Is Instagram Ruining Your Relationship?

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  • A growing body of evidence suggests that Instagram and other social media platforms might be destroying our romantic relationships.

    How much are you on Instagram every day? Do you think it makes your life better or worse?

    Today we’re going to look at how constantly posting on Instagram, and scrolling through what everyone you know is posting on Instagram, could be negatively affecting your health and wellbeing – and that of your relationships. A 2017 survey of people between the ages of 14 and 24 in the UK found that Instagram was the worst social media platform for an individual’s mental health. Moreso than Twitter, Facebook, or Snapchat, Instagram use was associated with low sleep quality, negative body image, and increased depression and anxiety.

    One of the study’s authors says Instagram encourages users to “compare themselves against unrealistic, largely curated, filtered, and Photoshopped versions of reality.” So, we know what it can do to an individual, but what about your relationship?

    Psychotherapist and author Esther Perel says more and more of her patients feel isolated in relationships as them and their partners spend their time together on Instagram instead of engaging each other, and she says seeing how other people present their relationships on Instagram can make someone second guess their own. Perel also thinks apps like Tinder and Bumble make us less happy, counterintuitively, by giving us too many options.

    Experts have been talking about this kind of thing for a long time.

    Psychologist Barry Schwartz called it The Paradox of Choice. Having so many options in any area of life, whether it’s what brand of cereal to get, what movie to watch on Netflix, or even who to pursue romantically, can be a paralyzing experience, and it makes the perfectionists in us unhappy – because if we have so many options, shouldn’t the choices we make be perfect?

    If all that wasn’t bad enough, new evidence suggests that Instagram might even be destroying our memories. According to the research, “People tend to succumb to online pressures and only present themselves in a positive light on social media and as people look back on their photos, they can go on to construct false “happy” memories of what that photo represents. This then leads to false representations of the self and people create memories to support the pictures they’re looking at.”

    Even worse, the flip side is if something you posted doesn’t get a bunch of likes, a previously happy memory could be distorted in the mind as negative, and if someone else’s relationship looks consistently perfect on Instagram, you’ll be that much more inclined to see the failings in your own.

    What do you guys think? Is Instagram negatively affecting your relationship? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.

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