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

We all love scrolling through social media. It definitely has its perks; motivation, recipe ideas, room and fashion inspo, and we can see what our friends and family are up to, of course. However, social media can be harmful in so many ways. Mostly because it feeds us unrealistic expectations for our bodies, lifestyle choices, and often, our relationships. People on social media never want to show the challenges life brings, we all want to show the highest points of life. This creates an illusion that some people have the perfect life, friends, family, relationships, etc. 

With the unrealistic expectations that social media portrays, we fester in so many thoughts and constantly compare ourselves. As we know, the cycle is toxic and detrimental. It especially becomes a problem when we see “perfect” couples and we begin to ask ourselves why our partner doesn’t treat us the way that one person treats their girlfriend on that viral Tik Tok.

One day, I was with my boyfriend and I saw a Tik Tok about little gestures this girl’s boyfriend does for her in a day. I caught myself thinking “why doesn’t my boyfriend do that for me?” I showed my boyfriend the video and saw it made him upset because he felt like I was comparing him to the boy in that video. Immediately, I knew I should not have shown my boyfriend that video. It was wrong of me.

My boyfriend and I have been together for two years and he has done nothing but love and support me in everything I do. He is my number one supporter and I had never doubted the love he has for me. It wasn’t until I started to compare my relationship to others that I saw on social media. It was at that very moment that I realized social media often has severe effects on our expectations of our partners. 

Don’t get me wrong, my relationship is not perfect, but no healthy relationship is. Couples will disagree and fight and that is normal. It is unrealistic to expect our partner to buy us expensive gifts out of the blue and plan fancy dates weekly because not everyone can afford to treat their partners to five star restaurants or the Dior lip gloss on a random evening. Social media has painted a picture that relationships should be perfect at all times and one disagreement is an “immediate red flag” as some may say. Some people may have a partner who loves to prepare them home cooked meals every day, but it’s okay that my boyfriend doesn’t enjoy cooking. Sure, he’ll make me an eggo waffle or pick up a pizza for us on his way home from work. However, just because that one Tik Tok person  prepares dinner for their fiánce every night, does not mean it’s a bad thing that your partner doesn’t.  

Another negative effect social media may have on healthy relationships is how it may increase trust issues or relationship anxiety. Often, I will come across a Tik Tok of a girl crying because she found out her boyfriend of five years cheated on her. Of course, she has every right to post that. But I find that at least a quarter of the comments are things like “well this made my trust issues even worse.” It is natural to let social media drive our emotions when we are constantly seeing videos of people crying because they are heartbroken. Social media opens up the door to showing relationships publicly. This leaves room for people to comment “red flag” or “leave him!” under a video of a girl complaining that her boyfriend hasn’t answered her text in an hour. Videos like these cause us to question our healthy relationships and increase the anxiety we may already have when in reality, we made these issues up in our heads.

We often see what others have and instantly want it for ourselves. We do this so often that we forget how lucky we are to have the things we have in our life. This mentality of constantly wanting, comparing and worrying will completely disable us from being grateful for the people we have around us. Social media should not be defining what a “perfect” relationship is, we should be determining that for ourselves. Of course, we should all have expectations of what our partner should do for us and how we should be treated. However, we should be the decider of those expectations, not Tik Tok. 

I am a junior at ODU majoring in Political Science with a minor in Marketing. My interests include fashion, discovering new clean skincare and makeup, shopping, and working out. I love to read and write which is why I am so excited to see my passion for fashion and politics (and everything else in between) mix with my love for writing!
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