I was introduced to Facebook in grade 8, I was 13 years old and already had a Myspace account. Before I began my social life in high school, I had already established a social life online. I have been using the internet to communicate, learn and socialise since the onset of my adolescent years. It doesn't strike me as odd or weird that I prefer to find love online as opposed to in real life (irl).
My life is defined by the fact that everything seems new to me, I choose to look at the world through new eyes. I don't find excitement from following the conventional route so naturally I'm in awe of a first date playing out over Skype. There is a whole new set of rules that apply when love happens online. It is by no means the easiest way to go about relationships but I think life happens and love happens harder.
Things have changed vastly over the years and communication has opened the door to a plethora of possibilities. There are many ways of finding love and companionship over the internet and a host of sites to accommodate specific love needs. For example, the dating app "Tinder" caters to individuals looking for a quick 'hook up' typically with no strings attached. In that same breath, the internet spoils one for choice.
You are able to filter through millions of people to get exactly what you want; a man with a university degree, no kids and your desired income bracket, this is all made possible through having an online profile. It speeds up the acceptance process of getting to know someone compared to historically having to wine and dine for months in an effort to find out what they were about.
Distance is another relationship dynamic that has changed for the better because of the internet. It has no substantial effect on how often we speak to our partners. That means that, long distance is not the chore that it used to be, what's captivating is the possibility of not having someone in your physical space but fundamentally sharing your lives together.
The smartphone has revolutionised our understanding of relationships. It has become a modern-day phenomenon. Soul songstress, Erykah Badu released a whole album dedicated to the evolution of relationships and the telephone. It has amplified our scope of communication and love.
The real-time nature of social media comes with a lot of anxiety. The need and urgency to get an immediate response from WhatsApp or a private DM has ultimately shaped digital love as well.
I love relationships and the idea of love but truthfully distance makes the heart grow fonder. In my case my partner works between Johannesburg and London. Sometimes he's here, sometimes he's not and that's ok with me. I'm not saying it's easy, but it's ok. Instant messaging video and pictures adds a whole new dimension to how we look out for each other and express our love.
On the flip side of this, the real-time nature of social media comes with a lot of anxiety. The need and urgency to get an immediate response from WhatsApp or a private DM has ultimately shaped digital love as well. Getting a delayed response or no reply from someone usually signifies a lack of interest on their part. Timing is key in a world where everything has become instant. We live in a fast paced world where rejection happens at the click of a button. From someone's online profile you are able to decide within a second whether you are interested or not.
It's unconventional, with new waters to manoeuvre around in and that makes it exciting to me. I love the idea of living out unique experiences because it broadens my frame of reference from the usual and mundane.
And truthfully digital love is the only path I see the future heading, an uncomfortable idea for many but one that we all need to eventually accept.