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7 Instagram Rules Every Couple Needs to Follow

Trust us, you don’t want to be “that couple.”

Listen, most married couples don’t set out to be irritating on social media. A lot of them start off with the purest of intentions – keeping in touch with friends and loved ones – but something just happens. They get a few “likes” from randos. A funny post gets retweeted a few hundred times. All of a sudden they start to post more and more, ramping up the intimacy and holding nothing back.

Before they know it, they’re one of those. The over-sharers. The needy attention-seekers. The insufferable romantics. For some reason, the combination of two people in love plus social media is too often a recipe for disaster.

But don’t worry, because help is available. There are ways to avoid being that couple, the one with an intolerable social media presence, while still being able to publicly acknowledge your avowed life partner. Here are 8 handy pointers to keep you from becoming one of them.

Save the Love Letters for Actual Paper

Instagram lures you in with the big, bright pictures and fun filters, but it traps you with its nearly limitless caption word count. This is where so many couples sink their likability. Do not use this space to draft long, breathless love letters to each other like you’re soldiers encamped in the South of France in 1914. Even if your words are genuine and heartfelt, you run the risk of being perceived as either someone who is protesting too much, or someone who is just doing it for the Likes. Either way, no one wants to read it. It’s the text equivalent of a PDA.

Limit the Inside Jokes

It’s cute that you and your significant other have pet names and little inside jokes and all, but remember these sites are meant for sharing with others. You both might know why that photo of a half-eaten tuna sandwich with the “Slumber” filter is so hilarious, but the rest of the people following you will just be wondering who dropped this photographic turd on their timeline. If it’s something only the two of you “get,” then just keep it between the two of you.

Don’t Air Dirty Laundry

Have you ever heard the expression “Be kind, because everyone is fighting a secret battle you know nothing about?” The key part of that is “secret.” Everyone has his or her struggle, but airing it on social media just makes people want to avoid you. If you and your partner are working through something, that’s great – communication is key. But including everyone on your follow list into your therapy session is a big no-no.

Don’t Defend Each Other’s Honor

Sometimes a Like is just a Like. Neither of you should be the guardians of each other’s virtue when it comes to social media. That means not swooping in to chastise anyone of the opposite sex who happens to like or comment on your partner’s photo or post. Even if the comments are suggestive – that’s the risk you run when you put things up for public consumption. But diving into the comments with virtual fists flying makes you seem insecure at worst and annoying at best.

Avoid Dueling Status Updates

The concept of “subtweeting” is when you rip on someone without explicitly saying their name. That idea doesn’t really work as well when you’re in a committed and public marriage — it’s not hard to figure out who the person is that’s causing you stress or emotional drainage. Refrain from making your respective status updates an extension of your personal disagreements. It’s normal – even the most loving couples grate on one anothers’ nerves from time to time – but the best way to handle it is to not let everyone see you trying to handle it in real time.

Every Occasion Is Not a Romantic Photo Op

There are times that are made for the adoring couple selfie. That sunset in Maui during your fifth anniversary trip. The once-in-a-lifetime concert starring the band that wrote “your” songs. Even the occasional “just ‘cause” post is allowed. But if you find yourself posting “Me and bae gettin’ frappes!” or “The ONLY person I ever want to wait online with at the DMV…” you are pushing it.

Remember: Not Everything Your Actual Baby Does is Worth Chronicling

Babies are undeniably cute! But not everything they do is an adorable affirmation of your eternal love for each other. There is nothing wrong with thinking your children and special and worth celebrating – they are, we get it – but once you start using them as props in your romantic origin story or as some kind of living reward for how dedicated you and your partner on to one another, it all just gets icky. And they’ll hate you for it when they’re teens.