On Facebook, I’ve never done the whole “Almie is in a relationship with ____” which I guess is the modern day equivalent of never being asked to prom. As immersed as I am in social media, I’ve found a way — perhaps inadvertently — to keep my relationships separate from my social media fandom. It isn’t that I’m opposed to declaring who I’m in a relationship with on Facebook, it’s more like it’s never come up, or when it has, an ex made it clear that he didn’t want to do that. “If we break up,” he explained, “I don’t want to get lots of messages about it. I don’t want people to feel sorry for us.” I kind of saw his point.
When I’m in a relationship, I’ll mention it in my writing, if it has anything to do with what I’m discussing, and as someone who frequently writes about dating and relationships, it often does. And I wonder if maybe I’m blurring the lines too much. Should one keep their relationships totally separate from social media? Now that I’m single, I look back on so many Instagram photos taken with my then-boyfriend, and most of the time it’s happy feelings I have, but sometimes, the occasional twinge of sadness with creep through.
I see my Instagram feed and even in photos he’s not in, I’m reminded of him. There’s photos of our brunch, of the view from a Palm Springs hotel we stayed it, of tacos from taco night. And I sometimes I worry I wasn’t enjoying those moments enough — that I was too concerned with which filter to put on the photo.
Because that’s the thing now, isn’t it? That there’s so much to be distracted by in our phones. We spend time with people, but most of that time is probably spent with eyes cast downward, staring at a glowing screen. We’re very concerned with capturing our moments as they happen, instead of just letting them happen without any proof. I think of the times I was with my boyfriend and how many of those times I had to stop what we were doing so I could tweet something that he inspired — and vice versa. Often he too was busy with his phone.
Is it a terribly bad thing? I don’t think so. Certainly social media isn’t to blame for our breakup. And I do feel we had a great relationship, with great moments. But I can just picture sometimes what we looked like — a couple with one or more preoccupied with their phone. And it’s an image I hate.
Are you letting social media get in the way of your relationship? How much is too much? I would say if you spend more time staring at a cell phone or laptop screen than you do your significant other, it’s probably time to put the devices away. Try to go an evening without looking at your phone even once, not even for the time. Just to see if you can do it.
Because if you’re having a truly wonderful time, your phone should be the last thing on your mind. If you’re bored, you’re gonna reach for that phone. I urge you to ease the boredom in other ways. You don’t want to look back on all those photos and wish you had been present. By then, it’s too late.
Photo by Garry Knight via Flickr.
Almie Rose is a writer from Los Angeles. She has a blog, Apocalypstick. In addition to Dating & Hookup she also writes for Hello Giggles, The Frisky, Thought Catalog, and Genlux Magazine. Her book, I Forgot To Be Famous, is out now. You can follow her on twitter @apocalypstick. Her favorite pastime is eating and drinking and sleeping and then eating again.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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