Should You Soft Launch Your Relationship?

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Soft launching a relationship means that you share with those in your life that you're in a relationship, but you aren't yet public about with whom. The term refers most specifically to sharing your status on social media but without a photo or tag of your new partner. It's considered a teaser, in which you hint at a relationship but don't divulge all the details.

Beth Gulotta, Psychotherapist

Soft launching is a way to semi-reveal someone new in your life without a full-blown disclosure on social media that you are in a relationship.

— Beth Gulotta, Psychotherapist

It is "a way to semi-reveal someone new in your life without a full-blown disclosure on social media that you are in a relationship," says Beth Gulotta, founder of NYC Therapeutic Wellness, podcast host of Quiet The Clock, & psychotherapist.

If you have recently entered a new relationship, you may be wondering whether it's time to let the world know.

Ahead, we'll help you answer the question of whether you should soft launch your relationship or not. We'll also discuss the differences between soft and hard launching, how to move forward if you do decide to soft launch, and what to do if you and your new partner have different feelings about how to share your status.

Why Do People ‘Soft Launch’ a Relationship? 

There are numerous reasons why you may choose to not fully announce all the details of your new relationship. Let's look at some common ones.

You're a Private Person

Not everyone likes to be public about their personal life. "Some people still value privacy and choose not to share their very personal lives with everyone on social media," explains Gulotta.

Beth Gulotta, Psychotherapist

Some may choose to soft launch because they are excited about the relationship but are not fully ready to be entirely open to the public.

— Beth Gulotta, Psychotherapist

Additionally, she tells us that some people may "see privacy as a way to safeguard a relationship in its early stages as two people are still getting to know each other."

It's Too Soon

There's nothing wrong with taking your time to establish the stability of a relationship before giving away the details of it. Gulotta says, "some may choose to soft launch because they are excited about the relationship but are not fully ready to be entirely open to the public."

You're Not 100% Sure About the Relationship

It's perfectly understandable if you have doubts about a new relationship, as many of us in life experience false starts.

Gulotta notes that if you have doubts about a new partnership, soft launching "is a way to protect yourself from embarrassment if the relationship does not work out."

Soft Launching vs. Hard Launching

Soft launching and hard launching are two different styles of announcing your relationship to the world. Let's examine the differences between them.

Soft Launch
  • No clear photograph of your new partner

  • No social media tag linking to their profile

  • A vague image or post that suggests a romance

  • No naming of a partner

Hard Launch
  • A clear photograph of your new partner

  • A social media tag linking to their profile

  • A clear image or post that explicitly states a romance

  • Direct naming of a partner

When Should I Soft Launch My Relationship? 

If you're in a new relationship, you might be spending time figuring out when you should go ahead and share something about it. If you're looking to soft launch, this would be a teaser, suggestive image, or post, not an explicit one. But how do you know when it's time?

It's a Personal Decision

Gulotta says that "this is a personal decision," and there is no set timeline for when to soft launch a relationship. While it varies by individual and by couple, anywhere from few weeks to a few months into a new relationship would be normal to soft launch. If it's been a long period of time, such as a year or two, and you still haven't told your social world about your relationship, you may not be fully invested in it.

How to Soft Launch Your Relationship

Here are some options for ways to soft launch your relationship:

  • A photo: This is a common way to conduct a soft launch. The photo could be of your hands together, of you and a shadow of a partner, of two drinks or meals together, or of your silhouettes.
  • A word post: You might post a meme or a writing-oriented picture that states that there is someone special in your life.
  • Tag them in a story: Because fewer people view stories than see posts, and because they are only up for 24 hours, tagging a person in an Instagram story is a way to share about your relationship with some of the people in your life, but not all.

Do I Have to Share My Relationship Status on Social Media? 

No, you don't have to share about your relationship anywhere you don't want to. You may choose to do that because you're excited about your new relationship and want those in your life to know about it. And you may opt to conduct that on social media because it's more convenient than telling your friends individually, one by one; soft launching is a definite time saver.

You may wish to avoid soft launching your relationship if it is too new and you aren't yet confident that it's going to be long-term. Additionally, it might not be the right choice for you if you're a private person who never enjoys sharing personal information on a public platform.

Gulotta says that opting to soft launch your relationship "is also about understanding each person’s relationship with social media and a person’s comfort level with sharing something private."

What to Do If You and Your Partner Don’t Agree on Soft Launching

In a perfect world, you and your partner agree about when it's time to soft launch your relationship. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case. One of you may want to, and the other may not.

Talk It Out With Your Partner

In this instance, you can discuss the subject and see if you can each follow your own desire, for one of you to do it and the other to stay quiet for the moment. It may be possible to reach a compromise on that. Or, you may agree on a time in the future when you will both feel ready for it.

Social media can add to the complexities of a relationship, and not being aligned with a partner about how you engage in it can cause challenges. Gulotta explains that "it is about what each person is comfortable with and what feels important for them."

Above all else, you should be factoring in the comfort level of your partner and ensuring that both of your needs are being met.

Gulotta adds that "everyone has a very different relationship with social media and it is each person’s right to engage with it as they want, as long as things are not harmful or hateful." Speaking openly and frankly with your partner about your desire, or not, to soft launch your relationship will help you get to the best possible outcome.

1 Source
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  1. Lehmiller JJ. Secret romantic relationships: consequences for personal and relational well-being. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2009 Nov;35(11):1452–66.

By Ariane Resnick, CNC
Ariane Resnick, CNC is a mental health writer, certified nutritionist, and wellness author who advocates for accessibility and inclusivity.