The Dangerous Lie Most Couples Tell On Social Media, According To Research

People online aren't as happy as they portray themselves to be.

Happy and sad woman on the beach StockSnap | pixabay / Kaspars Grinvalds | Canva / aydinmutlu | Getty Images Signature

When the man who broke my heart was officially out of my life, after a long and dramatic goodbye that lasted longer than it should have, I took to Instagram to recover.

We had blocked each other on Facebook and Twitter, but at least with Instagram, I could prove to him that I had moved on and was happy, that is if he was so inclined to look at my account.

My thinking was, that although I was dying inside, I would post photos of just how wonderful my life was without him. I had run off to Paris to recover from the heartbreak, and traveled around Europe for a bit, all the while posting photos of me with a smile on my face as I indulged in pizza in Italy, sangria in Barcelona, and spring in Paris.


This was how I was going to prove to not just him, but to myself, that I was capable of a life that didn’t include him. After a while, I finally convinced myself that I was. I don’t know if he ever snooped around my Instagram, but I want to believe he did.

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Facebook, as well as other forms of social media, have become a place where people either show only the great parts of their lives or complain and moan about how awful everything is in the hopes of getting attention. While it seems like that latter group would be the most annoying, in reality, it's all those "happy," people who really irk us. In fact, a 2014 study shows that those happy people aren't really all that happy after all.

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The study, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, found that when people are dealing with relationship insecurity, they're more likely to post "more relationship-relevant" statuses and photos on Facebook. In addition, people who are just generally anxious also tend to do the same. It's the whole, "smile, though your heart is aching," concept.

Wanting to prove that things are better than they are makes total sense. I've always wondered why people take to Facebook to air their dirty laundry and complain about how their boyfriend just cheated on them, and this has happened more than a few times, they’ve just suffered a miscarriage. I understand that in such situations people want to share their grief, but I’m also of the belief that Facebook is not the platform for such things.


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But painting your life as rosy and perfect, albeit a bit deluded sometimes, seems like a healthy way to go. It's hopeful to look at the sunny side of life, even in your darkest moments.

Just like it was hopeful of me posting photos of myself on a yacht in the Hamptons after my break-up, even if the truth was that I was crying into my glass of champagne when the camera wasn’t on me. As I said, it's deluded, but fake until you make it, never hurt anyone.

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Amanda Chatel is an essayist and intimacy health writer for Yourtango, Shape Magazine, Hello Giggles, Glamour, and Harper's Bazaar.