I’m gonna start this by saying that I am a 1.5 year veteran of the war zone that is long distance relationships. We went to high school together and she went to college in Pennsylvania and I stayed in New Jersey. I will admit that I enjoyed it to some extant and it certainly made the time we could spend together that much more special. But if you’re wondering if this relationship ended in flames with various false accusations of cheating flying around let my good friend Walt put your mind at ease.
I think the main problem with computer mediated relationships (CMR) is the false sense of power that the seat behind the screen gives us. When using technology everyone feels like they’re entitled to all the information that the device makes available to us. We stalk each others’ social networks and we claim to be experts in everything after a quick trip to Wikipedia. Conversely, we also feel that all of our personal information needs to be broadcast to the world wide web. Probably most important is the way that everyone thinks that they’re like 10,000,000 x as bad ass talking though a screen than they are in real life. This sense of power arises from the fact that once you step away from the screen the shit storm that you instigated is no longer real.
This off screen safety has led to cyber bullying and probably the worst form of emotional abuse you can have in relationships: Ignoring. Nothing can make your blood boil faster or your heart break deeper than having your significant other ignore your calls and texts. It leaves you completely powerless and in my experience this feeling of powerlessness bleeds into my real worlds emotions. The fact that I have a facade that buffers my real world and virtual emotions is a bit alarming in itself. The age of instant communication has split our consciousness into Online emotions and IRL emotions. You can see it in Noah when he speaks ill of his self imposed ex with his friend but at home he’s listening to Their song. It’s funny that the environment in which we are most free to lie to each other we are allowed to be the most true to ourselves. When we interact through that screen we let out all of the love and all the hate we never let slip IRL. The internet is where we allow ourselves to be the truest and most powerful realization of ourselves
Alas, I digress. Back to the matter at hand. I am a full believer in the power of technology to build emotional bonds. I’ve met several people who have created and upheld friendships and courtships over social media and the phone. I personally keep in touch with several friends this way. Our society has grown to the point where we often times value an idea as much or than its realization. Hell we pay people to sit and think all day and explain things so far below the scope of our perception that they don’t even follow our laws of physics. I’m looking at you, quantum mechanics guys. In this society its not much of a stretch to become emotionally connected to a concept of a human as opposed to the reality of said human. An exchange of ideas is really all that we need . It could be something as simple as an exchange of crudely drawn cats. Actually, i would love a friend with whom i only communicated with through crudely drawn pictures of cats. :3
While i endorse friendships maintained through technology, I think that romance is something that belongs squarely in real life. Maybe I’m just clingy but actually like to see and hold my significant other on a regular basis. If you and I are seeing each other I want to see be able to see you and engage in couple-y things. Its kinda hard to that from a thousand miles away. Going back to the fore mentioned technological power trip, you know what goes good with being powerless and ignored? Brain wracking, body shaking paranoia! Now we were not a picture of mental health but that shit fucked me up. I would go to the bathroom and she would think I was ignoring her to hook up with some floozy. Girl i was brushing my teeth. And then there were the facebook hacks. Never let your significant other know your password to anything. It wasnt quite so bad where i got broken up with via account hijacking like in Noah but this girl blocked my female cousin cuz we were chatting about shrimp chips. I dont know. It’s much easier to lie convincingly in person. Im a bad person but i swear to Batman I didnt cheat.
Anywhosie, keep it real and your relationships in the flesh.