Faking love for the 'gram

By PENDA HONEYGHAN

Monday, April 22, 2019

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THESE days, everybody is obsessed with creating the perfect life on social media. And while this fixation applies to almost every aspect of one's life, the scrutiny turns up a notch on matters of love. In fact, successful relationships are these days measured by the number of pictures posted, the accompanying captions, and just how romantic the pictures get. For people who choose to keep their relationships private, others automatically assume that their relationships are miserable and they're unhappy. But this deduction, according to sex therapist Dr Sydney McGill, couldn't be farther from the truth.

He noted that people will go to any length, even fabricating their idea of the perfect love story, while living in hell for the 'gram.

“Everything in life has its opposite and its counterfeit. In the current technological age, the social media platform opens the door to everyone to broadcast local news, fake news, opinions, impressions and wishes. It provides an alternate reality to be whatever your imagination can conceive especially when 'likes' come a dime a dozen,” Dr McGill said.

He said that social media has the ability to whitewash the harsh realities of life and encourages denial, and many couples, especially when they have social media relationships, smile and hold each other lovingly for the camera lens, all while feeling nothing but utter disgust for each other.

“Denial in the psychological sense is a defence mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality, at least while maintaining a current social media presence,” Dr McGill explained.

He said that if you are gullible when viewing social media content, you may fall into the trap that many others do – judging yourself harshly because of someone else's doctored perfectly happy relationship.

“The reality is that everyone has their crap to deal with. This does not mean that they must stay miserable all day long. Learn that the couple, in between every smiling post on social media, may have harsh words for each other, may not share the same bed, cheats on each other, and even lies to each other. Instead of drooling over what may in reality be an abusive relationship, you should smash the illusion and wake up to the reality that life has its joys and pains and living inside social media soap operas are a distraction from everyday reality and just plain fiction,” Dr McGill advised.

He said that envying a relationship that is built on pretence on social media can interfere with your ability to enjoy your partner, to love, encourage and strengthen him/her.

What real love looks like

Just to make sure that you are clear on what a healthy picture of love looks like, Dr McGill shared some tips on what real love looks like below:

1. Couples establish a healthy way of communicating and dealing with difficult situations and challenges. This way, Dr McGill says, you know that what you have is not just real, but is healthy and able to withstand the many challenges that you can encounter.

2. The relationship embodies traits such as integrity, trust, honesty, forgiveness, respect, compassion, kindness, care and loyalty. Where the opposite obtains, then you may be dealing with infatuation or a toxic type of obsession.

3. If one or both partners is/are selfish, then love is most certainly absent. In a relationship, both parties must support and lift up each other. Where true love exists, both parties are usually willing to make sacrifices and make compromises in an effort to make the other happy.

4. Love is a verb. This means that it's not about lip service; it is not a matter of what you say out loud but how you treat your partner. Any action that brings harm to your partner physically or emotionally does not represent love.

5. Love is unconditional and as such, this means that there are no limitations. This means that once the habits are not hurtful to you or cause you pain, then you won't try to change your partner. Love understands and accepts differences.

6. If ever you are in a relationship and you find yourself constantly unhappy, feeling bad or even sorry for yourself, then you should know that this is non-representative of love. So if you find that your partner's actions such as jealousy, or being constantly criticised or belittled are features of your relationship, it is obvious that what exists is not love. Love is empathetic and kind.


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