So I’ve been keenly following a beauty Youtuber/influencer for about two years now.
Part of me wants to lie to you and play down my fascination with this person, because I would love for you to think I spend my spare minutes catching up on The Guardian – but fuck it. I love following influencers. Lots and lots of influencers. I like to look at their perfect faces and dream of a life where I too spend my Sundays cruising around on a boat.
This girl is one of my all-time faves – the women I stalk weekly and think “BUT HOW” with every single stupid swipe.
She looks like what I’d imagine the offspring of Gigi Hadid and Jesus Christ to look like – so there’s that – but she also has this adorable, perfect, glowy relationship that makes me swoon with every photo.
SORRY – correction: Had this adorable, perfect, glowy relationship that made me swoon with every photo.
One day it looked perfect. The next it was just… over.
After years of my investment (I liked every photo of the couple together because I am very, very kind) I learned that The Influencer and her boyfriend were dunzo. Just like that. After all of the lovey videos and selfies and captions – done. No explanation; just a gloomy Youtube video about “needing to keep herself busy” and a few rogue comments from followers even more obsessed than I that they HAD UNFOLLOWED EACH OTHER ON INSTAGRAM.
(While I don’t have official confirmation that the relationship is over, I know that you don’t unfollow your current partner on Instagram. You just don’t.)
He then went and deleted every single photo of them together.
It’s all so mysterious and incredibly sad and… well… intriguing.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not delighting in this person’s relationship breakdown. Quite the opposite. I LIKE this influencer. She seems supremely cool. When you follow someone on social media, when you watch their videos and slowly discover their personality, you almost develop this weird one-sided friendship. People have said that exact thing about my blog (albeit on a much smaller, dorkier scale). It’s just the reality of life in the public eye; if you want to connect with people online, that’s lovely, but you can’t just shut them off from the warts of your reality when things get ugly. And it will, eventually, get ugly. Because that’s life. If I ever broke up with Mitch, and moved out of our apartment, I know that many of you reading this right now would yearn for answers as to why.
So, ultimately, the truth is this: I just really want to know what happened to The Influencer and her Perfect Boyfriend.
The Influencer is not a celebrity. I get that. Except for the teensy tiny fact that she kinda is a little bit. The Daily Mail has written articles about her. She has hundreds of thousands of people engaging with her content and the minutiae of her life. She has birthed fame from simply living and having a camera. The perks? For that, she and Perfect Boyfriend get to go on free holidays and eat free brunches and star in free photoshoots. The downside? Thousands of people are now wanting answers as to what the effing eff happened – and how “a weekend away” UNRAVELLED YEARS OF PERFECT LOVE.
Ahem. Sorry. Still invested.
It got me thinking: If I, a 24-year-old woman with at least three-quarters of a brain could be so easily fooled by the perfection of this relationship, what else is misleading on Instagram?
More than we think.
Studies show that the more visible your relationship is on Instagram, the more likely it is to be fragile. In the most ironic sense, high relationship visibility bleeds into high relationship vulnerability.
The more you see a relationship online is actually often a red flag that the relationship is a weak one.
The great lie of Instagram love was something Zara and I discussed on our podcast, Shameless, this week. I mean, if Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan, and The Influencer and her Perfect Boyfriend, can hit us all in the guts with their breakups, who else is on the cusp of a divorce or split?
Basically everyone in your feed, apparently.
You can listen to us discuss celebrity break-ups on this weeks episode of Shameless below.