The times are changing. Young people, more than ever, have in their hands the tools to achieve great things, do more, and express who they are. In times past, expressing to a thousand people or so that you are happy to be married to someone would not have been possible. There is, of course, a romantic value in the ingenuity of making a lovely card cut from a shoe box. But think again: The same feeling that is in a man’s heart has remained the same. Love is love no matter what, whether you are Dr. Zhivago, Ragnar Lothbrok, or a millennial.
That despicable you is nothing but a self who is in search for love, and that love can only be realized, perhaps, when you satisfy your deep longing for someone. But there is some kind of a prejudice, though not really injurious, when young people talk about love on the internet. That love, when virtual, lacks the essential attribute of depth. Of course, if you think you are loved because you have read from a post that you are beautiful, then that can be a bit inauthentic.
But on the other hand, what people say about you online also allows you to reflect on yourself and the world around you. Thus, social media can make you think and determine what is real or not, or whether you are indeed liked by a hundred people or something like that. It still boils down to your character as a person. True, you can be manipulated and your behavior can be no more than some form of fanaticism. But while such might be the case, that thing called “choice” still has the final say on the big questions pertaining to life and love.
How you use your freedom will always matter. The internet is no more than a new battlefield. In this world, a man can win a woman’s heart not because he can cry the hardest. You are in love, so you will fight for what you feel. In the same way that a troll can use online technology to besmirch people every day, you can also use Messenger to tell a woman who is a few hundred miles away that she is missed. That, I suppose, is one cute way of expressing what you feel for someone. Yes, her profile picture will reveal a chin sculpted to divine perfection: It tells you about what is most sublime, next to God. Her deep brown eyes—they disappoint, for her looks are the window to eternity, though eternity was over in a moment. Her lips — they are the enchantment of a revolution. To bid this woman goodbye is to lose what is bewitching in her soul.
Writing good love letters then was a kind of skill. In the past, you dine out because you are thrilled by the moment that only the two of you will treasure in your memory. Right now, that moment can be frozen online for the whole world to judge. Technology makes the other person easily available so that you might think one’s presence sometimes will no longer matter. The good side of technology, though, is that it makes you efficient. While the technology compels you to be less sentimental, it does not make you less passionate.
Right now, a man will be stalking tons of pretty faces wherever he might be. About 20 years ago, while you are alone in your bed, you will be holding a stolen picture of the woman of your dreams. You will be too timid or shy to meet this lovely lady, but if you will, you would not even utter a word, for it is the thought that you’ll never see her again that preoccupies your mind. Love is sometimes about that moment when what could have been beautiful forever existed for just a minute or two.
For there is no greater failure than not finding the reason to be, and yet you will choose to live and only for her, though she won’t be there to see you cry. There are a thousand ways for a man to die. But there can only be one reason for a man to be happy — a woman’s love. Sometimes, she is just a virtual picture worthy of lasting remembrance. But some love stories also leave a pleasant trace, and that is when two people find the beginning of forever — online.
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Christopher Ryan Maboloc, PhD, is the author of the four-volume “The Harshest Things You’ll Ever Learn about Love.”
More than changing consumer habits