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Social Media Red Flags in Relationships

by Danielle Wright

This is always my favorite piece of content to work on because I cannot, for the life of me, understand why so many women are still oblivious to social media red flags. Before I get into the obvious, I want to ask, what is the reason? (Millennial pause).

Social media has ruined the way we perceive relationships and ourselves. As of today, there are roughly 4.95 billion people worldwide who use social media, with an average user accessing 6.7 social media platforms on a monthly basis. With so many users, it’s no wonder you’re more likely to meet and fall in love with a man who utilizes one of the many platforms available today.

But the real question is, can you trust them? A young lady inquired something via TikTok which brought me to raise an eyebrow; she asked, “If men like to say that liking another woman’s picture on social media is not a big deal, why don’t they ever like their friend's girlfriend's pictures on social media (Instagram)?” This question is quite loaded.

If you’re in a situationship with a man and he’s liking or excessively following other women on social media, it is a clear sign that he is not interested in investing in you long term. He is not looking for a relationship with you, sees you as a placeholder, and will eventually move on once you are no longer an asset to him.

Simply put, him liking and following other women is a clear indicator that he’s just not that into you. If you want to stick around and continue to be used for sex, that is your choice and yours alone. If you ever do confront him on this, he will either be totally honest/brutal or passive-aggressive and lie. Either way, you will not get the outcome you’re seeking.


Okay, so that’s your boyfriend. Let’s be honest. If you’re in a relationship and the union has led you down the rabbit hole in search of clues that he’s being unfaithful, then you’re already in a precarious position and do not feel much love from your partner in real life. Social media, while “not real,” does have a psychological hold on all of its users. It’s a place where you can go and experience escapism—if you’re not happy at home, it’s considered harmless to lust over the women online.

But the truth is, your man should be more invested in what he has in front of him: you. On the other hand, men are wired differently because they do not perceive this as cheating. There’s an adage that goes, “It doesn’t matter where you get your appetite as long as you eat at home.” In other words, just because a man may step outside and see beautiful women or lust over women via social media does not mean he is actively pursuing them to cheat on you. If his desire is stimulated by scrolling, he can turn over and fulfill his desires with the woman in his presence: you.

A perfect example of this is that episode of Desperate Housewives when Tom saunters downstairs to find the nanny Lynette recently hired scurrying completely naked after tossing her clothes into the laundry. She was trying to get back to her room, but he saw her mid-run. He stops on the stairs; she notices and immediately turns away from him. There’s a brief moment where he begins to lust after her, but then he returns upstairs and begins making passionate love to his wife, Lynette.

The truth is that social media is not the antagonist in your relationship. A man is not going to act on his desires unless he is purposely seeking to do so. This is why it is not a good idea to forgive someone for physically or emotionally cheating on you. If they do it once and get away with it, they will do it again and again until you are just no longer interested.


If we go back to the question asked earlier in the article, it’s clear the answer is mutual respect. A man is not going to like his friend’s girlfriend's photos because he respects his friend and does not want there to be any tension in the friendship. A man who can like other women’s images, comment, and actively pursue other women while he is with you is a man who does not love nor like you.

You are just there to occupy space until he feels the need to move on. He is acting on his desires. Always think of that scenario between Lynette, Tom, and the nanny. A naked woman was right in front of him, and he did not react. Whereas, if a woman is miles or light-years away and your man is liking, commenting, or expressing interest, it’s very much intentional.


Excessive Secrecy: If your partner does not want to add you on his social media or keeps his profiles private without a valid reason, then he has something to hide. You are a PLACEHOLDER, and this behavior shows you that your feelings only matter to him because if you were privy to his actions or intentions, you would no longer be beneficial to him. Your negative emotions are not something he wants to deal with, so he keeps you in the dark. But, let’s say you two were to break up or stop speaking, there is a good chance he will make his account public to taunt you for moving on.

Lack of Interaction: If you and your partner are friends on social media, and he rarely or never engages with your content, it may be that he is not fully invested in sharing his life with you publicly. Hiding your partner is a red flag! You are a PLACEHOLDER, and his behavior should indicate to you that he is not proud to be with you. Maybe you’re not his type physically, and having you does not elevate his social status. You are a secret for a reason.

Flirty or Inappropriate Comments: Much worse than liking the pics of others, your partner is leaving comments! This indicates a lack of respect and boundaries in the relationship. As mentioned earlier, a man can see and not touch when his goal is to remain respectful to the people he cares about: girlfriend, friend, friend’s girlfriend.

Sidebar: If you are the girlfriend and a person from your boyfriend’s friend group is comfortable liking and commenting on your photos, this is a sign that your boyfriend has given his friends the green light to pursue you. He is not in love with you, and you are not off-limits to his friends.

Related articles: Dating Someone With a Kid

Constant Monitoring: If your partner is constantly monitoring your social media activity, it may suggest possessiveness or insecurity, which can be detrimental to a healthy relationship. A little jealousy is okay, but if your partner is going out of their way to spy on you and will bring up your social media activity to start an argument, it is likely that he is trying to move on without being blamed for the ending of your relationship or he is controlling. Either way, this is not someone you should want to spend your life with. Exit.

Deleting or Hiding Posts: If your partner is deleting or hiding posts or tags that involve you, it could be a sign that they are hoping to hide aspects of your relationship and are not fully committed to the connection. The only time your partner should be hiding anything is if they are tagged in inappropriate content that they have no control over or that you’ve mentioned bothers you to some degree.

For example, I was once only dating this guy, and I noticed that he and one of my friends were also following each other on Instagram. I jokingly made mention of this to ask him how they knew one another, and he told me they had never met. Shortly after, I realized he had unfollowed her and removed her as a friend. Listen, if he wanted to, he would.

Related articles: Why is Dating So Hard

Digital Double Life: This is a big one! If you know Lisa K. Stephenson’s story, then you know that she and her ex-boyfriend were together for 4 years until she found out on Facebook that he was expecting a child with another woman, purchased an apartment for them both, and all the while he kept the baby mother on Facebook and Lisa on Instagram so the two never knew about each other.

Men are very capable of leading double lives. He could have multiple social media accounts on different platforms with different aliases all because he has a hidden agenda within the relationship. If he’s not willing to add you on all of the platforms he frequents, just know that something could be up.

There you have it. So, if you notice any of these things happening in your relationship, please just leave. Arguing and trying to get to the bottom of it is never the answer. Men know what they are doing, and they will keep you around as long as they (a) have no other options or (b) have access to your resources.


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