Is social media affecting our love lives?

Two individuals finding computer love. Photo courtesy

You and your love interest have been seeing each other for a few months now, and there’s been plenty of dinner dates, movie nights and sleepovers. Both of you haven’t talked about defining your relationship, but it feels like things are getting pretty serious. It’s obvious to you that there’s more than just a physical connection, but you’re not entirely sure how your partner feels. This red flag is what some would call a situationship. 

According to a poll conducted via Instagram, many would deem a situationship as an undefined relationship between two people. Think of it as the complicated in-between phase of being more than friends-with-benefits. It usually involves physical intimacy, but it’s more than just a one-night stand. 

Generation Z, people ages six to 24, are quite familiar with the term as they seem to be the ones who created it. Twenty-two  year-old Ania Wilson explains the situation behind situationships. 

“There’s no real boundaries,” Wilson said. “You and your partner know what’s going on, but you’re still technically single.”

However, if both parties aren’t emotionally on the same page, things can get messy quickly. For 23-year-old Amber Starks, things definitely got messy as she experienced this misunderstanding first hand. 

“It’s bullshit. 10/10 would not recommend,” Starks said. “It’s cool in the beginning, but someone’s heart will eventually change. If y’all don’t want the same thing, someone is going to end up getting hurt.”

Some would say that one’s inability to trust and commit to one person is the reason that such a relationship exists in the first place. Some would say that it’s just harmless fun, meanwhile others think that dating apps and social media have created this paradox of choice.

“Social media has changed dating standards,” says 22-year-old Jasmine Simon. “Now men and women are trying to conform to some type of image that they don’t need anyone to be happy, but the truth is that deep down they still want to be loved. So they find themselves half-ass engaging with different partners, thus creating the situationship. The need for love with no ties or obligations.” 

Men seem to be more nonchalant about their feelings toward situationships in comparison to women, according to responses I received via an Instagram poll. One man, 25 year-old Stephen Lamar, surprisingly agreed with most women about how social media has negatively affected our love lives and communication efforts.

Social media has somewhat crippled communication within this generation,” Lamar said. “People don’t know how to properly communicate or express their true feelings anymore, because social media has put this mask or unreal standard of what dating should be or look like.”

This generation has created a brand new dating strategy. Acknowledging one’s relationship status as single, engaged and married was only the beginning. However, we’ve begun recognizing the talking stage, situationships and entanglements. Men and women interact differently, therefore communication has evolved from what our parents and grandparents experienced. JaJuan and Malakia Wright have been married for almost 26 years and agree that things have significantly changed from when they were in their 20s.

“Back in the day, we didn’t have as much technology to be in constant communication with one another,” Jajuan said. “When we did talk, we had to be intentional with our conversations. We didn’t have facetime, so we had to create that ambiance. The conversations were more meaningful, because you literally had to catch the other person on the phone. The younger generations are missing out on that intrigue of communication.”

FAMU student, Brianna Coulton, blames this generation’s lazy nature to get to know someone. 

“Don’t get me wrong, social media gives a great sense of what I want my relationship to look like,” Coulton said. “But relationships are supposed to march to the beat of their own drum. Love is not Instagram perfect, and it never will be. I just think that people get so caught up in the image that they don’t understand or want to put the work into to actually be in a real relationship.”