Chances are good that your Facebook feed is full of couples posting romantic statuses about one another. But researchers have found that these updates occur when the lovers are feeling most insecure about their relationships.
A study posted on the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin delved into the idea of “relationship visibility,” or the amount that couples publicize their private lives.
The research team asked 108 straight couples to keep diaries, recording how they felt about their relationships each day. After two weeks, the team compared the journals to the social media profiles of each participant.
Researchers discovered that there is a strong link between insecurity and publicity. On the days each participant felt the worst about the state of his or her relationship, he or she was most likely to post gushy, overdone social media updates.
The team also made a distinction between “avoidant” participants who eschew public intimacy, and “anxious” subjects who feel the need to publicize their relationships.
Although the couples had different ideas about how much to share, posts were more likely to happen in both groups on days when the relationship didn’t seem to be functioning as well.
What’s more, the study is an important step in understanding the way social media changes and shapes the modern relationship. Researchers sought to “highlight the role of relationships in how people portray themselves to others.”
Social media profiles are often about crafting an image of oneself, and this study shows that the same principle applies to relationships.