sex & relationships

Expectation vs Reality: Are online images of ‘perfect’ relationships a misrepresentation of real life?

Written by Emily Baker

It can be pretty damaging. For young girls in particular, the pressure to look and dress a certain way is already overwhelming. It’s pasted all over social media and in the magazines we read. And now that unrealistic standards now include sex and relationships, the risk of harm is ever expanding.

No matter at what stage in your life it arises, for most of us there is a poignant time where we begin to think about love, romantic relationships, and sex. For me, it was around the age of 16. I guess you could say social media didn’t really affect me that much – but that’s the benefit of a shitty internet connection and not having a smart phone.

It goes without saying, that a lot of what we see online can unconsciously affect us, and it has the power to seriously warp our judgements, whatever age we are.

But then, of course, we have to accept that it is all part of the modern, online world we live in, and one that isn’t ceasing to slow down anytime soon. Should we just accept it? Accept the fact that our future children are going to learn most things from their phones, despite what we try to teach them? Primary school children now all have their own iPhones, and access to every inch of the web.

It’s hard to say whether something as seemingly small as an image of a happy couple could have a large or damaging affect to someone.

Expectation vs reality

Maybe all these images do is teach us to be more adventurous in trying new ideas. Dating is now all about being online, especially with the introduction of Tinder.

Is there any good in all of it? When it comes to dates, surely there’s nothing wrong with merely taking inspiration from an image or post you see online, right? And maybe there isn’t.

But if it makes you insecure about anything in your life, or if you end up comparing your own relationship to a random image online, of a couple you’ve never met, or may not even exist – you should remember something.

And that is that there really is no ‘way’ to date someone or to have a ‘normal’ relationship, because you’ll find the things you love doing, with someone you love.