Twenty-First Century Love

online-rela

In the article “Digital Dating and Virtual Relating: Conceptualizing Computer Mediated Romantic Relationships”, Erich R. Merkle and Rhonda A Richardson talk about online dating and how it differs from interpersonal dating. People find comfort in socializing online because it’s easier to flee from the situation, rather than talking face to face. Also, they state that it makes it harder for others to develop interpersonal skills. As said in the article, “It seems plausible that with the user’s power to flee from virtual situations that cause discomfort or annoyance, those who predominantly engage in CMR as their preferred method of relating to others may find it difficult to acquire and exercise the interpersonal skills necessary for conflict management or peacemaking. Having the opportunity to freely disengage while interacting with others on the Internet is likely method of relating to others may find it difficult to acquire and exercise the interpersonal skills necessary for conflict management or peacemaking. Having the opportunity to freely disengage while interacting with others on the Internet is likely beneficial to those experimenting with new personas or methods of interaction, not only because of safety concerns but also as a part of the learning experience gleaned from social interaction.”

I do believe that it is possible to have an interpersonal relationship with a partner without letting technology interfere with the relationship. Both people just have to keep a majority of their business off of social media. With trust, communication, and loyalty, it is possible. But due to how advanced technology is and the vast usage and access of social media today, it is pretty tough.  An example from the movie Noah is when he follows his friend’s advice to go on his girlfriend’s page and to “spy” on her. He made a false assumption that she was seeing another guy due to a few messages he saw, so he “virtually” breaks up with her. This all could have been resolved if he had just talked to her about the situation or even waited until both of them can Skype again, rather than following his first instinct and assuming things. This is a problem that happens every day on social media.

I remember back in the days before Facebook was “the social network to use”, there was Myspace. A LOT of relationship issues had stemmed from Myspace, especially in regards to their top friends feature.

 myspace

There was an unsaid rule that the higher you place someone on your top friends’ list, the more close/important that person was to you in your life. If you were mad at someone, you’d take them off your top friends list, or if you had gotten into a relationship with someone, you’d place them as your number one friend. People had used this feature to get back at others, and a lot of assumptions were made due to this.

In today’s society, now we have to deal with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and others. Many people make assumptions based on what they see. On Twitter, there’s something called a “subtweet”, where you refer to a certain person without mentioning them or saying their name. In my opinion, it’s basically a passive aggressive way to express how you’re feeling about another person/situation, without giving too many details. On Facebook, if you don’t set your relationship status to “in a relationship” or even post statuses about your significant other, then it starts a big commotion. And, on Instagram, if you don’t post pictures of you and your boyfriend/girlfriend, then people would assume you guys aren’t a couple. Some people even say that posting a picture of you and your significant other on Instagram is making it “Instagram official”.

I do not think this is okay. Personally, I am a very traditional, old-schooled type of dater. I’d rather meet the person face-to-face and get to know them personally. Instead of texting, I’m a person who’d rather speak on the phone with someone. I do have an Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, but I try to keep a majority of my personal life off of those websites. I do have to admit, when I was younger I was the complete opposite – I’d communicate with my boyfriend-at-the-time online or via text and would hardly call. After a while, I saw that this was actually detrimental to the relationship – he or I would make false assumptions based on what someone would post on my wall or a status that was made. Also, there is a different type of understanding via text or words on a screen than through face to face interactions.

I just believe that the best way to keep a relationship strong is by not posting all of the details online, and try to enjoy each other’s company in person.

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One comment

  1. You made an interesting point with “spying” on someone’s digital self, and the trust issues that come with having an digital identity. It seems that people forget they can actually talk to each other about their worries.

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