Go Ahead — 'Soft Launch' Your Relationship On Instagram

Here's why a relationship expert thinks it's a good idea.

HUMP DAY: Why ‘Soft Launching’ Your Relationship Is Actually a Good Thing

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The concept of the ‘soft launch’ came from corporate America’s experience doing small test exposures of products before doing a full scale promotion. Now, it’s also a way to semi-reveal on social media that there’s someone new in your life, without the commitment of a full-blown ‘we’re a couple’ Instagram post.

A soft launch is a teaser letting people know that you are involved with someone by showing some part of them and without letting them know who... yet. Think: a photo of the back of their head walking in front of you, or their hands from across the dinner table. In other words, it exists in stark contrast to the Facebook relationship status change you may have used a decade ago that required not only publicly linking your pages, but an embarrassing status change back to 'single' or 'it's complicated' if things didn't work out.

Remember when Kourtney Kardashian subtly introduced her relationship with Travis Barker by posting an Instagram photo of their intertwined hands? A perfect soft launch. Later that same year, Bella Hadid put her own spin on the "soft-launch" when she sneakily shared a PDA-filled photo packed into a photo dump. Buried in the slide of photos, seemingly all about her outfit, was a photo of herself in the outfit kissing then-rumored boyfriend Marc Kalman.

Perhaps I am biased since I soft launched my man almost nine years ago (before soft launching was a thing) but... I think they’re fun! They're mysterious! And there are a few more legit benefits, too. Posting is a nice way to acknowledge the person you're dating without putting them through the scrutiny of friends, family or followers. It also gives you some privacy from specific people like say, if you have an ex you share children with who isn’t supportive of you being in a relationship, you can postpone them stalking your new S.O. for a while.

And, let’s just say what we’re all thinking: the soft launch also allows you to save face if things don’t work out. People don’t get attached to the relationship if they don’t know who the person is or even see their face. It is a way to minimize the drama and embarrassment if something doesn’t work out — and that's legitimate. Especially if you have been burned by announcing your relationship on social in the past, the soft launch allows you to dip your toe in the water carefully, while still showing your new partner the respect of recognizing the relationship.

Of course, if your partner is all in on the relationship, you run the risk of them being hurt by the soft launch. They may think you are not totally in or think you are embarrassed about the relationship. In order to avoid hurting feelings of someone that has real potential, it’s important to discuss how you both want to handle the social media aspect of your relationship and going public.

Sure, at the end of the day, whether or not you soft or hard launch may seem silly or arbitrary, but we can't deny that sharing our relationships on social media can feel like a commitment in 2023 — for many, their relationship status is sealed when they "go public" with their partnership via social media. So if you're on the fence about going official with your summer fling ahead of cuffing season, go ahead and take that first step and soft launch and see how it feels. Consider the method relationship expert-approved.

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