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Definitely, maybe: love in age of social media

12:05 AM June 14, 2016

YOU EAT social networking sites for breakfast. With the advent of smartphones, you carry the internet in your pocket, literally. You share all your life milestones on Facebook, including announcing to the whole worldwide web that you are officially in a relationship with this person. Perhaps you stayed up all night cyberstalking your c rush, or if you feel like adding insult to your injury, checking the profiles of your ex and your ex’s new significant other.

And it isn’t just Facebook. With the proliferation of dating sites, it’s so easy to be enthralled by the prospect of meeting Mr. or Ms Right. All you have to do is swipe right. We are known to be the generation that can’t last a day without checking our accounts online. We have made ourselves so readily available online that we become distant in real life.

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Everything is instant. Even connections seem to be instant.

How did we get to this point? What constitutes dating nowadays? Does constantly talking to one person automatically equate to “dating”? Do interactions nowadays consist of “good morning” texts every now and then and seeing each other when it’s convenient? When did we prefer communicating behind our screens?

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Ours is a generation marred by a lot of distractions.

We are so great at multitasking. It is easy to ghost on someone because we live by the principle of “when one door closes, another one opens.” When we don’t like a certain aspect of the person we’re seeing, when we realize that we are complex individuals, we move on to the next person who catches our fancy, thinking they have less imperfections. In this age of connection, it is very easy to disconnect and feel disconnected. It is so hard to give our full, undivided attention when there are a lot of things going on. We tiptoe around each other—afraid of saying too much, so we say too little. Because in this day and age, it’s hard to undo something when the rest of the world has access to all those tiny parts of us. The internet remembers us even though we think what we did has already disappeared into oblivion.

But someone or something is bound to remember. We all leave traces behind.

It can be a picture here, a love note there. A mutual friend. A memory tagged by someone else. In this day and age, even moving on becomes harder. You see them everywhere even if you aren’t looking.

We feed off ambiguity. We engage, but we do not commit. Without the urgent need to see each other face to face, it has become easy to project any image, whichever you want. Nowadays, “I like you” and “I love you” are thrown around so often that the weight that was once ascribed to these words are relegated to something so light, so mundane.

Dating nowadays feels like a big game of chess.

Which begs the question: Why are we so keen to avoid commitment? Why are we more content with flitting from one love to another, discontented with what we have? We’re always on the lookout for more. As if that “more” equates to being enough.

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Maybe it’s because we think we have a lot of options. We think that choosing one door eventually closes off the others, and we have this mentality of “There must be something better out there.” We think that choosing means settling. So we always rely on the gray area. We stay afloat by keeping and giving just enough attention to the other person so that they can come back for more, but acting with just enough detachment so as not to get too attached. I think the irony in this age of social media is that we’re given all these avenues for self-expression, but we’re afraid to bare our souls. We’re afraid of showing our cards first, of putting all the eggs in one basket.

And so we hide under filters, strategize our game plan, project images far from the truth, live under pretenses.

When did love start to become something to be embarrassed about?

The thing is: Perhaps we cannot find love because we are afraid of it.

We are afraid to admit that we are terrified of the extent of our own feelings. We so calculate every move that we do not notice that by looking at dating as a game of something, we already lose. Intimacy is more than the kissing and them taking you to bed. It’s not just allowing yourself to be seen sans clothes. Sometimes, intimacy is letting a beautiful boy hold your hand and look at you as if seeing the depths of your soul.

Just put the phone down and connect. Because whatever is happening behind the screen is probably not as wonderful and as interesting as the person right in front of you. So let us allow ourselves to be seen, flaws and all. Let’s appreciate people for who they are and not for how we choose to see them; let’s allow ourselves to connect without the help of our “insta-lives”. To have face-to-face interactions. To disconnect to really connect. To experience something real.

At the end of the day, the platform by which we meet people may have changed, but some things remain constant. We all want to meet someone who makes us feel special, loved and appreciated. We all long for someone who makes us feel at home. We’re looking for consistency and constancy.

Love is always greater than our misgivings. Let us not hold ourselves back from feeling something. After all, the heart that we keep—that’s the best part in all of us.

Frances Grace Damazo, 23, says she is tired of her generation’s approach to dating and hopes to meet someone who isn’t a commitment-phobe and is willing to put a label on relationships.

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TAGS: internet, love, opinion, Relationship, social media, Social network
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