example, crops up. Your brain will ‘pattern-match’ it with that existing template. No wonder, then, that you immediately think your whole relationship’s crashing down around your ears. Rather than waiting and checking it out, in your emotional state you may have already decided that it’s ‘all over’.

You could, of course, be right to be suspicious, but you could be overreacting too. Either way, you’d feel so much better if you could heal that fear of rejection. It would benefit your relationship too.

I recommend you get a couple of hypnosis downloads. Do take a look at my article: Hypnosis FAQ for the solution to your fear of rejection and your lack of confidence (AND possible social media addiction?). Self-hypnosis with the aid of a download is affordable, effective and ever so user-friendly.

When you’re feeling stronger and more self-confident, you’ll be much happier for it. You’ll also be in a much better place to tackle any problems between the two of you head-on.

In a calmer state, you’re more able to put a little distance between yourself and whatever’s happened. You’ll be better able to work out if you were overreacting. If so, you can leave it behind you and move on. Or, if you’re right to feel hurt or upset, you’ll be in a better position to talk to your partner about what’s going on.

Your concern, however, is definitely justified if your partner has been deliberately malicious or devious in the way they’ve been conducting their online life. You may then also want to read my advice on what to do if your partner has changed for the worst.

Or, if you’re you’ve been thinking: “I don’t know if I love him or her anymore” once too often, you need to consider what your next step should be.

A problem caused by social media is like any other. It just needs you to communicate, make a decision, act on it, and then let it go.

What does all of this say about your relationship?

You can perhaps see now that what appears to be ‘just’ a social media problem is actually a reflection of you personally and your relationship in general.

Give yourself a few days at least to calm down. Then consider how you’re going to challenge your partner. As human beings, we have much more clarity of thought when we are calm. So, here’s my advice:

  • don’t jump to conclusions
  • don’t start a row
  • don’t plot revenge
  • don’t start a very undignified and public ‘tit for tat’ campaign online
  • don’t tell everyone you’re going to end the relationship, because when everything’s calmed down, you may not want to end it at all

There’s much you can do about rescuing your relationship – even if you can’t persuade your partner that it needs some work! You didn’t start this relationship or get married with a view to just giving up, I’m sure. I’d, therefore, suggest you get some couples counselling if you need some help.

Don’t have much in common anymore?

If you’re at all unsure if you want to stay in this relationship, I recommend you take my Relationship Test.  

It will help to reveal any underlying problems that may be undermining your relationship. It’ll also help you decide whether or not the two of you are (still) compatible.

By taking the test, you may also discover that your relationship still has great potential – with a little bit of work!

Just in case… are you perhaps guilty of any of these social media ’crimes’?

If you know you’ve deliberately posted photos or comments designed to provoke a (negative) reaction from your partner, it’s time to stop and take stock. Ask yourself what you’re hoping to achieve – and why. 

Are you unhappy in your relationship? Are you using Facebook to try and punish your partner for some real or perceived wrongdoing? Are you trying to get your partner’s attention?

Whatever your reasons, if you’ve been causing problems for your partner, that should ring alarm bells for you. It means there’s something going on that you’re not happy about… and I hope you’ll trust me when I say that nothing will get resolved on – or via – Facebook!

One last thought…

Could either one of your account have been hacked?

Search engines receive hundreds of queries from people wanting to hack into someone’s Facebook account on a daily basis!  

Are you sure that what’s been posted is truly the work of your partner? Could some other issue be the cause of your social media problem? Even this site has had visitors who landed here after querying how they could cause trouble on Facebook!

Why would anyone want to hack into someone else’s account?

Anyone considering this move is likely to be…

  • Angry and looking for revenge
  • Jealous of you
  • Obsessed with you
  • Suspicious, suspecting you’re cheating
  • Just plain devious

So, if your particular Facebook problem seems way out of character for your partner, try even harder not to jump to conclusions. Talk to him/her, and allow them the benefit of the doubt. If they have been hacked, there’s no need for you to rush in all guns blazing – they may even be totally unaware of what you’ve seen!


As you can see, there are lots of ways Facebook, Instagram and other social media with their social interactions can cause real damage. The question is, are the issues you’re experiencing perhaps reflecting deeper feelings of discontent from either one of you? 

Is your partner trying to tell you they’re not happy in the relationship (but they’re reluctant to come right out and say it)? Or are you no longer happy in the relationship so you’re losing yourself online where you don’t have to face up to reality?

Whatever it is, it’s time to tackle those problems you may have been avoiding for some time. Hop over to my article on how to fix a relationship, after reading about the signs your relationship is over.

And remember – all is rarely as it seems through the distorted lens of social media!

Background photo: silhouette of woman's face. Text: Need advice? Get help. Chat with a licensed therapist now.
Your problem is never too big, too small or too embarrassing to get personal advice from a professional counsellor!