Losing Your Partner to Social Media

By Eric Perry, PhD-c

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.” ~Hermann Hesse

1. Relationships are being redefined as quantity is better
The nature of a relationship is rapidly being redefined. It seems we are distancing ourselves further from true intimacy; substituting quantity and convenience over quality. Let’s face it, we value immediacy and struggle with intimacy. If we can make a post and get an immediate response, it will satisfy the innate need to feel relevant. It does not matter who responded, but how many responded. And, more responses is always better than less responses. We all want to feel significant and be validated. If you don’t, please let me know. I would love to know your secret.

2. Impulse control: out of service
Checking to see if we have a new comment, like, follow, snapchat or re-tweet has become as common as putting on a pair of shoes. It is best to turn off all notifications from your social media accounts. I doubt you will receive anything urgent on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. So, why let it interrupt your life? We must be careful, as these social media notifications trigger the pleasure center of our brain (nucleus accumbens) making it easy to be on autopilot, anytime a new response is received.

3. Self-worth and responses from others
It is the need for an immediate response to make us feel relevant, noticed, liked or important that is most concerning. Most often, these are responses from total strangers. The danger is that we unknowingly place a value on ourselves, based upon the number of responses we receive. The number of responses I receive from this post could potentially influence my feelings about myself as a writer. So, it is important for me to separate my self-worth from the responses I receive from you, my dear readers. In all social media endeavors, it is important to do the same.

4. Total number of hours spent on social media
On average, people are checking their social media account a staggering 17 times per day. Incredibly, people spend an average of 4.7 hours per day using their smart phone. It is almost as if smart phones have become the pacifier for adulthood. How can relationships stand a chance when this much time is being consumed by the nuances of a modern era?

5. Oh, you’re still there? But, I already have what I need
Lastly, it is necessary to reiterate that social media offers a cheap means for validation. As cheap as it may be, validation is still validation, no matter how deceptively satisfying it is. Why would we need our partner to make us feel significant when we have a social media account that is equally satisfying? In fact, it might even be more satisfying. Our significant other probably won’t “like” every selfie we post even when a complete stranger might. Our partner sees us for who we are, not who we present ourselves as on the internet.

Specializing in a solution focused and results driven approach to psychotherapy, specifically treating narcissistic abuse, depression, anxiety and relationship issues
Verified by Psychology Today
Verified by Network Therapy
Verified by GoodTherapy.org


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66 responses to Losing Your Partner to Social Media

  1. How sad to see so much technology be at the forefront! Earlier to day I saw two women walking side by side each talking on their cell phones. I could only wonder what they were missing out on with one another.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Thank you for the comment Linda. I see couples sitting across from each other while looking at their cell phones in restaurants all the time. It is rapidly becoming the norm.

      Liked by 7 people

  2. Sylvia J. says:

    You make such great points. I see so many people just snapping photos or recording videos just for the sake of sharing it on their social media accounts–to show off, to brag, to show the virtual world how much “fun” they had as opposed to really enjoying themselves. It seems hard to be living in the moment when your phone seems to get in the way. We all seek validation, that’s for sure and too much of anything isn’t necessarily healthy. Quality over quantity, always. I agree that it’s dangerous to place our sense of personal value and worth on others. I love this post, Eric!

    Liked by 6 people

  3. I love this post so much! I actually made the decision to delete most social media apps from my phone yesterday. Amazing how many more hours in the day I have now 🙂

    Liked by 8 people

  4. I used to be exactly like this, always checking my phone. This post reminded me how much I have improved in the past 8 months and has motivated me to push myself more. 🙂 Great post!

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Mrs.Dee says:

    Absolutely love this,my hubby and i have “phone time out”in the evening…we will pick a time to watch a show together or just have conversation while we are eating and when we do the phone has to go to a time out,it’s a game and its fun sometimes we make up “prizes”for who can go the longest.Give us a chance to reconnect instead of always being connected to the social media.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Great insights and completely true. Whenever me and my friend go out together – for food or anything – he just sits there on his phone because he has a lot of notifications. I mean, I understand, but it makes me feel like I’m not valued sometimes. Y’know?

    Liked by 5 people

  7. I took a 3 year break from any social media and just recently resubscribed to a few in order to promote my blog. While I have mostly been enjoying interacting with people I do not get to see enough, you are so right on about the gratification and the need for more more more. More “likes” more comments more validation. I wonder how partners would feel to know that people outside our homes are making us feel more relevant and special than they are. Off in a different direction, our household just purchased our first smartphone EVER! I don’t have facebook, twitter, or even wordpress on it. I see staring at those things as so dehumanizing and unnatural and therefore I don’t do anything but directions, take photos, text and call because of how physically irritated it makes me feel. Thanks for offering this post up. Seriously. : )

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Miriam says:

    What a relevant post and sadly so true in society today. I’ve taken a back seat to FB recently and I really don’t miss it at all. It can become all consuming and it’s just not healthy. Such great posts.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. chevvy8 says:

