19 Glaring Social Media Red Flags In Relationships You Should Never Ignore

Unhealthy Relationship | | , Content Writer & Strategist
Updated On: November 29, 2023
social media red flags in relationships

Scrolling and swiping on social media has become an integral part of modern relationships. Follow the latest trends, share funny reels, or flaunt your partner a little. But what if that double tap or status update reveals more than you hoped for? Are you questioning the authenticity of your partner’s online persona? Do you find yourself wondering if their behavior online aligns with their actions in real life? It’s time to know about the social media red flags in relationships to maintain a healthy and thriving connection with your partner.

If you are noticing secretive behaviors, excessive flirtation, or inappropriate interactions online, don’t underestimate their significance. This could be a big deal. Being aware of these signs is important when it comes to safeguarding the strength of your serious relationship. Here are 19 red flags on social media you must keep in mind to protect your bond and foster a loving and secure digital presence.

19 Glaring Social Media Red Flags In Relationships You Should Never Ignore

Table of Contents

Uncovering signs of relationship insecurity on social media can be eye-opening. Establishing clear social media boundaries in relationships is the bare minimum. A couple of red flags for online dating can be discovering that your partner has secret social media accounts, or witnessing their interactions with exes. 

It is natural to wonder, “Does social media affect relationships in a negative way?” Yes, it can. However, according to Jean M. Twenge, a popular American psychologist, social media is not real life. Remember, what you see online may not always reflect the reality of someone. However, every social media major red flag ahead can still affect relationships in real life.

What's your biggest relationship red flag on social media?

1. Sharing inappropriate pictures and private relationship moments is one of the most glaring red flags on social media

It’s time to discuss one of the most blatant warning signs on social media. Uploading inappropriate pictures of you two together should not take place without your consent. Sharing their own inappropriate photos with somebody online indicates that your partner might be cheating on you, or that they are violating someone else’s boundaries.

  • Have an open conversation about what online behavior is appropriate and respectful
  • Be cautious if their picture-sharing habits seem to shift from fun moments to overly revealing content about your relationship and you in public
  • When your partner disregards your feelings and posts personal content that makes you uncomfortable, it’s time to express your concerns about your love life

Related Reading: What His Instagram Account Tells You About Him

2. Your partner posts flirty comments on other people’s posts, but not yours

Your partner readily engages in leaving flirty comments on other people’s posts too. This raises questions and doubts about their intentions and commitment for your relationship.

  • Pay attention to the signs of Instagram flirting. Is your partner constantly leaving flirty comments on other posts? Because this form of online flirting can jeopardize the trust and emotional security within your relationship
  • Engaging in flirting or sexual behavior with others through social media is considered unacceptable behavior in a relationship for many folks. Research suggests that these actions are considered similar to infidelity and can cause feelings of betrayal, hurt, and insecurity
  • Introspect on this: Are you okay with your partner harmlessly flirting with others as long as they also maintain the same dynamic with you in public? 

3. They ignore you on social media completely even though you both follow each other

Lena, a dancer from Colorado, shares with us, “I was committed to someone, and everything seemed perfect. But I started noticing that he doesn’t engage with me on social media publicly. It made me wonder why my boyfriend doesn’t comment on my pictures/posts or even ‘like’ them but can always be found under other people’s public updates.”

Do they not want your friends and family to know about you two? Are they hiding your relationship from someone specific? If it’s not a new relationship, and if they are reasonably active on social media, these are fair questions to think about.

Infographic on social media red flags in relationships
Keep an eye out for these social media red flags

4. There’s no picture of you on their social media even after though you’re in a serious relationship

Let’s talk about the modern-day puzzler: If he doesn’t post you on social media or if she refuses to post even one photo of you anywhere on her socials (but has plenty with her friends and family), what do you do? This could make you question your relationship’s health and feel left out. Such social media habits of your partner can even leave you with low self-esteem and bad mental health.

  • A high school counselor from New Orleans shares with us, “I often have students in my office and they’ll start their concerns like this: ‘I just want to know why my girlfriend or boyfriend doesn’t post me on social media?’ If someone posts photos with everyone else except their partners, I consider it one of the potential relationship red flags.”
  • When your partner constantly avoids sharing moments with you on social media, it indicates a lack of willingness to celebrate your relationship publicly
  • A Reddit user mentioned that a major red flag is when your partner acts single on social networks. If they keep their relationship status vague, it shows their reluctance to publicize their commitment or that they are keeping their options open

However, remember that your real-life relationship is one of a kind, and comparing it to the flashy posts of couples who post a lot on social media won’t do justice to its authenticity.

