This Could Be Why We Are Obsessed With Soft-Launching New Partners on Social Media

by | May 23, 2023 | Relationships

Between cushioning (keeping your options open with multiple partners to soften the blow of heartbreak), ghosting (a partner suddenly going silent on you without any explanation) and zombying (a partner resurfacing after ghosting you for months), New Age dating is a minefield – one that requires you to have a self-esteem made of steel. Phew! The dating trends don’t just end with the three definitions above, there is a slew of others such as soft-launching, which we are about to unpack in a mo!


Soft-launching is so serious a trend that some international photographers are successfully pivoting to helping couples take professional, cryptic images announcing their new partners to the world. They do this by staging a shoot in which, for instance, only the partners’ hands will be visible in the shot or the couple hugging with the one person’s face smiling into the camera while the other person gives us their back.

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You’ve just met a new bae. You’re texting incessantly, wrapping up your evenings with video calls and going on dates at every chance your schedule allows. At this point, your mind tells you to stand atop the Burj Khalifa and announce to anyone willing to listen that you may have just found ‘The One’. Common sense, on the other hand, tells you to keep things on the down-low until things are stable and official. Screw common sense you think! Instead of announcing your relationship from the world’s highest building, you take to social media to post a vague picture of your new bae – accompanied by a mysterious caption just to announce that you’re a gone girl. This right here is what we call soft-launching your ‘partner’.

READ MORE: Relationship Anxiety: What Causes It and When You *Really* Need To Worry

In traditional marketing speak, soft-launching something means introducing it to the the market to test how well it’ll be received. The social media streets, similarly to marketing, define soft-launching as a low-key way of announcing a change in your relationship status.


At this point, you may be wondering why anyone would want to announce their partner, but hide them at the same time? Counselling psychologist Sanam Naran says there seems to be a belief doing the rounds that keeping your relationship private is healthier and that it’ll be less open to outside influence – and, therefore, have a better chance of surviving. “Soft-launching, especially in the early stages of a relationship, has to do with mystery and an exhilarating feeling that is associated with a new relationship,” explains Sanam. 

READ MORE: 7 Tips On How To Rekindle A Relationship, According To A Psychologist

For some, soft-launching a boyfriend could be a way of testing a new partner’s boundaries. “By posting a picture of their hand, or a shadow of them, it’s a way of gauging how much they’re comfortable with putting the relationship out there,” explains Sanam. Another reason, she explains , could be that a couple or one partner may not feel totally committed (yet). That said, they may not want to post a picture of their partner online in the case the relationship fails. Perhaps some of the most annoying questions to ever be asked, especially when you’re still reeling from heartbreak are: Why aren’t you posting your partner anymore, or why have you deleted their pictures? *Insert eye-roll emoji*


By New Age dating standards, is it even a committed relationship if it hasn’t been launched on social media? Sanam doesn’t see anything wrong with flaunting a relationship on the socials because, “people tend to share the good parts of their lives on social media.

She adds that the belief that a relationship isn’t serious if it’s not on social media is more prevalent than we let on. But where posting the relationship on social media is concerned, Sanam advises that couples create rules around this. One couple may be private, while another may feel that posting each other makes the other party feel appreciated.

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Simply put, there are no black-and-white rules that will guarantee a relationship’s success. “There aren’t any hard and fast rules about whether you should or shouldn’t post your relationship. It depends on the couple and the personalities involved,” she explains. Sanam suggests asking yourself these questions: What are your preferences? What do you value and what works for your relationship? However, if you find yourself sharing your relationship on social media for the sole purpose of getting back at your ex, then perhaps it’s best to sit back and reflect on why you’re actually doing that. 

READ MORE: What Is Unconditional Love, And Is It Healthy To Cultivate In Your Relationships?

With social media being at the centre of our lives, it’s no wonder that it also infiltrates our closest relationships. Pre-social media, we would take our partner to meet our parents or friends to deem the relationship official. “It’s the same with social media. I think that’s just the natural progression of society these days,” she concludes. 

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