You may have heard a thing or two about Snapchat. Every day, hundreds of millions of pictures and videos are being shared daily. It all can seem quite innocent. But I learnt the hard way that a relationship can struggle to survive this mega social media phenomenon if a line isn’t drawn early on.
I had major issues in my long term relationship with Snapchat. I was originally uninterested in it, but my partner and friends had it and I was curious as to what all the hype was about. I downloaded it and added my main friends, including my partner and after a short while I got the hang of it – I still didn’t grasp the concept of sending work selfies and strategically placed food snaps to my friends – but I continued on the down-low and sent the odd photo to my friends. However, one day I noticed my partner got a Snapchat, from a woman we’ll call Anna*.
This is where the problems began. For starters, Anna was an amateur porn star who got her followers by sending crude photos of herself to the world (yes, my inner feminist was screaming out too), and while I knew she wasn’t sending snaps directly to my partner, more likely to all her “friends”, it still bothered me to see him open a Snapchat of a scantily clad woman in a compromising position and then for it to vanish in 10 seconds, or to see him viewing her story, which involved her giving the camera a lap dance – yes that’s correct – she was again wearing minimal clothing and dancing by herself in front of her camera for a 110 seconds. When I asked my partner what it was, he told me “Oh just an account my work friend told me to follow”, and that was it… I didn’t receive any further information and the subject was changed.
Can you imagine what’s going through my mind at this stage? Who was this woman? Who was the ‘friend’ who told him to follow such a person? Do I even know my own boyfriend? Is she sending him personal messages/snaps? Why was he looking at her? Did he always look at her posts? Did he look at it “alone”? Did he look at it before we…? Did he NEED to look at it? Could I ever dance like that? Should I be doing that for him? God - I thought of every single possible scenario under the sun, and it honestly ate at me for over a week. A stupid 10-second photo – that he would never see again (until she posted something else), and a 110 second video, that would be updated regularly?! Really, I was getting so upset about it and it made me even more upset that my partner thought this was normal because most of his mates were following her too (mind you the ‘mates’ in question were single and very much ‘players’).
So after going through the emotions of jealous, sad, hurt and angry, I came to the decision of “well, why can’t I do the same?”, if my douche of a boyfriend thinks that’s okay, I can do it too. So yes, I (admittedly, very immaturely) in my quest for revenge, followed a good looking male who like to send snaps and videos of his (perfect – might I add) washboard abs. I also made a point of not hiding it and looking at them in full view of my partner – AND OH MY GAWD DID HE GET MAD.
Of course I was the immoral one for looking at someone’s abs, meanwhile it was okay for him to look at a woman dancing with her nipples out?!
Watch: Twenty-Somethings on the tumultuous hell that is dating. Post continues after video.
We were both hurt by it, but I still think I had to do what I did to make him understand how I felt about it because even when I told him I didn’t like him following Anna*, he brushed it off like I was being a jealous b-tch, when in reality, I was hurt and completely lost the connection of trust we had so strongly built over the three years we had been together.
On the other hand, I also have friends in long term relationships where both partners have Snapchat, and they still have great relationships, but I can tell you 110 per cent that every single one of them (males included) have at some point felt jealousy or a sense of distrust towards their partners sent and received snaps.
I think it’s the concept of secrecy behind Snapchat, that once you see it that’s it. It’s not saved in your photos for your partner to see or question, and it’s definitely an avenue to push the boundaries by cheating on your partner with a 10-second stranger. That’s where the trust can be threatened in the relationship. I think for Snapchat to work for both partners, there needs to be clear rules laid out for what is and what isn’t acceptable (yes, it should be obvious, but to some it just isn’t!) and there should be transparency on both sides. I’m not saying you have to show each other every photo you receive (which also wouldn’t be possible once they’re gone), but I think at the very least, your partner has the right to know who you are sending and receiving snaps from. And if you can’t show them that then you definitely have something to hide.
In the end, we both decided to delete the app and while I can feel left out of some conversations with friends about ‘Oh that photo was so funny Sally*’ or ‘OMG, can you believe she posted that’, I really, really don’t regret our decision to delete the app – if anything, it made our relationship stronger because he realised it was a two way street - on-screen and off-screen – and we were able to build back our trust which is exactly how a relationship should be.
*Names have been changed so as not to identify the user.