Intentionally or not, our social media feeds tend to paint a rosy picture of our lives—whether it's a snap from a trendy new restaurant, a FOMO-inducing beach vacation, or a sweet selfie with a significant other. Watching the likes and comments roll in ("You guys are the cutest!") can make even the least narcissistic of us feel good.
One Love was launched in 2010 to honor the memory of 22-year-old University of Virginia lacrosse player Yeardley Love, who was murdered by her boyfriend. The foundation's mission is to raise awareness about relationship abuse by helping young adults recognize the red flags of an unhealthy relationship.
The campaign's powerful Behind the Post video series is doing just that, spotlighting violent scenes from (fictional) relationships while cheery social media comments from in-the-dark friends appear across the screen.
The videos showcase what One Love describes as the 10 warning signs of an unhealthy relationship—which include jealousy, deflecting responsibility, and one partner isolating, manipulating, or belittling the other. In one clip, the camera pans over a broken picture frame and shattered wine glass while comments like "#relationshipgoals" and "Could you be any cuter?" scroll across the screen. In another, a terrifying, violent fight appears next to "Looks so fun!"
The message is clear: happy-couple social media posts don't necessarily point to a happy relationship. Photos that only show off the positive moments of a relationship don't just keep friends and family from knowing what's really happening, it also makes it difficult for the abused partner to see their situation clearly.
"If someone is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship but only has picture-perfect posts on social media to look back on, those memories—misleading as they may be—have the potential to keep young people in extremely unhealthy relationships," Katie Hood, CEO of One Love, tells Health. "We hope this campaign reminds people to ask questions and not just take everything at face value."
Visit joinonelove.org to learn more about signs of abuse. If you or a loved one is in an unhealthy relationship, call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 800-799-7233 or text "loveis" anytime to 22522 to get a quick response from a LoveIsRespect peer advocate.