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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Shutterstock/Ekaterina Pokrovsky

Please get your sickening displays of affection off my Facebook feed

A plea to over-sharing couples.

THE CAPTION ABOVE the photo of the two beaming girls read, “Me and the love of my life at Panti Bar xoxo”. My initial impulse was to type “cringe” beneath. Instead, I gave it an obligatory like, attributing the gushy status to the first flush of romance.

Much to my dismay, however, that couple still occupies my Facebook feed on a daily basis, sharing minute details of their relationship and mushy feelings for one another – #nofilter.

Last weekend, for example, they uploaded (via four different angles) photos of their two-month anniversary gifts, which included flowers, jewellery and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Now an active member of Slimming World, I found the sight of the cookie dough tub almost too much to bear.

More recently they shared an image of a menu that they were perusing during their date night, before uploading a second picture showing them locked in an embrace that would rival the intensity of that Titanic goodbye scene between Rose and Jack.

Not bitter

Now, before anyone asks (or rather, comments): yes, I am single but, no, I’m not bitter.

Over-the-top sharing by couples on social media bothered me just as much when I myself was coupled up. So much so, in fact, that I made a conscious decision to go against the status quo and not update my relationship status on Facebook.

And my reason for bucking the trend? In my view, when you share what are supposed to be private, special moments with a partner – an anniversary dinner or the beginning of a new relationship – with every follower or friend on social media, it serves only to dilute the intimacy of personal milestones.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that a person’s partner be completely absent from their social media accounts.

By its very nature, the likes of Facebook and Twitter serve as platforms through which to document our everyday lives. If you are in a relationship, then, your other half is naturally bound to feature on your personal profile.

But when relationship posts become excessive and detailed to the extreme, a couple can justifiably be accused of commandeering their private moments for the sake of a few likes and shares.

Culture of oversharing

This culture of oversharing extends to the litany of public marriage proposals that have become viral sensations in recent weeks.

The most recent involved Kodaline’s bassist Jay Boland, who, in front of 80,000 people at Ed Sheeran’s Croke Park gig, got down on bended knee and asked for his long-term girlfriend’s hand in marriage.

I rolled my eyes when I heard. Since the release of Thinking Out Loud, Sheeran gigs have been the venue for many a number of marriage proposals and weddings. It wasn’t exactly an original idea.

While Jay may have gotten the answer he wanted, I can’t help but wonder whether his partner, given the option, would have opted for such a showy and public proposal.

And was the moment really something that night’s paying audience really wanted to watch mid-concert? I know I wouldn’t have been impressed if I was there.

Possible insecurity

So why do some couples feel the overwhelming urge to share the big and small events of their relationship with others?

According to recent research from Albright College in the US, the self-esteem of couples who engage in such behavior is very often intertwined with their relationships.

Couples who use social media to brag about their relationship, the study’s author said, “feel the need to show others, their partners and perhaps themselves that their relationship is OK, and thus that they are OK”.

Another study published last year in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin indicates that insecurity is the main factor driving such oversharing.

Those who amped up their “relationship visibility” were often unsure about the depth of their partner’s affection, according to its findings.

The study found that on days when one partner was feeling romantically insecure, he or she shared more statuses, photos or posts with or about the other partner.

And it makes sense. After all, if two people are genuinely enjoying one another’s company, wouldn’t social media be the furthest thing from their minds?

Negative perception

So when you choose to interrupt those so-called private moments with your partner in order to share them on social media, not only are you annoying the hell out of your friends, but you could also be giving the message that you are not in fact in a healthy, loving and stable relationship.

With this in mind, the next time you get the urge to post a love heart emoji to the Facebook wall of your other half, picture Tom Cruise dancing manically on Oprah’s coach, proclaiming his undying love for Katie Holmes, and ask yourself: is this really how you want to come across?

Christine Allen is 27 and has just completed a three-year IT course at DCU. Her writing has been published by Gay Community News and DIVA magazine.  You can follow her on Twitter here

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