What It Really Means When Couples Post a Lot on Facebook

March 4th 2016

Taylor Bell

A picture of a trip to the beach; a selfie waiting in line at the grocery store; a morning snap of them in bed — It may look like your married friends are happy when they constantly post pictures of themselves on Facebook but relationship experts say this can be a deceiving practice. It turns out the more couples expose their intimate lives on social media, the more likely they're suffering from problems inside the relationship.

In a video from Business Insider UK, M. Gary Neuman, psychotherapist and author of "The Truth About Cheating," explained that couples who overshared personal information on social media likely felt anxiety about their relationship.

Neuman referenced a 2014 study which found that on a daily basis, the more insecure that people felt about their relationship, the more they posted about it on Facebook. They were using social media "to try to compensate by showing the world how wonderful they are," Neuman said.

This isn't the only research that examined the role of social media in relationships. Another study from Albright College found that some couples used it in order to brag about their partners or keep tabs on them, only to placate their own fears. Researchers found that people high in Relationship Contingent Self-Esteem (RCSE) — when you base your self-worth on how well your relationship is going — did share a lot of loving posts, but they also engaged in more malicious behaviors online too.

"These results suggest that those high in RCSE feel a need to show others, their partners and perhaps themselves that their relationship is ‘OK’ and, thus, they are OK," Gwendolyn Seidman, Ph.D, one of the study's researchers, told The Atlantic.

Other pitfalls of couples using social media include more jealousy in the relationship, greater relationship dissatisfaction and even more cheating, according to Psychology Today.

Now it's totally possible for you to be in a happy, secure relationship and post about it on Facebook. According to Neuman, good relationships have an air of privacy about them that helps keep it special and help to maintain an intimate connection.

"The fact is, when wonderful things happen to you in your relationship, you want keep that private — your little jokes, your little fun," he said. "It's not all about telling everyone else. When you share with other people you lose some of that connection and privacy."

His advice? Post sparingly, keep your relationship off-the-record, and when you see other couples constantly posting their #YOLO moments, remember it may not be what it seems.