Related Reading: Why Does My Husband Look At Other Females Online? Solution And Tips

5. One of the red flags for online dating is that they are still hung up on their ex

You can’t help but notice that your lover seems to have their ex locked in their mind. They spend some part of their day talking to the same person online or constantly post photos of them together on social media. 

  • Ryan, 28, an inventory manager, shares, “I would often think about why my boyfriend keeps looking at the same girl. He’s been excessively focused on his online life with her.” This is toxic behavior and is not a healthy relationship sign
  • Too much PDA with the other person on social media shows that they might not be loyal to you or might still have feelings for their ex

6. Your partner hides their social media activity frequently

Is your partner frequently hiding their social media activity? Don’t brush it off as a mere coincidence. Trust your instincts because this behavior typically raises some very serious issues. Look more closely because, trust us, this is one of the biggest red flags on social media. 

  • Notice those mysterious disappearing messages or unexplained long response times? It could be more than “just a technical glitch”
  • Your partner may not have much of a following online, yet they have turned off their comments. You’ve never seen anyone interact with them online ever since you’ve both started dating. Find out why
  • When your partner starts erasing their history, pay attention. Whether it’s old photos, comments, or entire conversations, there might be more to the story than meets the eye

7. A big warning sign: They engage in cyberbullying or online harassment

Avoid anyone, not just your partner, who engages in reprehensible actions such as cyberbullying or harassment. Toxic tendencies and such attention-seeking behavior should never be ignored if you want a healthy relationship, especially in the context of social media where the effects can be profound. 

  • Make it crystal clear that cyberbullying is unacceptable, not only toward you but toward anyone else online. Set a standard of respect and kindness as a human
  • If they continue to display threatening or harassing behavior toward other online users, it’s time to deal with the problem directly

8. Your partner has secret social media accounts or fake profiles

Let’s be honest – All of us have had at least one fake account at some point in our lives. We’ve all been there, hiding behind the anonymity of a fake account just for kicks or for some heartbroken spying. But what if your partner has not just one secret account, but too many fake profiles up their sleeve? Things start to look suspicious at that point. 

Keeping secrets of harmless nature is one thing, but when a little social media stalking turns into a double life situation, it’s time to cut through the lies. If your partner has secret social media accounts, some concerns around this behavior are: They might be trolling a few people or pages, they might be leading a double life of sorts that may not have anything to do with cheating, or they might even be a financial scammer.

Related Reading: Instead Of Making These Social Media Mistakes As A Couple, Do This…

9. They monitor your every move

Does your partner monitor your every move on social media, scrutinizing every like, comment, or share? This behavior might point to a rocky road ahead. Charles, a reader from Missouri, shares with us, “My ex used to say, ‘It’s not you, it’s social media addiction!’ But no, it was her — It was her decision to be controlling every single day. I couldn’t post anything on social media fearing her reaction.” 

  • Constant checks on your online activity, from who you’re interacting with to what posts you are liking becomes less about love and more about control. This often reveals signs of relationship insecurity on social media – Signs a man has a fragile ego or of a woman being too possessive
  • Does your partner often get upset over harmless interactions that you indulge in online? If every friendly comment becomes a battlefield, that’s a strong sign of a controlling relationship
  • If they’re invading your digital privacy, asking for your social media passwords, or reading your private messages, it’s a clear-cut invasion of your boundaries
signs of relationship insecurity on social media
If they try to keep a tab on your every move on social media, it’s a sure-shot red flag

10. They won’t follow you back on social media

Ever wondered why they won’t hit that ‘Follow’ button? When a guy doesn’t add you on social media or your girl doesn’t follow you back after promising she will, it’s time to delve deeper into the underlying implications. It’s not about seeking their attention; this (lack of) action might hold the key to understanding their approach to love and relationships.

  • While everyone deserves their space, an unwillingness to connect on social media might raise eyebrows. Are they keeping you at arm’s length for legitimate reasons, or are they hiding something more?
  • The reluctance to follow you might indicate a deeper fear of commitment in real life too. Understanding their social media behavior can offer insight into their approach to relationships

11. They won’t follow your family members or close friends

Liam, a 25-year-old shopping assistant, shares with us, “Social networking is all about sharing memorable events from your life and interacting with your loved ones. So if your partner seems to avoid following individuals who are the most important to you, after many months of being in a serious relationship, it’s necessary to take a step back and evaluate the situation. 

