How (Not) to Instagram Your Relationship


Original image shot by Phil Oh aka Mr. Street Peeper

A terrible thing happened to me this summer: someone I hate-follow on Instagram got a boyfriend. How could she do this to me — nay, to the entire Instagram community? It’s emotionally taxing work, hate-following. (Not to mention downright unhealthy.) I cannot be expected to find the time to stalk and subsequently mock her account and an entirely new one at the drop of an @. It’s exhausting enough trying to stay afloat in the proverbial pool of single-self-pity!

The couple in question’s relationship announcement photo startled me so much that I almost clicked “like” in a panic. It is a cross between a haughty holiday card and a portrait straight out of the New York Times Vows Section. In it they both have this half-smile on their face that says, “Yes, we are both extremely good looking and yes, we are wearing matching button ups.”

After a brief background check, I discovered this “boyfriend” has somehow found a way to make the Kelvin filter work, and should thus be closely watched. Since their devastating proclamation of Instagram love, no selfie has gone un-photo-bombed, no heart emoji left behind.

Oh, come on! Everyone knows breakfast in bed counts as a food faux pas, especially if your boyfriend is the one who prepared it. And those raspberries he arranged in a heart look moldy anyway, so good luck with that. I made myself breakfast and happen to be eating it in bed, but I’m certain no one wants to see my half-empty Activia and coffee-stained sheets.

Ah, the boyfriend on a plane. Classic. You don’t see me Instagramming my carry-on bag, do you? The only thing worse than snakes on a plane are couples on a plane. I live in fear of a world where they’re free to Instagram themselves mid-flight.

Alright, we get it. Your boyfriend sleeps. A lot. And he looks really cute when he sleeps, but that’s besides the point. Everybody sleeps. Does he want a medal for every well-positioned nap? The world may never know how elegantly I slumber, since no one’s around to document it. But, like whatever. Nbd.

Are you kidding me with these pet names? Daddy? Really? And don’t you dare follow that up with an emoji. I’m officially offended now.

What do you think this is? A social media platform where others follow photos of your day-to-day life by choice? Where people like me take immense pleasure in living vicariously through you and your significant other? Where the more intimate moments you share the more likes you get? That would be totally insane…oh, wait.

No seriously, tell me what you think. What are the do’s and don’ts when it comes to Instagramming a relationship? Should there be rules, and if so, what are they? Rule number one: block all snarky single people (like me).

— Emilia Petrarca 

Photographed by Phil Oh.

  • recycledriots

    I just entered into a serious relationship and was posting my first relationship post this morning. Sorry to gag you. It was a photo of the flowers my boyfriend brought me last night. We still have yet to take the infamous FIRST couples photo, but I can feel it coming. I agree with you, it is pretty awkward.

    • Amelia Diamond

      The flowers are just too tempting to not post though! I think it’s ALL about the caption. Like you can literally post the most disgustingly PDA lovey dovey picture ever — if the caption is hilarious.

      • recycledriots

        I agree! My caption was lovey dovey because I’m an asshole, but I love a well rounded, hilarious caption.

        • Amelia Diamond

          BE IN LOVE!

    • I think flowers and presents are just too tempting to resist. We all want to showcase things like that. Lol, but I agree caption is everything. I have been with my boyfriend for almost year, but yet to put up a couple photo.. plenty of flowers for people to hate though 🙂

  • bae caught me slippin <3

    • francesca

      Ok but let’s talk about how that’s a selfie. Hahaha

    • Laura

      This can’t be real!

    • Omg, so funny!

  • Hate following is my favorite thing to do. I think the louder a couple is on social media, the less happy they are together, it feel like they need to prove something. I MEANNNN, I mostly take pictures with my dog when he’s giving me attitude. LOVE ME, LET’S TAKE A PICTURE! Same thing?

  • shelbylouise

    Leandra has been known to instagram her husband napping in various places, quite frequently. Is this a dis?
    I was once told the sign of a good relationship is no sign of it on social media. I’m perma-single so I’m not sure how accurate that really is, but it seems sensible.

    • Amelia Diamond

      Hahaha Slumbraham!

    • Emilia Petrarca

      Only praise for Slumbraham

    • belulopezchamba

      Thats what I did! And yes, its so much better.

    • Nat Way

      Completely thought of Slumbraham too!

  • gina
  • It freaks me out severely when girls call their boyfriend “daddy.” Gross. Haha. :] // ☼

  • Charlotte Fassler

    Simon Doonan’s quote in the post on his relationship with Jonathan Adler in which he stated “And don’t call your friends to tell them what it was like [referring to a date] , and don’t text everyone you’ve ever met” really stuck with me.
    Sometimes it is so hard not to want to share relationships with everyone when they’re good, but i think the need to not over-share takes a really humble person and I am always impressed by this especially in this day & age…

  • Vicki D.

    Great post. I myself am in a relationship, but I HATE HATE HATE couple instagrams. I.E – When couples put each other on Woman Crush Wednesday (WCW) or Man Crush Monday (MCM) like STOP!!!! I fucking hate when people are like writing speeches and pic collages of their significant other. I definitely post my fair share of relationship-esque instagrams, but I always try to NOT be cheesy, and make it as least annoying as possible and never too often. I’ve always felt that if you really love someone, you don’t need social media to prove it.

