The autopilot relationship

Social media would have us believe that some people’s relationships are absolutely perfect. He buys her flowers every week, and she makes him his favorite food. They do cute couple things like pumpkin picking and woodland walks, and you would bet that he never leaves the toilet seat up and she certainly wouldn’t ever nag him for anything. And there you are in your own very much imperfect relationship, and you wonder if perhaps you’ve got it wrong somehow.

The autopilot relationship myth

Social media allows us to share only the parts of our lives that we want others to see and as we are so image-conscious, it only makes sense that a lot of people will only show how amazing things are and not the small niggles that all relationships have. We present a front of a seemingly perfect life, and it creates a cycle around us. Other people see this perfection and feel as though their lives should be the same, and so they only share the good things in their lives too.

Giving up too easily

When this happens, we end up genuinely believing in our heads that relationships really should be perfect. If no one else is arguing over who keeps leaving the wet towels on the floor or bickering about where to go on vacation, then surely that means there is something terrible in your relationship. This leads us to be more likely to leave a relationship prematurely, rather than trying to figure it out. We are all trying to lead lives that don’t really exist. In a similar way to how the media makes us believe that we are supposed to look like photoshopped models – it’s just not real, and it’s just not possible.

The exception

Of course, that is not to say that you should stay in a genuinely lousy relationship. There is a big difference between having disagreements on what to eat and someone who constantly makes you unhappy, or a relationship where you disagree on a big decision such as having children. This social media world sometimes makes it difficult for us to distinguish between these sorts of relationships, so we need to take a step back and take an objective look at things.

Looking perfect

Of course, the things that your friends in their happy couples are putting on Facebook are probably true. It is less that they are lying, and more that they are omitting the bad things. If you want the good parts of their relationship, while understanding that there is always an element of challenge in every relationship, then you have to work for it. You cannot be on autopilot and expect this happiness to come to you. Make a conscious effort to work for the relationship you want and being grateful for what you do have, without comparing yourselves to the social media version of another couple.

Next time you see an adorable picture of a couple on Instagram, snuggled up drinking hot chocolate, instead of feeling bitter and thinking about how perfect their relationship seems, pop the kettle on and make your other half a hot chocolate too. That’s also the perfect time to get talking about how to get the spark back into your own relationship!

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