We all know a couple (or two) who can’t help but overshare every detail of their ‘loving’ relationship on social media – from random romantic displays of affection to heartfelt anniversary speeches for the world to see.
And while it may come across as ‘fake’ or ‘over the top’ for many of us, who believe the oversharing is a actually masking real problems within a relationship, a new research has found that this isn’t always the case.
A study conducted by psychology professor Gwendolyn Seidman and her colleagues at Albright College in the US surveyed 348 Facebook users about how they used the platform within their relationships.
Their results found that the majority did indeed use Facebook to compensate for weaker relationships that aren’t as solid in reality. However, this was only the case when the users shared ‘excessive relationship displays.’ According to the researchers, this is includes posting content on a partner’s wall/comments that you would not feel comfortable saying to them in real life, or sharing something that is potentially embarrassing for a partner or the relationship.
The scientists found that partners who did this were not satisfied with their relationships but did believe that oversharing on social media would help bring them closer, regardless of whether it actually did or not.
Writing in Psychology Today, Professor Seidman explained: ‘Those who are less satisfied may post Facebook content that shows levels of affection that they aren’t displaying in their actual offline relationship.
She continued: ‘These individuals then believe that engaging in these types of posts has helped their relationship. It’s not clear if it actually has this helpful effect on their relationships. It is possible it has no effect or is even harmful.’
Nevertheless, the same study also highlighted that the couples who posted to one another on social media, without falling into the excessive relationships displays bracket, were actually showing signs of a genuinely happy relationship. This included couples who shared general information about the relationship such as profile photos of themselves together and status updates about themselves as a couple.
This means that while excessive oversharing can reflect a weak relationship, sharing general posts here and there is actually a sign of a healthy relationship.