real life

Six ways a relationship can be ruined by social media.

Social media is fascinating with its ability to spark different emotions, especially when it comes to relationships. Whether it’s a friendship, business, dating, marital bond, etc. there are people on social media that are often times offended in some way by others.

Many people scour the internet for information to share lead to emotions including anger or discontent. This tends to happen on social media networks that are more personally connected such as Facebook. For example, with a Facebook account, you’re more likely to have friends that actually know you on a personal level, as opposed to a platform such as Twitter with random people connecting to you.

After careful scouting different platforms, ticking off my fair share of folks, and just having conversations with people, I’ve detected these six reasons why relationships are ruined via social media.

social media relationship
"I wish that people could talk freely about race, religion, and politics without so much divisiveness." Image via iStock.

1. Race Issues, Religion, or Politics

I’ve seen blood boil countless times when the subjects of race, religion or politics are at the forefront on social media. These conversations have been lightning rods even before Facebook and Twitter became available to us. For some reason, people often get offended because they find these topics uncomfortable and sometimes annoying. They have the ability to destroy friendships and bring out the worst in people at times.

History tells us whether it’s online or offline, a heated discussion equivalent to a ticking time bomb is likely to occur. I wish people could talk freely about race, religion, and politics without so much divisiveness. Whether you agree or disagree with what someone has to say about these topics, it could serve as understanding others point of view which could lessen any possible conflict.

2. Engaging in Inappropriate Content

One of the quickest ways to the destruction of almost any relationship on social media is to be involved in what may be perceived as inappropriate content. This could be something of a sexual nature, such as a pornographic video or picture. I see this far too often, where someone shares something of this manner to see if they can get a reaction from someone. It might be time to hit the “unfriend” button and eliminate that person from your circle if this occurs.


revenge porn on facebook
"Sometimes giving too much information about your mate can come back and bite you in the tail." Image via iStock.

3. Talking About Your Relationships Publicly

A quick relationship killer is spreading your personal business across social media for everyone to see. For example, when a couple is dating and one of them is giving detailed accounts of their relationship via Facebook. How can anyone maintain a healthy connection by letting the world know every detail about their relationship? I’m not talking about the occasional photo or video share but twenty-four-hour news coverage about your relationship can be detrimental.

What if you are a very private person who puts in 1000% effort into your relationship? Assuming you are a stand-up person and not trying to hide anything but just a real quiet person about your involvement out of respect for him or her. You’re not even on social media but find out they're on Snapchat giving play-by-play accounts of your entire dealings. You might be the type of person that will end the relationship over that scenario.

Sometimes giving too much information about your mate can come back and bite you in the tail. I have known a woman for over 20 years who has experienced this type of embarrassment. She was a recently-divorced mother of two who enjoyed telling the world about her every move with her new boyfriend. By all accounts, she was excited and felt the need to post on Facebook several times a day about her new relationship over six consecutive months. I’m sure many of her ‘friends’ were excited as I was for her but knowing how people on social media operate, it probably was annoying to some, as well.


Fast track to about one year later when I noticed that she left Facebook temporarily. I didn’t know exactly why but I suspected there was a breakup. A few months later she was back but with a new guy and happy again. This time I did notice that she didn’t mention very much about her new relationship.

Don't secretly direct message somebody else. Image iStock.

4. Secretly Direct Messaging

Personal relationships can be tarnished when you are discreetly direct messaging someone you KNOW you shouldn’t be messaging. When a person finds out that their mate has secretly DMd a former lover, then problems will ensue. The same effects are possible when it’s a random message that can be taken out of context.

Direct messaging someone for the purpose of “romance” could be an automatic violation of a primary relationship. A really good friend of mine once told me how multiple mutual friends of ours would often send her sexual requests. She told me that she has a “two strike” rule for that type of behaviour and then unfriends the person. It scared her when it happened and she has vowed to never speak to the guys again. One guy who was messaging her was married . . . but isn’t anymore since his wife found out. He destroyed a 17-year marriage over his sexual secrets, all tied to his Facebook private messages.

5. Trying to Sell Something Constantly

It can be quite bothersome when someone attempts to sell something to you while you are socialising online. Any community with a massive user base will have the potential for buying power. The social media users are a precious commodity for advertisers. The cost of doing business online can definitely infuriate people because it may interfere with the user experience. More than likely, that user didn’t sign up to be sold to. Selling to someone without some sort of a relationship may tick off a person and wreck any future chances to build a rapport.


One unnamed internet marketer comes to mind who has apparently done pretty well for himself. I really like what he does and the information that he shares especially the free stuff which are the blog posts and the podcast episodes. Once upon a time I even signed up for his newsletter which is great because overall he gives a lot of value. My issue with his entire brand is that he tries to sell stuff like his courses and classes every chance he gets on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I understand internet marketing pretty well and the costs involved with everything but I get so turned off when he tries to sell me stuff all the time. Some comments on his social media pages suggest that a few of his other followers were getting annoyed occasionally as well. I actually unsubscribed from his mailing list because I was getting multiple emails a week about his many offerings.

The Year We Filmed Everything on Mamamia Out Loud. (Post continues after audio.)

6. Flirting

I personally know of dating relationships and even some marriages that have ended because of flirting. There are eyes always watching for these type of transgressions along with people who get easily annoyed receiving unwanted attention.

Secretly messaging someone can kill a relationship because it can be viewed as being dishonest. The entire process is done privately because the Facebook Messenger app allows you to inbox friends in anonymity. Flirting can often be done publicly, too, whether it’s blatant or not.

Just because you engage on social media by liking, sharing, or commenting doesn’t mean malice was intended. But every once in a while you may find that someone has aggressive activity on your posts, especially if they’re only a casual friend or a friend of a friend perhaps. This happens more on Facebook but can be the case for Instagram too because it’s a personal platform and both are intertwined.

I’m sure there are more ways a relationship can be ruined on social media that I didn’t mention so please feel free to add to the discussion. I’m not for certain the root of each one that I’ve mentioned but emotions certainly play a role in how people feel about each other especially in the case of social media nowadays. I can’t imagine that these feelings will change anytime soon because as humans we are just naturally temperamental. We are also consumed with whatever is happening on our mobile devices because so much of our attention is spent engaging on our favorite social media network. When so much time and energy is invested into something then our instincts are affected whether it’s positively or negatively and it seems to be that way using social media.

This post originally appeared on The Good Men Project and was republished here with full permission.