When going “Instagram official” becomes the new way to validate a relationship

Just yesterday, two couples were on the news as they became Instagram official. Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin showed everyone that they’ve finally gotten past the “just friends” threshold. Meanwhile, Nick Jonas posted about his new flame Priyanka Chopra on Instagram Stories for the first time—he also reportedly met her mom already.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that someone’s relationship was confirmed via social media—we’ve reported on a few so we know. This also made me remember about all the times a friend or two would check a person’s account/s to see if they’re dating someone. “He/She’s not posting about them! Do you think they’re really together?” they would ask. I admit I’m guilty of doing that too at times. It’s also weird because I don’t really post photos of me and my boyfriend that much too, and some of my friends were shocked when they found out we were actually together.

Which brings us to the question as to why social media seems to be used as validation for one’s relationship. Is it just the “millennial way” of doing it? Is everyone required to do it now?

A Medium post by Taylor Lorenz said that being Instagram official is the new “in a relationship” status on Facebook. One woman told her that by doing so, it’s like welcoming and introducing her boyfriend into her life even though they’ve been seeing each other seven months before.

Glamour noted that this is a “fun exercise in modernity,” mostly evident in celebrity posts. Also, the reason why people prefer announcing their relationships on IG is because you only need to tag one person and add a cheeky caption. Whereas on Facebook, both of you need to approve the dreaded relationship status request.

However, becoming Instagram official brings up the “if there’s no proof, how do we know it’s real” mentality. Social media has become such a huge part of our lives that many people use it to get updates on just about anything. A New York Times opinion piece titled “Are You Really in Love If It’s Not on Instagram?” touched on this topic, saying that couples don’t seem bothered by wanting to publicize the small joys of their relationship on a daily basis. “Do people do it to mark territory? To make their person feel good? To show others that someone is worthy of love, but—hold up—you’ve already chosen them?” the article reads.

It also becomes complicated when, for example, you post a photo with a male or female friend. People might automatically assume that you’re dating, unless you blatantly state in your caption, “BFFs forever!” (Don’t forget the heart and poop emojis because friendship!) This may be because if you post anything equal to “hyper-modern public display of affection,” even when it’s platonic, it’s like telling everyone that this is your person in the photo. Or as Glamour cites, this behavior is called “mate-guarding.”

Personally, I find Instagram official posts unnecessary, especially if it should be done just to quench everyone’s curiosity. A relationship should be a mutual understanding between you and your partner, not the couple and the entire world. It’s like what Wil Dasovich said when he confirmed his relationship with Alodia Gosiengfiao: A relationship doesn’t need public confirmation if it’s already obvious that you two are together.

Before you call me a kill joy, I also think that we should let people do their thing when it comes to posting cheesy photos with their significant others. At the same time, people shouldn’t question their status if they don’t post as often as expected. Remember that couples—regardless if they’re your friends or celebrities—don’t owe you sh*t when it comes to their private lives.


Art by Marian Hukom

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