On Relationships In The Age of Social Media: Who Hurt You?

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It goes without saying that social media has ushered in a change in how we see and live our lives. We all get access to each other on a level that I don’t think we ever imagined we would. For many of us, social media has allowed us to create our own jobs, access our dreams and find our soulmates. There is an undeniable upside to the way we are all “connected” through the inter webs. But as of late, I’ve started to grow weary with the aforementioned connectivity—-especially when it comes to popularly-held relationship beliefs.

Let me start by saying, this isn’t a “pick me” piece or an attempt to put people who don’t desire an intimate romantic relationship at this time on blast. Do you at all times, boo boo. This is about urging us to be honest about what is really going on behind the 140 characters. So, have you seen any of these takes on your timeline:

Me at home sleeping peacefully knowing no one is out cheating on me: insert resting photo

Or

While y’all are out here being married and having kids, I’m out here counting my money and focusing on making my dreams come true.

Or maybe even

Y’all stay posting your relationships and the next week, you’re single. Looking so happy and none of it is real. Couldn’t be me.

How about

I’m gonna pass on marriage. S*** sounds like slavery to me. Not ever going to settle just to not be lonely. 🤷🏾‍♀️

Ok, here’s the thing: I get it. Relationships, love and heartbreak are hard enough without the added embarrassment of going through any part of it in public. I even get the idea of wanting to have something that is only for you. We can all make our own decisions. Everything goes but let’s get into the constant skepticism surrounding romantic relationships in the age of social media. Because—-your hurt is showing. Are there people settling for the sake of not being lonely? Of course. Are there people pretending to be happier than they are in real life? Sure. Are there people who are in relationships with partners who cheat on them? Unfortunately, yes. Is that the base foundation for every relationship? Nah, man. And y’all know better. All of a sudden there is no possible way that healthy, loving relationships exist. I don’t know if it’s just for likes or to light a fire in the comments section but…it’s tired.

There is so much fear, especially in the Black community, of being made to look stupid in the name of love. I feel it. I’ve been there. But even in my lowest times, my energy was never pointed towards convincing people that love didn’t matter. I wasn’t committed to tearing down the beauty of marriage and partnership. I was always able to separate my feelings from the factual benefits of having a person to walk through life with. Of course, not every person desires marriage (which we’ll get to in a minute because some of y’all are…lying) but there is no one on this earth who actually desires complete solitude. There is no amount of money or success that will ever fill the void of having someone to experience this part of existence with. And ya’ll aint gone convince me otherwise. Stop projecting your experiences onto every photo/video you see as you scroll to keep from crying (gone head and cry, sis, it helps!). Stop using the courage of others to be open about their losses to justify your reluctancy to put yourself out there again. Stop hiding behind “being private” when you’re really just afraid to expose your relationship to the world because you’re worried about looking silly if things don’t work out the way you’ve planned. We can see right through it all and it’s not half as progressive as you might think.

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And onto the conversation of not every woman/person wanting to be married—-ok. Of course not. There is no universal thing that appeals to all of us; however, some of y’all are using this excuse because you know the person you’re with doesn’t intend to marry you. Let’s just keep it a buck. It’s easier to pretend to not want something than to embrace the idea that you’ll never get it from the person you’d prefer it from. It’s easier to act like the very idea of marriage is preposterous than to admit to not having something that you actually desire. It’s easier to find every moment to compare marriage to something oppressive than to admit you’ve never seen it done right and; therefore, don’t believe you can succeed at it. It’s easier to act like the only way to truly be your own woman is to wake up alone than to heal from seeing your mother give herself to a man who didn’t respect or honor her. It’s easier to deflect than accept. Period.

Listen, you don’t have to agree with me. Maybe this article will make you so mad that you never want to read what I have to say again—-that’s fair. But we have to do a better job of identifying the truth behind these jokes so often shared across platforms. We are all influencers in many ways and, thus, need to be mindful of what we’re influencing people to believe. The fact of the matter is that most people are unable to think for themselves so the constant stream of other people’s opinions start to become the full sum of what they deem as truth. These attitudes and ideals filter into other things we consume as well from music to TV shows to podcast discussions. There are artists whose entire catalogues consist of songs about how love doesn’t exist and people can’t be trusted. We are hollering “where are the love songs?” after spending countless time online acting like love is a barrier to self-actualization rather than a key to our fulfillment (when done the right way!). We are romanticizing the era of Black love movies but roll our eyes and call people corny when they openly dote on their partners. We want people to be honest about the sacrifices that come with marriage and long-term relationships but meet their confessions with “couldn’t be me”-s and “this is what y’all want?!”-s. We want to be a better community but can’t agree on something as simple as the importance of romantic love. It’s…interesting. So, this week, I implore us all to question why there seems to be an uptick in bashing relationships. Is it just jokes? Or are we all just wearing our broken hearts on our sleeves?

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Iman Milner1 Comment