Do you feel that people judge your relationship? This feeling is quite common, specifically with the case of social media. We get to see people’s lives through what people post, comment, and share. However, what we see and what we don’t see in social media can impact us. It is crucial to learn how to handle how we perceive that others may or may not judge our relationship based on social media. And most importantly, how we feel about our relationship and ourselves based on social media.
The feeling that others are judging us can come from whether we feel like we are doing the right thing or not.
Many times we wonder if our relationship is progressing as it should. These expectations that we have in our heads often make us doubt our partner, relationship, or even our worth or decisions.
The first thing is I would invite you tho think about is, if people are judging you, what are the reasons for which you will take their comments? Everyone has something to say about our relationships, whether they agree or disagree, like or dislike it, what they think we should do or not do. The main question is if we are open to taking on this feedback. Here are some steps as to how to start critically thinking about these:
- Evaluate the people who are making this comment. You can determine if the person sharing this feedback is doing so because they have a concern, an observation, or are well-intentioned. Not everyone who comments on our relationship has good intentions. In other cases, or maybe they mean well, but their perception is not currently relevant to our relationship.
- Reflect on the intention behind the comment. What is the purpose behind the feedback? Is it an attitude of criticism? Is it a desire to control your relationship? Or maybe to control you? It might feel uncomfortable to sit with these questions, especially because some of these motivations can be unconscious for some people. However, it’s essential to give them some thought to decide the attention and emotional energy to invest in this feedback.
- Analyze if it’s a social construct of what a relationship should be. There are many ideas about “how a relationship should be.” Constructs around having a specific title, how long it should last before moving to the next stage, or that a relationship should look a particular way. Some constructs say that relationships should be for marriage or having kids. These expectations can make people feel like things are not well in the relationship if these goals are not a part of it. These social narratives are very damaging; they can make you question things that may be good and healthy.
- Decide what you want to do with the feedback. You always have the last word as to what you choose to do with people’s comments. You can choose if you want to make it a part of your relationship or not. You can always say, “Hey, thanks a lot for the comment, I know it came from a good place. However, it doesn’t apply to my relationship, goals, or what I’ve talked about with my partner.” We can set as many internal or external boundaries as we might need. These can look like: “Please don’t make that comment again.” Or we can also say, “I have this goal with my partner, and we have discussed it. These are our boundaries and our plans, and I want to trust them. If I want to change something, I will discuss it with my partner and process it with them.”
What if others are not judging us, but still feel that pressure?
We may compare ourselves with other couples. We may pay attention to how other partners manage gift-giving or the messages they post on social media. We may look at other couples who show up in a particular way or those who might be taking further steps in their relationship, such as getting engaged. These observations can create questions about we might not be taking those steps with our partner. Then, we begin to question whether or not we are doing things right. These are some points in which we can reflect when this happens:
- Not everything that shows up on social media is real. I’ve worked with people whose relationships appear to be like fairytales; however, they have their hidden problems. This situation doesn’t mean that they aren’t good relationships. Still, people are selective as to what they show in social media. It’s not always common to find people willing to share out in the open their relationship struggles. It is not helpful to compare your relationship with others because we never really know what they are going through.
- Evaluate if there is a real problem in your relationship. Think about whether your fears or concerns come up because there is really a problem in your relationship. Perhaps you have been compromising specific values, goals, or desires to accommodate your partner and/or maintain this idea of having a perfect or mature relationship. This desire to keep up with appearances might happen because you don’t want to disappoint the people around you. So, it is essential to reflect on this fear’s role, these doubts or resentments that you are experiencing as a possible indicator of something that is not right in the relationship.
- Self-doubt. Perhaps there is not something wrong with your relationship, but what is coming up for you is a reflection of self-doubt. This insecurity can make you feel like you are not enough. Maybe it’s bringing up the fear of what people might say about you or your relationship. You may also fear not knowing if you are making the right decision because you have made the wrong choices in the past. Several themes could be triggered, and although it’s a topic that we could talk about with our partner, it’s also an experience that we have to work on our own. It is essential to do this process before expecting the other person to change or calm our anxiety. A person can support you, but it won’t necessarily heal those wounds.
This inner work can happen through many different resources: books, workshops, or personal inner work—processes such as coaching or therapy. You deserve to have healthy relationships, and you deserve to feel that peace and confidence in what you are building with your partner and with your life. If you want to take the first step towards a healthier relationship, but don’t know how to start, let’s get in contact! I would love to share the resources that can put you in the direction of happier and more intentional relationships.