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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

There was once a time when Instagram couples were all the rage, but as many trends do, it came and went. Now, the “offline boyfriend” is the newest rising relationship trend. 

The idea of the “offline boyfriend” became popular through TikTok. The craze stemmed from celebrity relationships in which at least one person has a private or no social media presence. 

For example, Bella Hadid debuted her new beau, art director Marc Kalman, via her Instagram last year. However, Kalman has a very private social media presence compared to his globally known supermodel girlfriend. Other low radar celebrity couples like Zoe Kravitz and Channing Tatum have the world watching too. Issa Rae and Merly Streep are also on the list of ‘it girls’ who have off-the-radar significant others. But what is the fascination with the “offline boyfriend?” 

When it comes to dating, we live in a world where we are accustomed to being able to look up anyone on various social media platforms. It can give us a better idea of what the person might be like. “How do they present themselves?” “Do we have mutual followers?” “What do they like to do?” 

However, there’s been a paradigm shift. Users on TikTok are discussing the appeal of a partner with no Snapchat, barely has any followers, never posts, and most importantly – you’re the only one he follows. Honestly, in a world where everything seems to be put on social media, dating someone offline might feel like a breath of fresh air. 

The “offline boyfriend” also gives the appeal of a more private relationship. Not secret, but private. Let’s be honest, many people hate being bombarded with couples and relationships online. 

This craze is also known as the normcore boyfriend, as in “normal.”  Laura Pitcher describes it as a revolt and nostalgic, compared to the now outdated social media relationship. Pitcher explains that ‘it girls’ like Kravitz and Hadid are part of a larger message about dismantling the idea that a successful woman needs an equally famous partner. 

Social media can also have negative effects on a relationship. Rachel Wright is a psychotherapist who has analyzed how heavy social media use can negatively affect relationships. Social media can be used to display your relationship, but it can also hurt feelings, give unrealistic expectations and more. 

Wright also believes that the pandemic has had some influence on valuing privacy in relationships more than ever. People have learned to enjoy and value their privacy; staying offline and in the present. 

Social media puts an unnecessary pressure on relationships, and individuals can start caring more about their likes and comments on that super cute couple post than the relationship itself. It’s also important to remember, not everything is as it comes across online; relationships can look very different in person. 

This is not to say that an “offline boyfriend” is a perfect boyfriend, but it sends a good message about truly valuing your partner as a person and not a profile. Because honestly, who cares how many followers they have? Are they a good person? Do they make you laugh? These are the values we should be looking for in relationships. The “offline boyfriend” trend gives us a less materialistic way of looking at relationships. 

Gillian is a third-year at Cal Poly SLO. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Child Development. Gillian is an editor and writer for Cal Poly Her Campus this year. She enjoys writing about sustainable fashion, social media trends, and activism. Even though she is planning a career in psychology, she loves being a part of Her Campus because it allows her to have a creative outlet and continue her passion for writing.
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