Half of the millennials pretend to others that their relationship is happier than it really is, a new study finds.
We all know those couples who clog up our news feed with gushing statuses and inappropriate selfies but it turns out this kind of relationship bragging could be a way of masking insecurities.
An in-depth survey of more than 2,000 UK adults, carried out by relationship support charity Relate, revealed that more than half, 51 per cent, of millennials and nearly two thirds, 39 per cent, of the general public say they make their relationship look better to others than it really is.
What’s more, 42 per cent of millennials and 27 per cent of respondents admit to using social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram to give the impression that their relationship is perfect.
Earlier this year, Nikki Goldstein, a sexologist and relationship expert, claimed that this type of behaviour is a sign that someone is “seeking validation for their relationship from other people” and that taking relfies – relationship selfies – means that couples are missing out on important moments.
Madeleine Mason, a psychologist, dating coach and relationship expert agrees, stating that there are a number of reasons why couples want to portray success when things are less than rosy.
“People want attention, and positive stories are likely to be celebrated, liked and commented on,” she tells The Independent.
“In other cases, some feel pressurised to display success for fear of coming across as unsuccessful, and some people want to believe things are going well, so by curating a positive image they attempt to trick themselves into thinking things are fine.”
Mason adds that social media and reality TV shows also feed into this perceived need to “keep up with the Jones’”.
“While I think maintaining a facade to one’s community about the true state of affairs has been common throughout the generations, it’s more apparent in an online community, which is mostly subscribed to by millennials,” she explains.
“The consequences can be that many people are more miserable than need be and there is a greater is of mental health issues as poor relationships are not dealt with.”
According to this new study, the majority of us are tiring of the concept of a perfect relationship, with 92 per cent of people admitting they would benefit if everyone was more open and honest.
It also found that the majority of millennials, 87 per cent, aspire to have a relationship for life and that a third, 33 per cent, of participants, said their relationship had survived some form of infidelity.
Speaking of the findings, Relate counsellor Dee Holmes said: “As our research shows, there seems to be a lot of pressure today, particularly amongst millennials, to give the impression of the ‘perfect relationship’.
“We’d probably all benefit from being more open and honest with each other about our relationships and realising that nobody’s perfect, however, it may seem on the surface.
“Having been a relationship counsellor for several years and in my own relationship for 35, I know that long-lasting and fulfilling relationships don’t just happen – they require hard work, humour, and may benefit from support such as counselling during tough times.”