Unrequited Love and Social Media Addiction
My romantic health was poisoned by social media.
Maybe you're wondering, Hannah, what do you mean by romantic health? Well, it's a term I just made up, so I guess it's only fair for me to define it.
To me, romantic health is when your love life is based in reality: When your expectations about love mirror what is actually going on in your life. When you are romantically healthy, you are facing reality, not feeding fantasy.
Of course, the problem with maintaining romantic health is that love is inherently irrational. How can you keep your head on straight when liking someone by defintion means you're already in your feelings and feelings in and of themselves are illogical? Love is crazy like that! That's why it’s so exciting! It makes you feel good. So naturally, we want to follow what makes us feel good and when someone else is the source of that good feeling, we want to follow them too.
!!! This is why social media is a great resource for romance!!! Ha. I bet you thought I was going to drag social media the whole time! Nope. Social media can be so awesome when you're crushing on someone. I should know. I am the queen of crushes, (also a term a just made up.)
When I was single, it would make my day if I met a cute guy, and then later he followed me on Instagram. It's very affirming and flattering. And, if I'm being honest, even though I'm married, it still makes me feel good when a cute guy engages me online. For heaven's sake, life is filled with so much drudgery and disappointment, we deserve to feel that spike of dopamine when we connect with someone we like. Social media makes our lives a little brighter. I also think that collectively, social media has made us more extroverted. We're all putting ourselves out there more. We're more confident, bold, and vulnerable. Social media emboldens us.
But...There's a catch.
And I know this isn't news to anyone but there is a dark side to social media, (Ok now I'm going to drag social media.)
We all get that social media is problematic, but as a culture, we mostly make jokes about how we're all turning into stalkers, addicts and narcissists, like haha the internets the worst, haha social decay is all around us, or, haha I blame the internet. But these jokes are just a way to avoid dealing with the real life consequences that this invasive new technology has brought to our doorsteps. To our bedrooms.
Remember, social media is a new phenomenon. It hasn't been around long enough for us to really understand what this technology is doing to us. So I'd like to drop the haha jokes and address the cultural elephant in the room:
When it comes to romance, social media can really twist our hearts and our perceptions. Usually at the same time.
Now, I get there many well adjusted people who are totally in control of their vices. These people do a very good job managing their feelings and time, and when a relationship is over it's over, and I'm sure they move on easily, and they probably really love their parents and drink lots of water, and exercise every day.....
Honestly, good for you guys. You sound like you're doing great.
But to everyone else, let’s just admit that there is an an epidemic of blue light stalkers. Social media can keep you in a black hole of wishful thinking, in a state of unhealthy infatuation, of never-ending unrequited love.
I know. It happened to me. I am a recovering social media stalker.
Now. Little backstory...
I’m married now. But before my husband, I was...an actress. I'm a very dramatic woman. I spent my 20’s listening to Adele, making vision boards, and pining for unavailable men. Holy cow, I loved a guy that didn't love me and nothing pairs better with unrequited love like internet stalking! I creeped "platonic" guy friends, married guys, players, colleagues, exes, crushes, girlfriends of crushes, I once creeped a Dog's Instagram account because I had a crush on it's owner. I'm not even a dog person. Clearly, was not in a romantically healthy place. I was a full-blown creeper. It was my thing.
Then a I met a guy that I really liked, and I started to feel guilty about my online creeping habits.
When I first started dating this guy, I still creeped people online. Maybe it was out of habit. Or maybe I just liked that dopamine hit. I thought it was harmless. I told myself, well, I’m not sliding into any ones dms, I wasn't actually cheating, I didn't even want to cheat.... But the more serious our relationship became, the more guilty I felt about looking up other guys and dogs on the internet. So I prayed over it.
I prayed to God to guide me. And God showed me:
Hannah, when you creep men online who are not your boyfriend it is adulterous behavior. It's natural to be attracted to someone, but to feed into that attraction, by flirting online, by following, or liking or secretly creeping, that is committing adultery in my heart. And my heart belongs to this particular man, so how dare I disrespect him like that. My innocent creeping was dishonoring my himand robbing my relationship of the depths of love I wanted to achieve.
The bible says in Matthew 5:28 You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery. But I say unto you that who soever looketh on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery in his heart already.
God convicted me. I knew I needed to end this cycle of internet creeping. So I asked God to help me.
And he did. But not overnight.
It took me months to wean off my unhealthy internet habits. But slowly, I stopped. God showed me the lies and darkness that my "innocent" behavior was bringing into my heart, and into my relationship with my boyfriend. And my relationship with my boyfriend got so much better.
What I discovered is that by consciously disengaging from online stalking, I wasn't fueling my crushes any more. And when I wasn't feeding them, they went away. A lot of things began to become clear to me. For a long time, I thought I was stumbling into impossibly unattainable love interests when really I was just using the internet to perpetuate my delusions. I had been distracting myself, wasting my time.
I learned this lesson in an effort to strengthen while I was dating someone. But this applies to anyone struggling with online obsessions. For single and marred people. And it's especially relevant for someone trying to get over an ex or crush. You have to realize that every time you check out their social media, you are prolonging the time it will take you to move on. You are telling yourself a fictional story about them that does not exist.
You must stop.
Stop checking out their stuff. Stop creeping! The sooner they are out of sight and out of mind, the sooner great, REAL love will be able come into your life.
If you are struggling to keep your romantic health in order, take it to God. Ask him to help you untangle yourself from any additive online obsessions. And if you like having an infatuation, if you don’t wanna give up that crush right now, tell God that too. Just tell him where you’re at, and he will lead you to peace.
Remember, The devil drives, and God guides.
If you feel driven to a certain behavior or thought pattern, that is the enemy. Say in the name of Jesus, help me move on and I promise you, God will help you. God will break the chain of your unhealthy love addiction. You deserve Romantic health.
Heck, if me, queen of crushes, can finally be at a place in my life where I'm not creeping any exes or crushes online, so can you.
The journey will be so enlightening and worth it.
Grace and Peace be with you,