QLC

From the Archives…The Stages of Dating in the Digital Age, Presented by Emojis

The evolution of the Internet is great, isn’t it? It brings you closer to those you love, and lets you share special moments in your life with those you can’t physically be with. I agree for the most part, unless you’re talking dating. Then, it can truly suck.

Meeting new people, opening up to them, sorting through feelings, and figuring out if you’re compatible is hard. Often times, you send them packing after date number one; but there are some that squeeze through for a few more innings. And these, my friends, are the ones we have to be weary of. Because we start to share moments and memories with them that get documented – and that means we’re digitally connected, until otherwise removed.

Stage One: stage 1

For the first few months (if all goes well), its filtered photos, Likes, and cute comments on your blog posts. To the Internet, you’re the happiest and most adorable couple that ever could be. You get confirmation of mutual attraction through these small actions, and your profiles begin to slowly resemble one another – often at different angles, and not directly acknowledging you’re there at the very same time, experiencing the very same thing. It’s cute! I swear.

Then, soon after, the inevitable happens: you get the break-up text (because calling isn’t a thing anymore) and your heart sinks. But you’ll still remain friends, naturally.

Stage Two:

stage 2

So the following weeks consist of you being haunted by their social profiles. And you browse through those old pictures on Facebook; the tweets back and forth; your #twinstagram filtered photos; the weekend recap blog posts filled with distant memories. It’s all still there – but now, these profiles continue to be updated without you.

Stage Three:

stage 3

You do your best to move on, realize he wasn’t worth your time, tears, or sleepless nights, and start feeling like your old self again. Single, sexy, and free. And, eventually over time, you remove your former-digital-love-connection and focus on what the future will bring.

Stage Four:

stage 4

But then, one day, you catch something online that reminds you of him. So you just click through to see what he’s up to (you may have unfriended him, but we all know privacy settings are easily maneuvered), take a quick peek, and you get close-lined by the Internet. He met a new girl – someone who’s featured in all of his profiles, and you just can’t look away. Instead of closing out, you dig deeper, and you find her profiles, too. She’s gorgeous, he’s happy, and you have nothing to do with any of it. Ouch, ouch, it hurts.

And, just like that, you’re pedaling backwards into an emotional state of mind, where you miss him and what you had together, and find yourself losing the momentum you’ve made over the past few months. All it takes is that one photograph. And, unfortunately, the Internet won’t let you live it down.

So what do you do when you get caught up in this black hole of said former-digital-love-connection’s social profiles? Well, you let it happen – because you are going to do it anyway. As far as I know, Siri isn’t able to block your phone from this emotional recklessness just yet. Take a few minutes, have a little cry if need be, and then you move the hell on.

Stage Five:

stage 5

It used to be hard enough – having to get over someone you cared for – without the constant reminder that they’re moving on without you. But now, that’s what we’re faced with – so we need to be mentally stronger, tougher, and more self-confident than ever to peel ourselves away from those profiles, and bring ourselves back to life.
Because, at some point, they’ll be on the receiving end of this vicious digital dating life, and (I don’t know about you, but) I’m going to make it look really, painfully good.

By Jessica Coleman

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