The Sad, Angry, and Truthful

A Selfie's Connection With Relationship Failure

In an article focused on exploring the associations of body image satisfaction through the popular image-sharing app, Instagram, it was found that, through the work of psychology and communication scholars, excessive social networking site (SNS) use, including Facebook and Twitter use, can have damaging effects on health and romantic relationship outcomes. "Excessive SNS use, including partner surveillance and monitoring, posting ambiguous information, and compulsive internet use, can be detrimental to romantic relationships," the article said.

In fact, multiple studies have found that excessive Facebook and Twitter use was associated with increased relationship conflict pertaining to either the participant's own SNS use or their current/former partner's SNS use, which the researchers termed "Facebook-related conflict" and "Twitter-related conflict." In the study, it was hypothesized that Instagram use, specifically selfie posting, would be positively related to "Instagram-related conflict."


In the study, Clayton et al. tested the direct and indirect effects between SNS-use, SNS-related conflict, and negative romantic relationship outcomes. Findings from each of these studies found a nonsignificant direct effect of SNS use on negative relationship outcomes. The findings suggested that when SNS use became problematic in a user's romantic relationship, negative relationship outcomes might follow.

Throughout the experiment, the following was reported at the end.

"The findings from this study have serious implications not only theoretically but also from an applied perspective. Theoretically, when users are satisfied with their body image, self-promotion of their body satisfaction may take the form of online behaviors, specifically as Instagram selfie posts. Perhaps this occurs when an Instagram user meets a fitness goal, finished a day at the salon, or any other potential situation when users feel satisfied with their overall body image."

These behaviors, however, may become too frequent, which serves as a catalyst for SNS-related conflict, the article reports.


"We speculate that Instagram-related conflict might arise when users begin to monitor their partner's Instagram selfie posting behaviors. To this end, excessive online monitoring may then result in verbal disputes between romantic partners. Moreover, romantic partners may experience jealousy given the amount of feedback (i.e. likes and comments) a selfie has accumulated on Instagram. It is also possible that Instagram selfie posts may capture other users' attention resulting in the development of online relationships with other Instagram users. Unsurprisingly, excessive monitoring, verbal disputes, jealousy, or connecting with other users might then increase the users' chances of experiencing relationship infidelity and dissolution."

The article, however, provides a baseline for further research to be conducted, including; the theoretical underpinnings associated with the relationships among the variables examined in this study. While it was outside the scope of the current study to test the idealized virtual identity hypothesis, and future research should examine whether Instagram users promote their real personality in the form of selfie posts or as their idealized versions of themselves.

Long-Term Relationships Slice Through Expectations of Failure?

While this information may be beneficial to learn, my questions remain with couples who have been together for a substantial amount of time. With communication in mind, it seems that couples who are irritated by the frequency of their partner's social media use or selfie posting on sites such as Instagram, with good conversation and the expression of sharing one's discrepancies or frustrations, why should a relationship be doomed to fail?

In my opinion, if a relationship is based off of trust, honesty and good communication, no issues should arise in this department. If social media problems are disrupting your relationship, it's hard for me to believe there aren't any issues elsewhere as well.

Posting photos together as a couple might do more good than simply posting photos of just yourself when it comes to your relationship. Being in a committed relationship means you are often thinking of your partner's needs before your own, and when it comes to posting on social media if you are posting photos of yourself simply for the likes, comments, or follows, maybe a committed relationship isn't the best idea at the moment.

Instagram Unfiltered: Exploring Associations of Body Image Satisfaction, Instagram #Selfie Posting, and Negative Romantic Relationship Outcomes
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Jessica L. Ridgeway, Russell B. Clayton
January 19, 2016
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