Even though someone in five relationships is born of online dating, using the interwebs and apps to dish about your relationship is still an etiquette experiment in progress. It’s so easy to brag or complain, especially when a Snapchat snap or an Instagram story update goes away in 24 hours. But that doesn’t make it a good idea. Here’s what dating experts agree you should never, ever (we mean it!) post about your relationship on social media.
Anything personal about your partner, without his or her permission
All of those feel-good hormones that are produced from sexual affection and mutual attraction make the simplest qualities about your partner pretty freakin’ adorable—from how he sticks out his tongue when he’s thinking to how she hums rap tunes while she’s cooking. But instead of sharing these personal details with all of your FB friends (and thus, their extended network too), you not only lessen your intimacy, but you could make your partner uncomfortable. “You can post things that are personal about you if you want, but don’t post things that are personal about your significant other because it becomes an invasion of their privacy,” says clinical sexologist and relationship expert Dawn Michael, PhD. “Be aware of the relationship outside of yourself. Don’t post anything personal about your significant other unless they do it themselves.” These are the photos to never ever post online, for safety reasons.
You might be in the heat of an argument and know that you’re right, but your partner’s stubborn attitude keeps him or her from giving in for at least a few more hours. You may want to get a second opinion from your pals online—to prove a point or get consolation in the moment, but resist the urge. Not only is it tacky and probably makes your friends feel some TMI vibes, but it can be incredibly hurtful to your partner and have a lasting effect on your reputation. “Never put your significant other down on social media, or talk about a fight that the two of you had or are having,” Michael explains. “When that argument is over, you may seriously regret saying anything because now people are going to have a negative impression of your partner. Just like telling your mom about the fight you had last night with your partner and then when you see mom for the holidays you wonder why she is not being nice to that person? Same applies to social media, it is not the outlet to air your arguments or dislikes about your partner.” (Asking these two questions can often stop a fight in its tracks.)
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the creative, new way you’ll announce your pregnancy on Facebook. While OB-GYNs often suggest waiting until your second trimester to share the happy news with friends and relatives because your risk of miscarriage is lower, updating your social media accounts with an ultrasound might be taking your photo albums too far. The blurry, almost-alien like photo might be the cutest, most amazing image you’ve ever seen, but your followers might find it awkward. “It’s great that you’re announcing you’re pregnant, but do you have to post a photo of your unborn baby on social media? It violates my ‘Rules of Netiquette’ as something that makes some people uncomfortable,” says Julia Spira, cyber dating expert and author of The Rules of Netiqueette: How to MInd Your Digital Manners. “While many will toast to your new relationship status, we don’t need to see every detail of your doctor’s appointments.”
Say you’re the friend who’s been forever single. You’ve had all the terrible dates and lonely nights, and magically, wonderfully, you’ve found someone you want to spend your life with. Your besties are ecstatic for you—truly—but if you post one-too-many kissing selfies, they’re likely to raise an eyebrow. “Posting a mushy selfie may be fine if you do it once, but for people who overshare their tongue-in-mouth ceremony, I say don’t kiss and tell,” Spira says. “We want to be happy that things are going well for you, up to a point.” Not only does seeing your romantic, physical moments feel a bit intrusive, but it can be painful for people who maybe haven’t been as lucky in love. “Your single friends might get uncomfortable—call it FOMO or jealousy,” Spira says. “Either way, don’t be surprised if you get unfriended and blocked when you overshare photos like these.” Check out these mind-blowing facts about selfies.
Spare everyone the gory details, which are more than likely to be TMI or sour grapes. If you and your partner break up, the emotional mess is enough to clean up without having to field comments and advice from the online peanut gallery. “Keep it simple. If it’s over, it’s over,” Spira says. “Posting about how you got dumped shouldn’t be public knowledge. Just change your relationship status to ‘Single’ when and if you call it quits to signal that you’re on the market again. Keep the vicious details to yourself.” Here are the things you should never do after a breakup, so you can move on.
Broadcasting every little detail
If the sister of your former best friend in middle school knows that on Monday your boyfriend bought your flowers, on Tuesday he cooked you his signature chili, on Wednesday he wore a shirt you bought him, and on Friday, you had #datenight, you may be oversharing about your relationship. Being content and secure in your relationship means you don’t need to give a play-by-play for the world to bare witness, Mandel explains. When you’re in a satisfying couplehood, you should prefer to keep the little details to yourselves, where they often mean more. “Partners in a healthy relationship know that there’s value in the private moments that no one else gets to know about. Sharing too much can take away from the specialness of your relationship,” she says. Look at the intention behind your oversharing—do you need attention? Are you trying to inflate your relationship into something more than it is? “Broadcasting every moment that you spend with your partner may be a sign that your relationship is lacking, and that you need to reevaluate your situation,” Mandel adds.