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How Social Media Promotes Toxic Relationships

One of the most beautiful things about meeting a happily married old couple or middle-aged parents is the story of how they met. It usually involves a whimsical story about the pursuit of one of the significant others in the pairing. High school sweethearts showing up with flowers outside of each other’s houses, college sweethearts wearing their hearts on their sleeves in the dorms, or a meet-cute in a grocery store. Today, however, we hear very little about that. Stories today usually begin with “he asked for my Snap,” or the classic, “ we met on Tinder.” Then, they tend to end with, “and then we started talking for a few months.” The unfortunate part is that most of these end for a number of reasons, but social media and the toxic relationships it promotes is number one. 

One undeniable issue with the more recent addition of social media to our everyday lives is that it provides everyone with too many options and unlimited access to just about anyone in the world. With a click of a button or a simple search for one of the usernames, anyone is available to you. The ability to browse anyone in the world aids the idea that there is always someone better than their current love interest or significant other. Unfortunately for the younger generations, this means the romantic partners or interests in our lives are more than okay with losing us. There is always someone else available and all it takes is the tap of a screen. 

While there may always be someone more exciting, the fact is that the older generations we observe to be so in love didn’t have unlimited options. Our now elders believed their option they had was the best, one and only option. This led to a healthy pursuit, filled with effort, time, commitment and intention with every action. Unfortunately, the reality is that people don’t fear losing others, which leads them to treat them far from how the previous generations treated each other. Today, with Snapchat, Instagram and a plethora of dating apps, relationships simply can’t be as healthy as they used to be. 

There is always going to be someone better out there. With that in mind, you could be searching your whole life for the perfect person when in reality people are simply imperfect. Through this search for someone that will never be found, people are losing the valuable connections they’ve formed due to social media and an overwhelming amount of access. 

Not to mention the issue with the constant desire to be in contact, or the lack thereof with such easy forms of communication. The chances that your friend has complained to you about being left on “delivered” while their love interest was “seen just now,” on Snapchat are overwhelmingly high. The additional issue at hand is with communication being so simple, quick and easy with technology everyone is expected to be in contact throughout the day. With that, no one gets to miss anyone, you know the details of someone’s entire day and everything is shared. The previous generations had no choice but to miss each other throughout the day, looking forward to finally hearing from or seeing their partner at the end of it to spend quality time or have a quality conversation. It is hard to have that same connection when today’s expectation is to receive a picture of someone’s forehead on Snapchat to indicate that they care about you. Of course people can still be missed in a healthy manner, but the chances of it being healthy are little to none. There is now a focus on how much time someone takes to respond and what they respond with, down to whether or not they include a period, which is far from healthy. 

If the younger generations desire the ability to grow old with someone, find love or have any hope for a healthy relationship in any capacity, there needs to be far less focus on social media. The only thing that comes from communicating through social media, too much texting or too much sharing is toxicity. Nothing good comes from spending the day on your phone searching for better options, searching for someone’s location, searching for the reason someone left out a comma or even writing down his Snap score. Not only are these things unhealthy for any chance at a relationship, but they are unhealthy for one’s mental health. It is vital that when we are looking for a chance at love, we all look up from our phone screens. 

Celia Heck

Wisconsin '26

My name is Celia Heck. I'm from Evanston IL, and currently attending UW-Madison. I'm always looking to learn and grow through new experiences!