June 8, 2015


Lost Angeles: Combining Dating and Social Media Is Hard

JGI/Jamie Grill via Getty Images
JGI/Jamie Grill via Getty Images

I thought it would take a lot longer before I’d have to bring it up, but I suppose putting your life on the chopping block and then expecting not to bleed is a ridiculous notion.

Let’s talk about accountability. It’s been proven a number of times and when I worked for Intervention, we banked on it: People act differently when they know someone is going to find out about it. Humans stay sober when they realize that thousands of people watched them give up drinking; people are nicer if they think the camera is pointed at them. 

We rethink our decisions when we ponder the fact that more people are going to consider our actions rather than just one. How many seconds do you spend perfecting that selfie—or just flicking through filters—before you deem it worthy of the public eye? Then, how many seconds do you take to consider the repercussions of your actions on one person’s life when no one is there to look at it? Before a heavy confrontation. Before a split second comment. Before the domino effect of someone else’s feelings takes flight.

I knew that publishing my feelings in this column would possibly affect the people I was writing about, but I didn’t realize how much that mirrored the magnitude of social media exposure we have on a daily basis. 

I put my love life on display through writing, but most of us post pics with our loves or lovers and expect a bubble of safety or a promise of security. Well, I hate to tell you this, but it’s not there. What social media does provide is an opportunity for jealousy, flirting and mind games. I suppose if your relationship is airtight, then there's no problem there, but my therapist says many of her clients with relationship problems have stemmed from social media misunderstandings or disagreements.

It’s one thing to trust your spouse enough to not wonder if they’re behaving themselves when you’re not around. However, social media provides a unique window into our significant others' lives, and a veritable playground for flirting, one that otherwise happens behind closed doors, or at least stays at the office, classroom or bar. Social media and even just texting is a feeding ground for misunderstandings, rife with possibility for someone else to attack your relationship from the outside. 

Friends of mine continuously come to me to commiserate about girls who write on their boyfriends’ Facebook walls, Instagram comments, late night texts etc. What happened to respect? It’s not like these girls don’t clearly see that the boy (man in a few cases) is in a committed relationship. And what is the girlfriend supposed to do? In some instances we trust that the man didn’t instigate it, but that almost feels worse. 

Those horrible feelings of jealousy begin to bubble up and hum underneath the skin with tingles. Jealousy is like a virus attacking from the inside, warming the body like fever. An emotional reaction that causes a physical manifestation of anxiety and fear and anger that begs to be released. Most of this has made me reevaluate what I do with that warm anger. Letting it settle. Asking myself what is making me so upset. And in this case, it’s the women.  

It’s hard to believe that the women who we see as our contemporaries and even our friends can be so apathetic to the feelings they have invoked by unwittingly typing a few words to our lovers. The alternative being that they put a lot of thought into it and are in fact vengeful, insecure or jealous. Whichever story you choose to tell yourself, it’s a shame that the phenomenon exists at all.

I’ve had too many fights with ex-boyfriends because one of my friends was blatantly coming on to him, or because he was working on location and the girls (who knew he had a girlfriend) found that to be even more attractive and decide to continue to be inappropriate. More recently, a female counterpart decided to text High & Dry—even after I spilled my guts about my deepest feelings for him—thinking he wouldn’t tell me, I suppose? Well he did. And all I can say is shame on you. To the person who tried to intervene, I hope you find love. Because if you had already, you would know the depths of pain caused when someone threatens it. 

Cue the Beatles.

In other news, Mr. Sugar has changed his mind. In a similar way, it makes me wonder if reading my articles has made him feel accountable to his previous actions and reconsider a relationship. However, the fact that he knows about my feelings for High & Dry plays out more like a competitive reaction than feelings of genuine love. Does he feel this urge to chase me because he doesn’t have me, or because he purely wants to attempt a real relationship? I do know that we care deeply for one another, but that does not a relationship make. 

As for me, I’m still weary of it all at the moment. It’s hard to trust humans who have feelings that can vacillate and falter so quickly. What’s more, there will always be loose women teasing them…and I’m not sure I have the trust built up to withstand all this messiness just yet.

It all feels too familiar. Perhaps it just reminds me of my first go-round with High & Dry and how being away from someone and relying on social media and limited communication can cause miscommunication. I don’t know if my heart can go through all of that again.

Until next time, some Banks...