There’s something about the culture of romance lately that I find deeply troubling, and if I am confident in saying that it’s because of social networks and the fact that we are always, and I mean ALWAYS connected. Not only does social media allow us to connect with people from miles away, it allows us to receive affirmation from “likes” from acquaintances who aren’t even relevant in our lives.

Social media paints pictures of what ideal lives look like, with hashtags like #relationshipgoals being rewarded to “instafamous” couples. These couples travel together, workout together, and take oh-so-candid pictures doing outrageously adorable things together. These idealistic images leave us all questioning our current situations, wondering if we should set off in pursuit of a large mug, cute slippers, and a tall, dark, and handsome man bun to settle down with.

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It’s not just the images of “perfect” couples that we are bombarded with that I’m concerned about. The validation we receive from “likes,” views, or number of followers constantly reminds us that there are, in fact, “plenty of fish in the sea.” So, you get in an argument with your significant other? Who cares!? 60 eligible mates liked your picture yesterday so, hey, you’ve got options! How can we be expected to settle into a relationship when our phones are buzzing with Tinder matches, notifications, and messages from other (and perhaps “better”) options? Because it seems we have suitors at our fingertips, we can so easily forget to be grateful for the people in our lives. Instead of spending real time with the one we love, we’ve got our heads down gazing longingly at the lives we don’t have, taking for granted the ones we do.

If you ever think to yourself “I wish they’d take cute pictures with me, or buy me flowers, or surprise me” is it because you genuinely want that? Or is it because you’d like to show the world your successfully adorable relationship as demonstrated by strategically posed photos, filters, hashtags, and (hopefully) “likes.” I mean, did it really even happen if you didn’t inform your social networks?

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This is a scary reality we live in, my friends. We are all walking around feeling like there’s something better just out of our reach: You could be fitter, you could have a cuter apartment (as represented by Pinterest), you could be more fashionable, more worldly, more creative, more of a “foodie,” more talented, and, of course, your relationship could be leaps and bounds better. You could be leading your significant other around the globe, living in a van with nothing but each other, dancing in your kitchen (who even takes those pictures?), and head over heals in love for the whole world to see.

So, what’s the prognosis? Good question. Perhaps to stop idealizing clearly inauthentic representations of happiness. If we lift our heads from our phone screens for a few moments we might just have a chance at authentic happiness. Try this, next time you see something breath taking, or do something adventurous: Just look, keep your phone in your pocket, and be present. We are doomed in love if we accept “likes” in the place of love.


By Britanny Burr

Instagram: @britburr

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