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Love & Relationships

Public Display of Affection on social media: To Follow or To Unfollow

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I happened to be in India these days and after my marriage, this is my longest vacation ever with my friends and family. So I and Mr Husband were enjoying our long distance lovers’ phase. Along with constant calls, video calls, WhatsApp chats and of course letters what we really enjoyed were our Bollywood dubsmashes, Musically dedications to each other, Facebook’s love and ‘missing you’ posts and Instagram hashtags. As much as I enjoyed that personal, very personal connection between us, I liked those fun-filled lovely PDAs on social media. I had always been expressive, possibly clicking every beautiful moment of my life and never shying away from telling the world about that. I remember once a friend of mine told me that my pictures and my posts make them believe that love still exists and marriage is a beautiful journey. You know, that was all I ever tried to convey to the world. To cut a long story short, when I was getting married I was really scared of all big and small things that comes with the concept of arrange marriage so I always tell Mr Husband that if any girl out there gets the courage to drop her fears and starts believing in love after seeing glimpses of our love, our pictures and story that would be so fulfilling. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s always “so perfect” like any other couple, we go through many ups and downs in our relationship too but I think the magic created four years back is still casting its spell and balances everything well.

On google, you find as many definitions of PDA as you want with regard to different aspects and different perspectives. There are many discussions on why couples indulge in PDA what are the impacts. What I have observed is there are two important factors –

  • Intention and psychology behind the display of affection

According to Social Psychological and Personality Science, the couple who are expressive about their relationship on social media feel happier about their bond. Little bragging online is totally fine and healthy.
Another group of studies and belief such as a study by Lydia Emery, Amy Muise, Emily Dix, and Benjamin Le in 2014 and published in a US psychology journal, concluded that display of affection might be the result of insecurity in the relationship like the more times that a partner feels insecure about his partner’s feelings, he tends to make their relationship more visible online.

  • How it is being perceived

If you are putting anything in the public forum, you just can’t exempt yourself from judgements. Perception varies from individual to individual. There will be a set of people who will believe in your stories and positivity, who will be glad and appreciative but on the other hand, there will those who don’t always like it. Funnily enough, I can also see people writing, posting and clicking about what they are eating, their check-ins and travel stories but when it comes to PDAs they are suddenly like “oh we are so private” kind of people. What I don’t understand is, if you talk about your family say your mother, brother or father, it is beautiful and “acceptable” but if people are posting and expressing about their partners, somehow it becomes uncomfortable and considered as over dramatic.

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Social media today is like an online diary. It is a routine. People are so much indulged that they post almost anything and everything. We need to realize that even when it’s personal and online it is still a public space. There are some unspoken and unwritten guidelines of display of affection on social media regarding what you put in front of the world and what you keep behind closed doors and also there is time and place for everything. Focus on the right things; it should be more about what you want to post rather than what people want to see. It is to express yourself not to impress others. One most important thing is that both the partners should be fine with the display of affection. If one of the partners is unwilling or shy about putting any personal information publicly, problems could definitely emerge. Consent does matter here. Also, PDAs should not be considered as the measurement of love. You have to totally get this idea that if your partner is not vocal or publicly comfortable in expressing his/her love, it doesn’t mean that he/she loves you any less than those who are comfortable with PDAs.True love has nothing to prove. I often come across statements like why couples just can’t use direct messages, chat, mail, phone, text, why social networks? I just have one answer to this; it’s a social network, you decide who you connect with, you decide which pages you like based on your own particular interests and if you don’t like to receive any information from any person, you are free to block and unfollow them.

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Let’s accept this fact that in today’s time of rising YouTubers, bloggers, celebrity tweets; we are always interested in the personal affairs of our celebrities. Right? But we have issues with our close friends posting about their relationship. We like to show off our materialistic possessions like a new car, new house or even the clothes but get irritated if any couple shows off their love. We believe in showcasing big fat weddings, doing marriage rituals and making wedding vows publicly but when it comes to displaying affection there is hesitation. I totally and strongly believe in showing affection and in expressing those beautiful positive emotions, whether it’s in public or not.No doubt, I am always respectful and aware of the people around. I agree to the fact that with PDA you are walking a thin line between social norms and personal intimacy but honestly speaking` if anyone gets offended because of me hugging my friend or kissing my husband, they are the one with the problem, not me. The issue is in them and not social media platforms.

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Be proud and supportive if your partner is willing to display his/her love. It is rare and very natural. After all who doesn’t like to be appreciated? This is to be cherished, not something to be embarrassed about. What’s wrong with being proud of each other, of the bond and the love? I would really ask you all to think for a moment that each one of us is fighting our own big or small battles. If we spread stories of love and affection, it might heal some hearts; it might inspire someone to love to the fullest. Rather than having objections, try to change the way you look at those display of affection. It might guide someone to do better. Maybe it will inspire the partners to appreciate their better-halves. Let’s keep it real, light and positive. Let’s talk about love and being loved in a grand way so that like other things in life it shall not become just another ordinary thing.

I can only speak for myself and people who believe in the same school of thought. If I tell you guys honestly, I have really become a better person when I see Mr Husband shows so much confidence in me. I am always inspired to do much more when I see him feeling proud of me amongst friends and family and I know for sure that it is the same for him too.

I love when I see older couples helping each other to cross the road, young couples bursting into laughter over coffee in a cafe.PDAs don’t have to be big and bold. A subtle gesture can be the most eloquent, as Tom Cruise once stated,’affection can be publicly displayed without touching and even when your sweetheart is nowhere to be seen’.I live for love. I love love. I think I am a die-hard romantic person. I love everything about love, love seeing people in love, love romantic gestures, love the happiness it brings out in people, love celebrating love and love selflessly. To me, these real life so much in love couples are far above than those fictional characters in movies, theatres or novels. Aren’t they? These public displays of affection are not all that bad, maybe they are just abused and misunderstood.

 

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Find yourself and express yourself in your own particular way. Express your love openly. Life is nothing but a dream, and if you create your life with love, your dream becomes a masterpiece of art.

Miguel Ruiz

 

 

 

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