11 Things to Never Post About Your Relationship on Social Media
When it comes to social media and relationships, less is definitely more. Here’s what experts say should stay offline.
Social media has fundamentally changed our relationships
Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok and other apps have become such a part of our lives that we often don’t realize how interconnected—both positively and negatively—social media and relationships are. And because we usually don’t take the time to consider the impact of what we post on our loved ones, it can completely change our relationships in the blink of an eye, just like how social media can affect your job.
“Your posts on social media can instantly share far more about your relationship than you may intend to share—sometimes without context or authenticity,” says psychologist Don Grant, PhD, national advisor of healthy device management at Newport Healthcare. “This can cause insecurity and trust issues even if the posted (or reposted) comment, text, photo or video was intended to be a happy or innocent post about the couple.”
So now, just like we teach people proper email etiquette, we need to teach people how to properly use social media in their relationships—including when and how to do a digital detox, he says. Wondering if you’re guilty of the most common missteps? Here are the relationships details that experts agree you shouldn’t share online.
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Your partner’s quirky-cute habits
Love can make the simplest qualities about your partner pretty freakin’ adorable—from how he sticks out his tongue when he’s thinking to how she hums rap tunes while she’s cooking. But posting these personal details—or even worse, photos or videos—for all of your online friends (and their extended network) to see lessens the intimacy in your relationship and can make your partner uncomfortable.
“Sharing any personal details without their permission may cause your partner to feel insecure, exposed, violated or even angry,” says Grant, adding that it harms trust—the bedrock of every healthy relationship.
Personal arguments, especially as they are happening
We’ve all been there: in the heat of an argument, sure that we’re right and wanting a little validation or a second opinion from our pals online. But whether you’re doing it to prove a point to your partner (it won’t work) or get consolation in the moment, resist the urge. This is a huge no-no when it comes to social media and relationships. It’s incredibly hurtful to your partner—not to mention tacky and probably giving TMI vibes to all your followers. Depending on the fight, it can even ruin reputations and other relationships.
“Never use social media as a platform to publicly argue, criticize or fight with your partner,” says Grant. “Rather, resolve it offline between yourselves, not in front of the world.”
Secret posts, pictures or videos
Don’t want your partner to see that tagged photo of you dancing drunk at the club? Or are you hiding a TikTok video where you share political thoughts they would find upsetting? Maybe you have an entire Instagram account they don’t even know exists. Posting things that you block your partner from seeing, or having social media accounts that they don’t know about, are two big relationship killers.
“You should allow your partner to connect with your profiles across all social media platforms, and vice versa,” says Grant. “This is an example of practicing good faith and trust, and illustrates that you don’t have any secrets to hide in this committed relationship.” (Hint: This should probably be one of your non-negotiables.)
If you’re tempted to post something privately, where your partner can’t find it, ask yourself what this says about you and your relationship.
Every little pregnancy detail
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes … the creative, new way you’ll announce your pregnancy on Instagram! Pregnancy is really exciting, and it’s natural to want to share every moment. But updating your social media accounts with the date you ovulated, your peed-on pregnancy test, your cervical mucus texture, every ultrasound pic and how exactly you conceived said baby (oh, yes, people share all those things) might be taking things too far.
“Many people will want to toast to your new [parental] status, but they don’t need to see every detail of your doctors appointments,” says cyber dating expert Julia Spira, author of The Rules of Netiquette: How to Mind Your Digital Manners. “Pregnancy oversharing violates my ‘Rules of Netiquette’ because it makes some people uncomfortable.” While you’re at it, check out the ultimate netiquette guidelines that foster respectful online interactions.
Selfies with major PDA
Posting a cute kissing selfie? Adorable! Snapping a video of you two making out in bed for 10 minutes? Save it for your private file. Not only does seeing your private romantic physical moments feel a bit intrusive, but it can be painful for people who maybe haven’t been as lucky in love.
“We want to be happy that things are going well for you … up to a point,” says Spira. “Don’t be surprised if you get unfriended or blocked when you overshare photos like these.”