  • Dominique
  • Stylish Housewife

    Well, I’ve been married for 6 years so my husband sleeping is probably never going to make it to my IG feed. Plus…he doesn’t have a beard or tattoos…which I keep seeing OVER and OVER. Although, I did once share a pic of his shoes and he got more likes than I ever have so maybe I should change my blog to the stylish househusband.

    XOXO, Jenn
    The Stylish Housewife

  • Sully Ann

    This was hilarious! These thoughts have def crossed my mind. What annoys me the most are all the hashtags #mybaby #bestboyfriend #1week #inlove . Be cheesy once in a while but not on every post!

    • Esther Levy

      #happyanni #xoxo #myboo #UGH

  • I do like some of those pictures, but it all depends on how the moments are captured. It doesn’t really matter WHAT you are instagramming, but HOW you choose the pictures to look like. Things like: the quality of the photo (whether it has been taking with an iPhone or a camera and whether it has the right focus or not), the colors of the photo, the editing of the photo, the perspective/angle the photo has been taken etc etc decides whether it is a good shot or not. I am sure there are lots of nice pictures on Instagram of happy couples, but I am sure as hell that there are lots of bad ones as well.

  • I don’t hate-follow anyone, cause ain’t nobody got time for that. But I will say this, I have been married for two years now & I still don’t want my hubby in my selfies, pshh if someone wants to look at him, they can follow him. It’s a selfie not an usie… #boybye

  • Cityflower

    “The sign of good relationship – is NO sign of it on Facebook (or IG).” I read that recently and I believe it to be true. Think about it. Why do you post something on social media to begin with? Maybe 5% of the reason is so that you have some sort of virtual way to save your memories. 95% of that is to get a reaction. If you are happy in your relationship why do you feel the need for validation/attention. Go spend actual time with your partner and LESS time curating facebook/IG posts about your partner.

  • That picture of Kanye taking a picture of Kim taking a picture kills me. When is North getting her own IPad?!

    • The question is who is taking the picture of Kanye?


    …..going through old pics of my ex sleeping on a plane. hahahha dying.

  • Tinkerbell Jayne

    This is brilliant, and so true. I’m partial to a couple selfie, but they usually involve my boyfriend looking really pissed off ‘another one? but i dont want to be in the picture. argh’ and whilst he always cooks for me, dirty plates with sausages on and gravy thrown on the side don’t make a great ‘foodie’ pic, but I still try.
    x tink x

    P.S. Loving the term hate-follow, haha, we all do it.

  • This post is Hilarious!
    MuchLove, AnnCates xx

  • Jen

    We just had a simialr discussion on over gushing about your happy married life on FB. “Picked the same ice cream flavor… #marriedlife!” With a pic of their ice cream and her giant ring… UGH GAG. I also am hate following/friends with this girl, so how could that be cute? But really did she think thats cute? I like to be quiet about my love for my man, a little shout out here and there but don’t make your whole FB or IG about it.

  • Hahahaha, this is hilarious. As far as I am concerned there is only one rule: don’t like it- don’t follow. But, as for couples…. there is moderation, at least once in a while post a photo that is nor relevant to your relationship.

  • charmystique

    “The only thing worse than snakes on a plane are couples on a plane.”

    This made me laugh. You left out crying babies though.

  • Dani

    No one actually cares you got flowers ‘just because’ so please don’t post them.

  • Arielle

    Never make your bf or gf your mcm or wcw every week. That’s so insanely annoying. Like “oh really, you find you gf/bf attractive? that’s shocking”. And nothing sexual. No one wants to see a picture of a girl in a bikini with her bf grabbing her boobs. Have some class

  • Ana

    This was a great read. Hilarious!!

  • Mary O’Reilly

    The worst is a caption that declares one’s excitement to spend the “next 60 years” with her partner when the image at hand has nothing to do with matrimonial bliss. Like a shot of Rico drinking a margarita on half-priced Wednesdays exists to remind us that RICO IS HERS AND HERS ONLY FOREVER AND EVER. My internal monologue always concludes with, “we aren’t going to forget about this if you break up!!!”

  • AP

    Question: is it appropriate to post this on certain friends’ FB pages, you know, just as a little FYI. Please say yes.

  • Lol, the carry on in the plane made me think of Lord Disick. Haha. But the bae caught me slipping has got to go. It’s like you slept, they took a photo and you woke up to post it ? Then what ? You went back to sleep ? I am sooooo confused. Then again if bae was Ryan Gosling, I would be instagramming every inch of that body yasss Lord yaass !

  • BethanyBeach

    I think it depends on how the couple is posting pictures. If it’s to celebrate a special occasion or fun day then it’s not typically obnoxious. The problem is when it seems like they’re shoving the relationship down the throats of their followers like OMG I HAVE THE PERFECT BOYFRIEND WHO LITERALLY TREATS ME LIKE A PRINCESS.

  • Leah

    Take a picture of him how you would take a picture of your mates. In a funny/weird/whatever kind of way. Couple photos are a definite no-go.

    The only time I ever posted a photo of flowers someone sent me was on valentines day and the caption said “who the fuck sent me these???”

  • Rene S.

    My sister is in a fairly new relationship and her Instagram has turned into a minute-by-minute play of her relationship. It is driving me crazy! I always feel creeped out when reading their very public proclamations of love for each other. Is this inappropriate IG behavior or am I a mean, unsupportive troll?