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T oday, social media is everywhere. ere is Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, to name just a few. ere are also dating sites where individuals can "meet" and initiate new relationships. Social media is a part of the fabric of our lives today and, from my perspective, it has become an all-too important part of our lives, especially in our romantic relationships. e effect of social media on couples' relationships can be both positive and negative. However, the nega- tive effects of social media oen outweigh its positive benefits. Social media can lead couples to become discouraged with their partner when compared with the romantic and exciting lives portrayed on Snapchat or Facebook. Social media oen presents very unreal- istic pictures of what normal, healthy relationships look like and can create destructive comparisons. What do healthy dating and romantic relationships look like? Although every relationship may be different, there are some core characteristics of a healthy rela- tionship. First, don't use social media as a gauge of the quality of your relationship. Most of what is posted on social media does not reflect an accurate picture, just a snapshot in time. It is a virtual reality that was not created to build and sustain healthy relationships. If you are unhappy in your relationship, review your expectations and take responsibility for your contribu- tions in your present situation. Successful relationships are built on strong friend- ships, where partners respect each other and take time to understand what the other person is feeling. Spend time doing things that create closeness, and do them HEALTH TALK The Core Characteristics of Healthy Relationships By Kathryn M. Serbin 42 Navy | Summer 2018 PIXABAY

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