The Real Stories Behind Those Happy Social Media Posts

There is this film personality based in Kolkata who is never seen in a single photograph without his wife. Be it their holiday snaps, them attending an event that makes it to Page 3, his film premiere photos or for that matter any other photo in any corner of the world, they are always together. They’ve been married for more than two decades, wear colour co-ordinated clothes and their smiles would give the jar of sugar standing on your kitchen table stiff competition.

Related reading: Here is why you can’t fix bad relationships with fake smiles

The real life story is often different from what’s up on social media

But that’s all about how things are projected on Facebook, Twitter and Page 3. Those who know them a bit well would swear by the roving eye of the man, resulting in his wife’s obsession to stick to him and to be seen everywhere with him. On the other hand, if the wife’s out with her girl gang on a rare occasion, he would keep calling her up to find out when she would be home.

I was part of this girl gang once and I didn’t know whether to find that repeated phone call cute or obsessive. I had shared my thoughts with a friend who worked in the film industry.

She laughed for five long minutes and when I was bursting at the seams with curiosity she finally told me, “He must have invited some starlet home since his wife was out and this was his way of checking when she would be back.”

At that time I was stunned. But over the years so many times it has happened that I have looked at a couple photo on FB and read the mush they were dishing out to each other on occasions like a birthday or anniversary and I just cringed, because so many times I have known the inside story lurking behind that photograph.

Related reading: I’m unhappy in my arranged marriage and live a fake life on social media

Are they feeling insecure?

I might get brickbats for stating this, but I have seen that the more frequently couples put up loved-up snaps on social media, the greater is the possibility of projecting an image that is not so in reality. A study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin said: On a daily basis, when people felt more insecure about their partner’s feelings, they tended to make their relationships visible.

Are they feeling insecure?
Are they feeling insecure?

A couple I know go on trips abroad at least thrice a year and now, with their one-year-old daughter in tow, the trips have gone up to even four-five. The family photos on these trips have comments like: “Awww! How cute” or “What a lovely family!”

This same man, the father of the cute one-year-old, I had once asked, “Your daughter had fever yesterday. How is she now?”

He looked at me like I had announced the arrival of aliens to this planet.

“Fever?? Who told you?” he asked.

“Your wife. I had called her,” I replied.

Then with an oh-I-get-it smile he said, “When I return home they are asleep. And nowadays I sleep in a separate room because I have to get up early and leave. That’s why I don’t know what’s going on at home most of the time.”

His wife told me the only time they are together is during those 4-day holidays, 4 times a year.

His wife told me the only time they are together is during those 4-day holidays, 4 times a year.

Otherwise their existence is pretty much individualistic. She is responsible for home and daughter. He is responsible for the business and holidays.

And not just with the children

So you can imagine what goes on in my head when I see their holiday photos on FB now. Especially when I see those snaps where he is rocking his daughter on his tummy or drinking juice from the same glass as his wife with two different straws with a perfectly blue sea in the backdrop.

And not just with the children
And not just with the children

A friend of mine, Ritwika (name changed) says that she feels like puking every time she sees this couple’s selfies on FB exploring some exotic locale in the world crushed in each other’s arms. Both the husband and wife were her childhood friends. She had even stayed with them when she went to Delhi and they were perfect hosts. Once when they were in Kolkata, the three of them met at a restaurant on Park Street, had some drinks and dinner and it was decided they would stay over at her place for the night.

“It’s a decision I always regretted,” said Ritwika.

The husband started behaving funnily and asked right in front of the wife if he could kiss Ritwika. The wife, instead of protesting, behaved very casually and said with a smile, “You can slap him if you want.”

Ritwika was so taken aback at their behaviour she did not know how to react. The guy kept following her around the house – to the kitchen, to the bedroom – and kept telling her to kiss him. “I should have kicked them out of my house then and there but I don’t know why I bothered about the friendship so much then.”

Ritwika said that she later on heard that the husband had behaved like that with a few other common friends too and it seemed to be an accepted behaviour for the wife.

Today a party, tomorrow a divorce

Today a party, tomorrow a divorce
Today a party, tomorrow a divorce

But the last story that I will share with you takes the cake. There was this photo of a guy treating his wife at a five-star-hotel on her birthday. Just about six months later there were snaps up on his wall of his second marriage. I was totally confused, because I had no clue that he’d had a divorce in the first place and that memory of that chef-baked heart-shaped chocolate cake on his wife’s birthday was so fresh in my mind. In fact, I realised that photo had been actually uploaded at a time when they were probably hanging on to the last shreds of the relationship.

I am the last person to be judgemental about relationships. Everyone has the right to live their lives on their own terms. Or this is not to say that every couple photo is about projected happiness. That is not true either. But when the real-life stories become diametrically opposite to the social media stories, you tend to become a bit cynical. When someone starts uploading too many couple or even happy family photos on social media I keep thinking, so what’s amiss now?

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