From Likes to Love: Dating in the Era of Social Media – part of Dating Group, the company behind over 40 online dating sites – today released newly collected survey data that sheds light on the impact that social media has had on dating in recent years. According to the findings, it's going down in the DMs, with 47% of respondents admitting that their relationship began because their partner decided to shoot their shot in a private social media message. Additionally, 55% of men reported that they believe "sending likes" is an effective tactic to make a connection online that can move into real life.

From Likes to Love: Dating in the Era of Social Media


Other key survey findings include:

  • 58% of respondents shared that they have used a social networking site that is not primarily for dating (such as Instagram and LinkedIn) to find and meet new partners.
  • 60% looked through their partner's social media apps without that person's knowledge.
  • 40% felt their current significant other's social media profile was "an ick."
  • 72% shared that social media has been a cause of conflict either in their current or previous relationship.
  • 42% have experienced infidelity from a partner as a result of connections made through social media.
  • 79% used social media to "hard launch," or announce, their relationship.
  • 40% found out their current partner had been leaving "thirsty" comments under someone else's posts, before their relationship started.
  • 50% admitted to fighting with their partner about still having an ex's photos visible on their Facebook or Instagram pages.
  • 55% say their partner is often distracted by social media on their cell phone while they are trying to have a conversation with them.

"In some cases, social media sites can still be seen as the cause of conflict in relationships," said Maria Sullivan, Vice President and Dating Expert of "However, social media use should not consistently be a cause of stress in a healthy relationship. Instead, it should mostly be a fun way to connect with friends and family - and to show off your relationship, if that's your vibe - without creating worries about your partner making new romantic connections. It can even serve as another way to bond with your partner if you're using it to send funny memes or informational posts about your shared interests. Socials are often blamed as the root cause of conflict, however a person's overall behavior while they're in a committed relationship is what should be under the microscope. Whether they're using their social media profiles to creep on other prospects is only a reflection of what their true larger intentions are, on and off these platforms."

Maria's tips for preventing social media-related conflict in your relationship include:

Communicate your concerns. What your partner doesn't know about, they can't fix. If you find that aspects of their social media activity (accounts they follow, posts they like, pages they view, etc.) are an issue, you should communicate those concerns to your significant other clearly. Whether they're too interested in sexy influencers, other men or women, or comedians with poor taste, secretly letting it bother you will likely lead to it becoming a bigger conflict, and you and your SO might both be surprised by how angry you are when it all comes to light.

Leave old social media behavior behind. If you have a situation where you really trust your partner, but you uncovered their shady social media activity from the past, you should set new boundaries for them to adhere to from this point on. Ask them to please unfollow accounts that make you uncomfortable, to refrain from liking photos that are focused on physical appearance, and to delete any old thirsty comments they left under someone else's posts before your relationship started. Whether they acquiesce or resist will speak volumes about their intentions.

Set boundaries. In order to prevent conflict, communicate with your partner to understand what does and does not work for both of you when it comes to social media usage. For example, if your partner is actively following their ex on social media and having conversations with them in the DMs, and if there is a boundary you want to set here, you should draw the line. And to be fair, both you and your significant other should be able to adhere to the same guidelines.
Don't look too far into it. While there are many cases where social media interactions can be a cause for concern, it is important to recognize that sometimes it's just not that deep. If you think you have a real problem on your hands, bring it to your partner's attention before it gets worse. However, if you are simply bothered by small or harmless things - like your significant other following people of the opposite gender on social media - you might have to recognize that you are creating an issue where there isn't one. If your SO isn't using their socials to make new romantic connections, and is focusing on you IRL, then consider putting more weight into how their actions make you feel out in the real world.

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