“That’s what I had to do with my ex. She and I didn’t last long after that.” Liam is right. Such behavior may be a huge warning that something is not right. 

  • If they’re following every random account under the sun but neglecting your loved ones, it’s time to question their intentions. It might be more than just an innocent oversight
  • While privacy is essential, a partner unwilling to connect with your loved ones might be concealing something
  • Ask what makes them hesitant to follow your loved ones before you jump to conclusions, though

12. Your partner compares you to social media influencers constantly

If they keep measuring you against picture-perfect influencers, it’s essential to address the unrealistic standards they are imposing on your relationship. It’s time to decode what his social media says about him or how her portrayal of you through her Instagram affects your relationship. These could be signs of a very toxic relationship in the making.

  • Do they constantly seek validation and approval from influencers? This could indicate their underlying insecurities and a need for external validation, which might impact your personal connection
  • When social media takes precedence over enjoying real moments with you, it’s time to assess where their priorities lie

Related Reading: 15 Valuable Tips To Save Yourself From Catfishing

13. One of the red flags on social media is that their DMs are full of unknown people

This one is definitely an eyebrow-raiser. When their direct messages include a sea of strangers, it might be more than just innocent social networking. Step out of the dark and into the light because this is a flashing red signal on social media. 

  • When their DMs are filled with people you’ve never heard of, it’s worth investigating. Transparency is key, so trust your instincts, and address any suspicions openly
  • If you notice your partner spending time with these unknown individuals, it’s time to question the nature of their interactions – Is it cheating, is it something illegal, or is it just some strange fixation or inappropriate hobby they’ve not told you about?

14. They speak against the human rights of some groups

Do you ever have a nagging feeling after your partner posts offensive images or content? Well, you’re definitely not overreacting. This is one of the most common Instagram red flags. Posting content is all good until it starts to stir discomfort in your romantic relationships due to the bigoted nature of the other person’s opinions.

  • Don’t bottle up your feelings. Talk to your partner about the political posts that make you uneasy
  • You’ll need to speak up if you want to be an ally to the causes you care about
  • Tell your partner to respect others and to follow social media etiquette in general. Tell them they can’t post content that encourages racism, sexism, queerphobia, ableism, etc. If they do, that’s a relationship deal-breaker

15. They engage in online stalking or snooping on others

While curiosity is natural, crossing boundaries in the digital realm can lead to serious issues. Online stalking, let’s face it, is a major warning sign that shouldn’t be disregarded. Have a heart-to-heart with your partner if they seem more like a creepy version of Sherlock Holmes than a supportive companion.

  • If your partner spends hours scrolling through others’ profiles, dissecting every post and interaction, it might be time to address their online stalking habits
  • Do they compulsively check your friends’ and acquaintances’ profiles or frequently look up your exes, as well as stalk their own? If yes, then it’s time to talk about the need for healthy boundaries for the sake of their own mental health
Unrequited Love

16. Your partner is jealous of what you post online – Whether it’s about your social life or career

We’re not talking about the occasional jealousy stab. In an era where social media is a considerable part of our lives, your partner’s jealousy over your posts can turn into a major strain on your love life. 

  • If every post you make results in a barrage of questions about who, what, when, and why, then they are questioning your loyalty 
  • They may be jealous of your career or work environment. So, despite seeing your achievements on social media, they remain noticeably silent, even when they’ve been active all day and you’ve shared your accomplishments with them directly
  • When your partner’s jealousy translates into negative comments or reactions to your posts, it’s a significant sign they’re not handling it well. Talk to them about this openly

17. One of the main signs of relationship trouble on social media is that their online persona is a lie

Why do people need social media rules for relationships? In case their partners lie on social media about who they are. In a healthy relationship, authenticity and connection go beyond the digital facade. Notice these signs if you want to build a love that thrives both online and offline:

  • On social media, they’re the epitome of affection, showering you with heart emojis and poetic captions. In real life, their actions are cold, and they rarely express their feelings
  • Your partner constantly shares lovey-dovey posts about you publicly. Offline, they rarely engage in meaningful conversations with you
  • They subscribe to certain ideals and beliefs online, but in reality, they do the opposite. E.g., they pretend to be vegan online while enjoying a bowl of chicken soup unironically

Related Reading: Has Your Relationship Been Taken Over By Social Media?

18. If they are purposely making you feel insecure, it is a deal-breaker

Don’t let this one slide. Let’s explore this social media red flag by watching out for their behavior on various platforms. There are some social media rules on relationships that you can decide between yourselves. 

