The Three Instagram Theory Of Relationships

The Three Instagram Theory Of Relationships

Sad but true: 95% of my human interaction these days is by way of chatting when I’m logged into my email. It’s not only a means for getting work done, but it’s an easy and effortless way to stay in contact with my friends who live in a different area code. Through these conversations that normally consist of exchanging entertaining videos or throwing shade at people’s shitty girlfriends, we sparingly have revelations of theories that are later explored in the coming weeks. While most fizzle out, some get legs and pan out. In this particular case, my friend Brady and I went way too deep into our acquaintance’s Instagram feeds to explore the shadiness that occurs in our everyday Instagram lives. What we came up with was interesting, to say the least.

It’s The Three Instagram Theory Of Relationships.

For the sake of explanation, let’s call our couple “Stew” and “Becca.” They’ve been dating for a few months now and they made their social media debut about a month in by posting a photo of themselves at a wedding while dressed to the nines. They got a bunch of comments such as, “Big Debut!” and “It’s official!” with fire Emojis sprinkled in. Ghosts of hook-up’s past, male and female alike, see this photo and have the realization that their former go-to is officially off the market.

Over the next couple months, more and more photos emerge on Instagram signaling that this relationship is in full swing. We’re talking crawfish boils, picnics, drunken nights out, the works. To any stranger off the street that may be creeping Stew or Becca’s Instagrams from afar, it’s clear: they’re in a relationship.

But, a time comes, where the honeymoon phase becomes the comfortable phase and photos of Stew and Becca are no longer as post-able as before. Instead, they simply exist on their photostreams and become a part of their personal archives that will later find themselves on a slideshow at their rehearsal dinner. But while these photos aren’t divulged to the public, others are. Skylines, scenic portraits, baseball games, golf courses. Over the next few weeks, Becca happens to post three consecutive Instagrams that (unintentionally) do not include Stew.

And that’s where The Three Instagram Theory Of Relationships comes into play.

While Stew and Becca are content and happy in their relationship, the general public begins to wonder what’s going on and a strange series of events starts to occur. There are two possible outcomes:

1. The Instagrammer in question (we’ll go with Becca) will begin getting shady “You up?” texts or iniquiries regarding their weekend plans from people, presumably guys, who get an inkling that Becca may be a free agent again.

2. More commonly, Becca will begin to see likes from guys who don’t normally like her photos with the same sense that she’s newly available and Stew is out of the picture.

After we formed this theory, we decided to test it. We delved into a friend’s account who happened to fit the above description — in the early stages of a relationship, heavily posted photos of his significant other, and recently took a backseat in favor of less relationship-centric photos. What we saw was telling.

Our friend’s “likes” on his recent batch of photos showed likes from ex-girlfriends, old flings, and girls that he had not hooked up with (but frankly, totally would given the chance). The batch of girls that liked his non-relationship photos was decisively different than the earlier photos of him and his significant other. Frankly, these girls were thirsty.

I’m not saying that all girls and guys are consistently trying to hook up with one another. This is simply an observation of social behavior that shows how men and women instincually interact with one another on Instagram. Are we overthinking things and jumping to conclusions? Perhaps we are.

But you’re going to look through your significant other’s likes a little closer the next time you’re not a center point of their feed. Believe that.

Image via Unsplash

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Will deFries (Twitter / Instagram) is a Senior Writer at Grandex and the world's foremost authority on Sunday Scaries (Twitter / Instagram). Email me at

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