    I found this post very interesting and enlightening and I am already working on my to-do list of how I need to adjust my social media behaviour. I stayed away from many of the platforms, but my blogging habits can definitely change. Thanks for this 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Lesa Rose says:

    I myself am guilty of allowing social media to rule my life. It is true that I have cut back and turned off many notifications. Other apps I’ve deleted. I’m still on my phone a lot now but more for reading than anything else. Some days I need to just take stock on how many hours I’ve used on my phone and social media. Thanks for this.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. irini112014 says:

    Great post. You asked for someone to comment if they aren’t driven by how many responses nor the quality of them in your point #1. I’d have to say that I’m not. I’ll admit that there are times that I like it, or want it, especially when I think I’ve written a post I think is really good and have tried to promote it. But in general, I turn off all notifications and sign out completely from each social media site when not using it. I don’t like being stuck to my phone/computer/ipad/TV even. It’s about the same as losing a day to a hang over. I can’t stand wasting my life like that.
    I think that I’m both usual and unusual in that I write mostly for intrinsic value, to better myself or as a tool for dealing with life. That doesn’t mean that I don’t desire to become published and make money off of my writing thought, because I do. But I can’t afford missing out on life (and thus stuff I could write about) by having my face glued to my phone. It’s fun for a bit, but rude in general to do that to other people or to have people do that to me.
    How did I get away from caring how many likes or comments I have on my posts? It started way back when I was a teenager and decided that I didn’t want to spend my life watching TV. It’s something that I have worked at for 20 years. I can sit down to watch TV and get up half-way through if something comes up – because life is more important, and I continue to make it that way. I guess a lot of it is about self-discipline too. But I always find that my life feels like it has more value, and is thus validated, if I am living actively and not passively.

    Liked by 7 people

  12. Grandpa says:

    Totally agree. Point 1 especially resonates with me. I often find a new post being ‘Liked’, even before it has had time to load on my screen. It makes me wonder whether these are genuine expressions of appreciation, or just another attempt to receive reciprocal ‘Likes’. Believing that someone has clicked the button without even bothering to read what I have written is demeaning, irritating, and cheapens all that effort.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. elzthebelz says:

    I think you are so spot on with this post. It seems that the ages at which people are attached to some sort of electronic device is getting younger and younger by the day. Society seems to meed to present the best side of themselves via social media. It’s almost like the real person doesn’t account for anything anymore. We seem to live in a world where things are being thrown at us so fast that if we don’t like it then and their it will be lost for ever.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. ACK says:

    Great post on a subject not many talk about. Love it and love reading all those great comments. I’m one of those who always keeps my phone away when socializing with people. Can’t stand when people pay more attention to what’s happening on their devices instead of around them and in real life. Their own life… When did everybody else’s life become so much more interesting than your own? Took the liberty and shared this.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. This is a great post and got me thinking that I don’t think my family and friends actually like what I write or post and rarely read anything. If they do it’s through kindness I think. I’m not bothered I write because it feels good and helps me work things out but I do appreciate the validation I get from the likes and comments of strangers as it does not come closer to home. I need to get over myself 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  16. I love this! I have deleted everything aside from Facebook, and the only reason I kept it around is to help share my blog posts. Years ago I never had Facebook and it was the greatest feeling of freedom. Great post, keep it up!

    Liked by 6 people

  17. Perhaps it’s because we’re old and didn’t grow up with computers and social media (our son still helps us figure out these darned machines!) but my husband and I never get online during our evenings. That’s the time we spend together talking, watching silly movies and making funny comments about them, or snuggling.
    I only wish our kids could put their phones down long enough to spend time with their significant others without the need to post about it.

    Liked by 6 people

  18. I am virtually social-media free. My blog was started as a suggestion from my homeopath to help me share thoughts and ideas that I would otherwise keep inside. I have found it extremely satisfying to do so. The anonymity is wonderful…nobody close to me knows I write one. I have the ability to share with those I am close to, and do…but in the blog I feel unbound, untethered. When someone has followed, I’m amazed. When someone comments or likes I am truly appreciative for their time. And although that happens in such little numbers, it is fulfilling and I have wondered if that factor has inhibited me in daily life. I shall remain pondering….
    …great post

    Liked by 6 people

  19. quandarysite says:

    Great post. Totally agree with you. Holding on to something which doesn’t have the end you want or you deserve then it is better to let go. I too had a hard time after my break up but am good now. Now I just don’t sit and check social media to see what he’s doing but now I have time for myself. facing the real world and discovering myself. trying to find something that means more than anything for me. that will value not only to me but will make me value more. Your post is really great and inspiring.

    Liked by 4 people

  20. Very interesting post. We are now at a crossroad between the old and modern ways. While some (senior citizens, under-privileged individuals with less access) are still trying to figure out how the internet works others practically sleep and wake up with their smart phones. You are totally right, this is undermining partners’ relationships and human communications in general. Social media has a way of bringing out the worse narcissism in human history. Worse it is increasing the gap between those who have access and those who don’t, leaving the latter isolated, ostracized.

