Are #RelationshipGoals a true reflection of what partnerships are really like?
If you are on any kind of social media platform then I am sure you have come across the hashtag #RelationshipGoals. Couples use this hashtag to show the world all the ‘lovey dovey’ stuff they do, and to share these moments with those who have been following their relationship from afar.
Yet, I wonder how much good these hashtags actually do?
We see the presence of social media in every aspect of our lives, and it is no different when it comes to personal relationships.
WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
This hashtag has been in existence for almost 2 years now. The first time #RelationshipGoals popped up & I started noticing it was in 2015, and it was EVERYWHERE.
Nowadays, you do not see as much of it as you did before, simply because people realized that it created false & unrealistic representations of what it’s really like to be in a relationship.
What a relationship appears to be online and what it is actually like in real life doesn’t always match up. We see this in our everyday lives, as people seem to be madly in love with each another one day and then break-up the next.
We saw this in MTV Shuga: Down South too, where Bongi and Coalstove’s relationship seemed to be stronger than ever, as she declared that ‘#LoveLivesHere’ in episode 8, yet by episode 9 things had taken a turn for the worse.
The issue with such hashtags is not that they exist, but the pressure they put on others. If you are seeing a hashtag as a reflection of what relationships are really like, then it can create an unrealistic idea of what a partnership ‘should’ be like.
For better or worse though, this hashtag seems to be finding its way out of our social media lives…
ON ITS WAY OUT
I found that there are two reasons why this hashtag has started disappearing from our timelines:
IT INVITED PUBLIC SCRUTINY People felt entitled to make comments or ‘give advice’ on YOUR relationship. Rather than letting you DO YOU, people decided that it was their place to run a commentary on your love life. Did putting our relationships online invite this kind of scrutiny? Or should people have respected our space?
RELATIONSHIPS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE PRIVATE & PERSONAL: When someone posts a picture of their relationship then they are sharing something that is personal to them and their own experiences. However people thought this was a true representation of what a relationship should be like. We forgot that people’s relationships are private and individuals only show what they want you to see. There have been interesting variations of the hashtag with people posting intimate pictures with their partner (hey, each to their own- I do not judge) which began to blur the lines of privacy.
These two reasons are what the majority of folks on social media have said about the hashtag recently, as we all have this awareness around relationships and social media.
A MOMENT IN TIME
We know that #RelationshipGoals is a moment that only exists when the picture is taken, but what happens when the camera is off?
There is more to a relationship than just having the right aesthetics and realizing #RelationshipGoals; relationships require a lot of work, some of which I covered in my article on Sexual Health.
For me, the most interesting thing about the hashtag phenomena is the way in which they impact our everyday lives. The experiences of relationships online and the real world tend to be different, in that social media can further elevate insecurities that may have already existed before.
The pressure to live up to these kind of hashtags becomes a problem when one person is more inclined to go along with such pressures, especially when we are made to believe that this is how relationships should be like.
The internet is crawling with pictures/memes that are bound to make any couple second guess their relationship goals and status. This is especially true if one person is more likely to succumb to the pressure than their partner.
Problems may arise through comparisons with other couples seen on that hashtag
“How come you never want to take selfies with me like A, B & C?”
“Thato always posts pics of her/his partner, how come you never do?”
Such questions come from the fact that we are made to believe that relationships on those tags are the norm, especially when thousands of people are retweeting or sharing a particular couple’s pictures or tweets.
Social media gives us this perception that relationships aren’t hard work when in actual fact they are A LOT of hard work. It is important that a couple has goals and objectives, because as individuals we have our own dreams. Whether it is career, personal or relationship goals, why not have realistic objectives that we can both work towards and not feel pressured by social media?
Do you still believe in this hashtag? I would be interested to hear your thoughts…