  • Are there any Facebook flirting signs? Are they following multiple social media accounts of attractive strangers? If you notice an overly friendly interest in the people they interact with, it’s time to address the discomfort
  • One of the main social media red flags in relationships is if he keeps adding female friends on Instagram or if she keeps following a large number of handsome gentlemen. It can raise concerns about their intentions and the potential impact on your relationship
  • If your partner continually makes you feel bad about their actions despite you explaining your feelings, it might be time to say goodbye

19. They mock your posts on social media a lot of times

Ever felt that your partner’s behavior on social media doesn’t quite align with how they treat you in person? It’s a puzzling situation many can probably relate to.

  • They confidently challenge your posts from behind a screen but avoid confrontation in person, leaving you questioning their true feelings
  • Those frequent laughter emojis seem like harmless teasing at first, but you start to wonder if there’s more to their laughter
  • Even though they are vocal online, you’ve never seen them support your views in your tweets or posts. They act more like a troll toward you
partner has secret social media accounts
Do they happen to make fun of your social media content a lot?

What to do when you spot social media red flags in a relationship?

Even if you know the red flags for online dating, it’s still a complex journey, requiring thoughtful consideration. Now that you have identified at least one of them in your partner, what’s your next move? Is it toxic to ask your partner to block someone? Or to not post a certain type of content? Take a deep breath, we are here to guide you. 

Approach the situation with care and communication. Remember, a healthy relationship is built on trust and respect. So, find the courage to address these issues, and don’t settle for anything less than the love and respect you deserve.

Related Reading: Unfriending On Social Media: 6 Tips On How To Do It Politely

  • Be honest with your partner: When you spot their red flags on social media, initiate an open and calm conversation with your partner. Ask questions like, “I noticed some changes in your online behavior. Can we talk about it?” 
  • Seek an outside perspective: Seek guidance from a trusted friend or a relationship counselor. They might offer a fresh perspective or ask questions you hadn’t considered
  • Take time to assess the situation: Avoid rushing to judgment without proper examination. Take a step back and reflect on your feelings, thoughts, and the evidence at hand. Ask yourself questions like “What triggered this concern related to her social media?” or “Should I care about whom my boyfriend follows on Instagram?” 
  • Evaluate the state of your relationship: Evaluate where your partnership stands, asking questions like “Are we both committed to working through challenges together?” or “What aspects of our relationship and love life need attention?” 
  • Discuss resolutions together: Treat red flags as opportunities to renovate and improve your relationship. Instead of pointing fingers, collaborate with your partner to identify solutions 
  • Maintain constant communication: Beyond addressing red flags, have open conversations about your feelings, expectations, and boundaries concerning social media
  • Consider a social media break: Together, explore the beauty of quality time spent without online interference. Discuss your goals for the break. Going silent on social media can deepen your connection and rediscover each other without the virtual world
  • Spend quality time without phones: Give your partner your undivided attention. Create an atmosphere of presence and mindfulness, allowing yourselves to savor the moments shared. Think about the activities you both enjoy that can strengthen your bond
  • Take a break from each other (temporarily): A temporary relationship break can provide both partners with a chance to gain clarity and rediscover themselves. Use this break as an opportunity to evaluate your individual needs 
  • Address personal anxieties: Seek professional help or engage in self-reflection. Consider the fears that might be influencing your thoughts and how you can build self-confidence. By nurturing your emotional well-being, you can become more resilient in navigating red flags like above

Key Pointers

  • Navigating the world of social media in relationships is crucial for maintaining a thriving connection. Paying attention to the warning signs in your partner’s internet use can have a significant impact on your relationship’s well-being
  • You might see social media red flags in your partner like secretive DMs with strangers, an obsession with stalking many accounts, lingering feelings for an ex, being a completely different person online and offline, etc.
  • Take the time to assess the situation before making any decisions. Approach concerns with honesty and seek an outside perspective for valuable insights
  • Keep communication alive, be each other’s support, and don’t shy away from addressing concerns
  • Take joint social media breaks or spend quality time without phones to reinforce your connection. Setting social media boundaries in relationships is critical right from the start

So, does social media affect relationships? Yes, it obviously does. Moving forward, remember that specific advice cannot replace genuine attention. Pay attention to your partner’s actions and navigate social media’s terrain with sensitivity. By incorporating these suggestions and through open conversations, you’ll foster a more balanced and connected relationship experience.

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