    The good news is social media just like any new technology is a tool. If we learn the proper way to deal with it and if we have the will to do so we can do more good than harm.

    Liked by 4 people

  21. geminilvr says:

    great post – thank you – I was with someone who was addicted to his social media accounts. it was always a point of contention and the source of arguments and most of all exhausting

    Liked by 4 people

  22. I have experienced this at its optimum which gave me cause to completely disconnect from all social media for a time. In that time, even close friends developed ill-feelings towards me because in their minds I wrote them off. Why? Because I wasn’t on social media? But the worse of it is when you compete for “attention” (by this I simply mean the good old fashion engagement with the person next to you!!) with someone’s phone. And as you say (I’ve also written two blogs on this: if you like see: https://ellypiro.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/soulless-faces-an-exercise-in-self-criticism/ and https://ellypiro.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/soulless-faces-an-exercise-in-self-criticism/) there is nothing that will happen on Facebook that is ever urgent!!! And to this the number of social media forums, and the crazy need to be on ALL of them – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, G+, Flicker, Snapchat, Pinterest, Linkedin, WordPress (though this is different)…and I think there are more but I don’t know them. Why, oh, why!!!??I have always found this quite alienating and am please that none of my friends where I presently reside attend to their phones in my presence, nor are we posting endless photos of ourselves, mainly because we prefer not to interrupt the natural flow of our time together! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Joss says:

    Wonderful post – Technology has the ability to bring us closer together, but too much can be detrimental to relationships. When one of my exs and I weren’t getting along, we’d both disappear into our phones (or get high, but that’s another issue) and avoid discussing what was wrong with each other. Yup. That was healthy.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Cynthia Lynn says:

    Recently, a study on social media usage was conducted and the findings were alarming. Some, like myself, may find turning off notifications is not as easy as one thought. Apparently, social media is as addictive as cocaine.

    Liked by 3 people

    • MakeItUltra™ says:

      Hi Cynthia thank you so much for your insightful comment !


  25. Hi Eric. Great post, and very interesting. I think for many people, it is almost a natural evolution of how they connect with the world, and a means of gaining complements, and hence feelings of self-worth. However, as you said, relying on social media to give you the ‘likes’ and complements can be dangerous for many reasons: you may not even properly know the people commenting, and what happens to your emotional wellbeing when you don’t get the number of ‘likes’ you thought you would? I used to live in Thailand, and in every possible situation, people would be sat with the heads down, engrossed in social media. In cafes and restaurants couples would both be on their phones or taking photos of the food. At the beach, everyone seemed to have a selfie stick, and many were staging poses and experiences for social media, such as the jumping-together-in-the-air photo you often see. It seemed like people were forgetting to enjoy their actual experiences and forgetting to make actual memories; rather to make staged photo memories to share with the social media world. It’s worrying that this is now the ‘norm’ and it’s sad that people may start to lose the strong connections with the people who are closest to them (in favour of gaining optimum social media status) ; connections that are kept strong by talking, spending time together and enjoying experiences together.
    Thank you for your post….definitely something to contemplate…

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Wow!! It’s rare that I come upon a post *this* intriguing! I can relate to some of the points mentioned, too. Realized it a while back and started redefining my spare time accordingly. I feel a need to be social online, as I can get pretty overwhelmed by in-person interaction (I have Asperger’s) but there’s a less dysfunctional way and a more dysfunctional way to do it. Trying for the former 😉. Thanks for a fantastic article! 👍🏼👍🏼💓

    Liked by 1 person

    • MakeItUltra™ says:

      Hi Laina I believe for social media less is definitely more! Thank you so much for your comment!✨

      Liked by 1 person

      • You nailed it, Eric 👍🏼. There seems to be a Law of Diminishing Returns of sorts regarding social media consumption (as is often true about consumption in general 😉)–the way I see it, it’s like eating a cheeseburger–if you’re hungry, eating one brings a set of beneficial effects, but eating a second one, or even beyond that, brings a *lot* less benefit–in fact, the “consumer” can start to feel lousy pretty quickly 😉. I’m starting to approach social media like I would a cheeseburger lol 😊. Seems to work ok so far 🍀

        Liked by 1 person

  27. Harshali Gaikwad says:

    This is indeed, one of the reasons couples end up fighting. Thanks! this is a great insight of our digital age. Where more people we are closely connected on social media, the more we are getting disconnected from them in real life. It is a huge prevalence of VIRTUAL WORLD over REAL WORLD. Kudos! Much positivity to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. KvA says:

    Very well said. I really think social media are a huge excuse for procrastination. Not only do they make us less productive, but also more emotionally vulnerable.

    Liked by 1 person

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  1. […] experiencing intimacy on a deeper level, with the people we already know and love (See my post: Losing Your Partner to Social Media). At the end of life, it won’t be the number of followers we have on Instagram or WordPress that […]

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