The rule of thumb is to not post anything that you wouldn’t do in front of your grandmother because, let’s be honest, she’s probably on social media too, says Grant.
Embellished lifestyle stories
Did your significant other just give you ruby earrings, a Louis Vuitton duffle bag and a ginormous TV? Or did they just fly you on a private jet around the world? Or write you 100 love notes sprinkled over breakfast in bed? Or … maybe you just want it to look that way?
We’ve all been guilty of polishing the truth a bit on social media, but if you’re constantly trying to make your relationship look more grand, expensive or loving than it is in real life, that’s a problem for you and the relationship, says Grant. Even if the posts are mostly true (though expensive gifts are one of the top things people lie about on social media), they can come across as bragging and inauthentic—especially if that’s all you post, says Spira. Not to mention, these types of posts can make you a target for thieves.
You also need to consider your partner’s feelings, says Grant. They may prefer to share these moments of joy with you personally, in real life, rather than worrying how it’s all going to photograph and how many likes it will get.
Your messy breakup
Posting that you broke up is fine, but leave all the gory details out of it. If you and your partner break up, the emotional mess is enough to clean up without having to field comments and advice from the online peanut gallery. Plus, reliving it on social media can make it hard to move on after a breakup.
“Keep it simple. If it’s over, it’s over,” Spira says. “Just change your relationship status to ‘Single’ when and if you call it quits to signal that you’re on the market again. Keep the vicious details to yourself.”
Super sexy pics—of you, your partner or anyone else
Sexting can be a fun way to build intimacy and excitement with your partner, but those images should never go beyond your shared blue bubbles. This means no sharing your partner’s photos, no matter how hot you think he/she looks, says Sarah Mandel, PhD, a clinical psychologist who does research on how smartphone use affects marriage.
Sharing any type of sexy snaps and videos can cause problems in your relationship, even if you’re sharing your own or someone else’s (like a celebrity, influencer or, heaven forbid, an ex). Any sharing of racy content online should be something discussed in the context of your relationship,
“It’s generally smart to keep this part of your relationship between the two of you and in the bedroom,” Mandel says. Not to mention that it’s not just your friends who will be able to see them—it’s all your contacts (including current or future employers—eek!) and their contacts and, well, potentially the entire internet.
A minute-by-minute play of your relationship
If the sister of your former best friend in middle school knows that on Monday your boyfriend brought you flowers, on Tuesday he cooked you his signature chili, on Wednesday he wore a shirt you bought him and on Friday you had #datenight, you may be oversharing on social media about your relationship.
“Sharing too much can take away from the specialness of your relationship,” Mandel says. Look at the intention behind your oversharing—do you need attention? Are you trying to inflate your relationship into something more than it is? “Broadcasting every moment that you spend with your partner may be a sign that your relationship is lacking and that you need to reevaluate your situation,” she adds.
Information your partner is uncomfortable with
Even if you’re just sharing the details of your own life, it still reflects on your partner in ways they may not appreciate—especially if they are more private than you are, says Grant. For instance, you may be OK telling everyone what you named your baby, but your partner may not be comfortable sharing any information about your children online.
This doesn’t mean your partner should have total control over your social media accounts—in fact, that’s a red flag you are in an abusive relationship—but rather that social media posts should be discussed in the context of your partnership.
“If you post something on social media, even innocently, that upsets your partner or makes them feel uncomfortable, immediately delete it/take it down,” he says. “Their feelings should be more important than your social media image.”
Anything you’re unsure about
This is hands down the most important etiquette rule you should follow when it comes to social media and relationships: If you are unsure about whether or not you should post something, just don’t. The internet is forever—even deleted posts can be dug up later—and it’s better to err on the side of caution.
And resist the feeling of immediacy that social media often pushes, Grant adds. “If it’s a good idea to post it today, it will still be a good idea to post tomorrow,” he says, “so it’s fine to take some time to think about it and check in with your partner about their feelings before sharing it.” No one is going to die if they have to wait another 24 hours for your vacation snaps.
Additional reporting by Lindsay Tigar.