Updated: Jan 2
By Fiona Williams
There’s a trend on social media of people using the term ‘relationship goals’ to describe couples on the ‘gram and twitter … but what exactly are ‘relationship goals’ and who creates them anyway? What is the goal people want to achieve - a cute insta pic or the relationship itself?
I asked my followers what they think it means and some of the responses I got were:
‘’I think it’s used because people have the same mindset as the couple they idolise’’
‘’Someone else’s ‘ideal’ of what a relationship should be like’’
‘’Something I aspire to achieve for my own relationship’’
‘‘That people see a cute image and in their head, imagine that the relationship must be cute too’’
‘‘A relationship people want to emulate’’
‘’The relationship being shown is ideal! It’s something you’d want for yourself’’
Based on these responses, it’s clear that everyone has differing views on the term relationship goals and its meaning. It seems to mainly be used to describe couples that people like the look of or aspire to be like. However, constantly making upwards comparisons can lead to negative thoughts about yourself and of your own experiences.
We all know that social media is a highlight reel where people love to post their best and cutest moments.
Everything we see isn’t always what it seems in some relationships. There is nothing wrong with making personal goals for your relationships but basing your goals on the perception of someone’s relationship or their nice pictures could have you wishing for something you don’t want in reality. Not everything that glitters is gold.
It can also make you potentially look down on your own relationship if it isn’t like the ones seen on Instagram. Feeding into or trying to live up to this idea of having a relationship goal can affect your mental health and the quality of your relationship.
Instagram vs reality
We’ve definitely seen people scream ‘goals’ and look up to YouTubers or celebrity couples in the past, only to realise the relationship wasn’t exactly what it was portrayed as on social media. Of course, no relationship is perfect but shouting "GOALS" places people and their relationship on a pedestal with expectations. No one should expect others to ‘air their dirty laundry’ and display the negative parts of their relationship because that’s their personal decision and privacy.
It’s up to people to be mindful of social media vs reality.
On the other hand, there are definitely genuine and healthy relationships out there.
Before dating, maybe create a note of things you would like in a relationship so when you’re dating, you don’t settle for less than you deserve. You can make a list of desirable traits (things you’d like in a partner/relationship) and non-negotiables (things you will not accept at all) to help you have a clearer mind when exploring new relations. Bare in mind, these have to be realistic expectations too!
The next time you want to comment ‘couple goals’ on a picture, maybe take a step back and observe what sort of relationship you have or want to have and ask yourself if it’s healthy, balanced and secure, or the opposite of what you desire.
Develop your own personal standards and goals for a relationship and when you think that a relationship is a goal, dig deeper into what your goals are and how this aligns? For example, if a couple is posting pictures on the beach and you want that too, then maybe set a goal of being able to travel with your partner. If another couple saved up and bought a house together, perhaps your goal is to have good financial education and wealth within your relationship. It's great to learn from others, but thinking of it in this way can minimise upwards comparison and ensure that you’re growing as individuals and a couple!