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When to make a relationship 'Instagram official'

Once an announcement is up on social media, it’s there forever. How do you know when your relationship is ready to go public?

In the age of social media, posting pictures of romantic partners with a cryptic caption is a common way of announcing to the world that you’re together.
In the age of social media, posting pictures of romantic partners with a cryptic caption is a common way of announcing to the world that you’re together. (Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash)

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Making relationships ‘Instagram official’ can be tricky. It can earn you the approval of your loved ones and have people wishing the best for you — as was the case with American singer Nick Jonas and actor Priyanka Chopra in 2018. It can also get you hate and disapproval — for instance, as with the recent awe and ridicule from users on Twitter and Instagram when businessman Lalit Modi announced across all his social media profiles that he was dating Sushmita Sen, the former model and actor. Sen, of course, famously never acknowledged this on her social media profiles, consistently posting other photos and captions, very obviously wanting to side-track the issue.

In the age of social media, posting pictures of romantic partners with a cryptic caption is a common way of announcing to the world that you’re together. It is akin to signing an agreement — except the agreement is there for the world to see and if things were to go south in future, the internet would not only remember it, they’d even have screenshots as proof. As a result, many millennials and Gen Z social media users are now becoming increasingly wary of announcing their relationships on social media.

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But those who still wish to share their relationship with the world often wonder: how soon is too soon to make a relationship ‘Instagram official’?

“Time is not a factor one should consider before making relationships Instagram official,” says relationship and wellness coach Sidhharrth S Kumaar. “Sometimes, the person you know for years shares no special connection with you. With the right person, even a few months may seem like an eternity,” he adds. Kumaar says that the best way is to take a personalized approach.

Sheetal Shaparia, Life Coach and Relationship Expert, echoes his thoughts. “Making your relationship Instagram official differs from person to person. Some people jump in, and others prefer waiting (much longer) before uploading an image,” she says. The general consensus is that what may work for one person, might not work for the other. The best way to navigate this is to do what you and your partner feel is suited for your personal and emotional needs. 

A new, worrying trend on social media involves partners ‘surprising’ their significant other by making their relationship Instagram official without a prior discussion or approval with them. “This is a huge red flag,” says Kumaar, adding that it is important to consider your partner’s consent before posting anything that includes them. Dr Rachna Khanna Singh, a relationships and stress management expert at Artemis Hospitals in Gurguram adds that your partner’s opinions on such matters “might be different from yours” and that’s okay and must be respected.

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Some wonder if their partner not being ready to go public on social media is something to worry about. But Kumar says “it's not the demise of your relationship if they refuse. He adds that a relationship “might run on different timelines for each partner…(but) this doesn't mean it's run its course.

To aid in a conversation that brings both partners on the same page about this, Shaparia suggests taking it slow. “You could maybe start by tagging them in your Instagram story and asking them to repost it,” she says. To this, Khanna adds that one must keep in mind that they get to "have the last word (in) what they want to put up on their social media…Have reasonable expectations from your partner,” advises Khanna.

Also any apprehensions from a partner in oversharing on social media can also arise from the sort of upbringing they would have had, especially with regard to dating and relationships. “Family is sacred in Indian society and the older generations have still not completely accepted the idea of dating. Therefore, a little more patience is needed,” Khanna says.

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Once public however, reactions can be varied. As for any disapproval from friends and followers, it is important to remember that it “might stem from a place of love and concern,” says Shaparia. She adds however, that the “couple should remember they are together for a reason”. The opinions of the world should not interfere with the dynamics within the relationship, concludes Kumaar.

Deepansh Duggal is an entertainment, pop-culture and trends writer based in New Delhi.

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