Decoding the Teen Love Cycle: What’s a Boyfriend Soft Launch?


In the article The Art of the Boyfriend Soft Launch, Kaitlyn Tiffany describes what it means to soft launch a boyfriend. Girls will show off their new boyfriend either through an ominous Instagram post or story with even the smallest hint of a possible partner, leaving viewers to ponder the relationship. From the point of view of the audience, all posts and stories leading up to this moment can leave you astounded and curious. Here are some insights on the modern teen love cycle as well as individual examples to provide you with the perfect guide on how to decode a girl’s love. 


I will create a hypothetical girl that goes through the love cycle who posts the entirety of it through her spam Instagram account, told through Pinterest pictures for your reading ease and entertainment. Let’s say her name is Bess. 


Stage 1: Hard crushing 

If you find this picture Bess posted on your feed, you can tell that she’s likely in her crushing stage. No true action is going on yet, but Bess is definitely in a silly mood about someone. She’s demonstrating that she’s clearly in love and creating certain thoughts and scenarios in her head, though we have no idea who the person is. We have no choice as an audience but to keep on viewing as Bess’s loyal followers. 



Stage 2: The dreaded talking stage

Screenshots like these show how Bess wants to let everyone know she has chemistry with a new person–so much that she willingly shares it for you to see on social media. Bess will either crop out the name to keep us guessing who the guy is, or she will deliberately cross out the name in a way we can still tell what it says. We can see your weak faked attempt, Bess. 





Stage 3: First starting to hang out (Who is the boy? We don’t know QUITE yet) 

Now Bess is taking it a step further by showing glimpses of her going out, but it’s only special because you can tell there’s at least one more person with her. In many cases, she might have actually attended a group event but still posted something to show that she’s with the person she likes. However, Bess will once again not completely reveal the identity of who she loves to update us on her progress. 



Stage 4: Getting comfortable (We know who the boy is now!) 

After hanging out with her partner for a while, Bess is now gradually showing more of the guy’s identity. It’s obvious that they hang out alone now, not in groups anymore. They have an air of being an official duo. Good for her!! Let’s say his name is Jason. 



Stage 5: Something changed overnight. 

As you follow along in Bess’s relationship journey, you do a double take when posts like these pop up on your feed. Clearly something has changed because Bess and Jason now openly share their loving relationship online. What might have happened? Of course that’s up to you whether you want to swipe up and ask in a desperate yet supportive manner: “OMG ????” 



Stage 6: Head-over-heels honeymoon phase

In case you haven’t caught on yet, Bess has a boyfriend and she loves him. Bess is also an eccentric girl so she quite likes to shove her relationship status into your face through memes and cavity-ensuing selfies. She’s now comfortable with Jason enough that she can post affectionate jokes about him. 



Stage 7: Something bad has finally happened 

After a while, it’s not always going to be a perfect world: Bess and Jason finally found something they disagree on. These posts are valuable messages that only Bess’s closest followers can see. She now puts her trust in you to understand her relationship dilemma and be on her side on whatever they’re going through. But because of their one-of-a-kind connection, Bess doesn’t want to let go of Jason just yet. A girl has to work her s*** out. You decide to be patient and see what happens. 



Stage 8: The breakup

Bess has shown once and for all, she couldn’t meet at a point with Jason. To get her message across while still staying vague, Bess will repost videos about breaking up that will relate with her situation but don’t directly state what went wrong. As Bess’s follower, you can say for sure that Jason was definitely in the wrong. 



You reflect back on your 2-and-a-half-week-long journey as a member of Bess’s audience and appreciate the relationship for what it was worth. With fully obtained knowledge about the teen love cycle, you now are an Instagram relationship translating expert.