Relationships in the digital age are often hard to navigate, does the ability to maintain communication at all times truly strengthen our relationships with others? This past month, I gave up social media for Lent. I began my journey fearful, afraid that disconnection would distance me from my friends and peers. Though ending my journey I have since realized that the distance was necessary. In a culture where we have access to every move our peers make, not being able to see what they were posting and doing allowed me to focus in on my own actions and stop living in judgment. Often, the most invaluable part of a relationship is that which is unsaid; the moments that are shared in laughter, in celebration, and in joy…for these moments cannot be sent through a text or a snapchat.
But do I think that real, genuine love is impossible in this digital age? No. I think we’re still adapting. We are learning how to be intimate on platforms which allow us to be distant in location. We’re so young and there is so much we do not yet understand about love, but having the ability to be in constant contact with someone accelerates this lack of understanding. Relationships are extremely glamourized on social media, in fact, it has become almost an expectation for us to be in one. These images which society projects upon us increase our expectations of how relationships ought to be, and this gap between our ability to understand love and our expectations of it is only made more drastic in this age.
While our elders may deem that real love is lost in the digital age, I believe that we are simply early to the party. We are the guinea pigs, left to explore this frontier without much guidance. Our elders may not understand, and in all honesty, I don’t think we quite understand either, but we are the ones who will figure it out.
Love in the digital age is learning to love apart from the digital aid.