Today, our life is different in many ways due to technology, especially the way we communicate and relate to one another.
By: Diana Bello Aristizábal
It is a fact that social media has been a game-changer when it comes to human communication and interaction. With this shift, romantic relationships have also evolved radically over time, especially now when technology is practically part of our day-to-day lives.
Those days when having long-distance relationships over the Internet was a problem is far-gone because this no longer represents a setback to find love. But are social networks an environment conducive to romance?
Most of us have a friend, neighbor, or relative who used to say he or she had bad luck in love, complained about how difficult it was to find someone or about how apps were not very functional.
However, a few of them met someone through social media or an app, took a chance with that special someone, and lived a happy ending story. So, is it possible to think that this is a “new way of finding love”?
Answering this question is tricky, as tricky as it is to have a healthy relationship in 2020 when we are more connected than ever, but still struggling to find the time to have a coffee with a friend or unhook from our cell phones.
Welcome to instant love or romance 2.0 times. Similar to the web, which began with its 1.0 version, romance went from phone calls and messages on the answering machine to chats with emoticons and stickers, video calls with people who are on the other side of the world and even a “catalog” of possible love interests that are one click away from us, it’s like shopping online.
But is this new reality we are living in a bad one? We think it isn’t. That would be like saying technology, which incorporated social media and collaboration platforms, is bad, and these tools have completely changed the way people interact today.
Therefore, it isn’t an overstatement to say technology and, more specifically, social networks have evolved hand in hand with our ability to connect in other formats and under new rules.
But the irony in all this is that although digital platforms have brought us new scenarios to find love, old thinking patterns persist today, preventing us from making lasting and healthy romantic ties. We are talking about limiting beliefs, the “watermark” each person uses to build relationships.
All these aspects, in addition to the race we have against the clock and the change of gender roles, in which men and women no longer want to fulfill the traditional roles imposed to them for years, has made many people think that romantic love is a privilege that only a few can enjoy.
Is technology a help or an obstacle? We talked about this with experts and individuals to understand how love works nowadays.
Love is everywhere, even in Tinder
Although the above line sounds like a cliché, it refers to the ability every human being has to find love anywhere if he or she is emotionally available, has made amends with the past, and knows what kind of person he or she is.
“The point is not to tag as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ one way or another to find love (for instance, apps or dating websites). If you know who you are and what you are looking for, love can be found in the supermarket, an elevator, or in any other scenario”, explains Julie Tarazona, life, relationships, and parenting coach.
But the real problem today is that many people are not willing to take the time actually to know someone before saying no to a second date. “We live in a microwave society because we want everything handed to us right now and that’s why we don’t take the time to think if what comes to us is really what we need,” she says.
Aielet Zik, a couples therapist, agrees with this point of view. In her professional opinion, people have lost a little notion of how to build a relationship, which is why so many individuals end up alone currently.
“The digital world has opened many doors for us, but I have the feeling that it has also opened the doors to disposable relationships due to the unlimited access we have to men and women online. This draws many to dating under the philosophy of ‘if it doesn’t work, there are other options’,” says Aielet.
Those who look for a romantic relationship with that approach usually don’t have a second date. In fact, some people don’t even get to the first date based on what they find in the profile description.
“We forget that although we have unlimited access to apps, websites, and social media, we are interacting with another human being who is equally vulnerable than us. But we fall into the common mistake of objectifying others, and that makes it very difficult to find a couple,” comments Aielet.
This also applies to newbies in social media or dating apps. Not only they interact with dating platforms as if they were shopping online but bring their prejudices along, which ultimately become limiting beliefs that literally limit them in their search for love.
“Rumour has it that in apps nobody wants a serious relationship, but in reality, that is not always the case, because there are many successful love stories that started in those places,” says Julie.
The story of Ana Hoyos-Rodríguez is one of them. This Colombian found her current husband online after dating different people with whom she did not click. “On the Internet, you will find everything, including the player prototype that is not interested in committing but to be fair, this happens in non-virtual environments as well,” says Ana.
For this reason, it is best not to fall into generalizations, but rather asking oneself with honesty if we really are what we hope to find in others and if we do what we hope someone else does. In other words, as the Instagrammer, author and motivational speaker, Ace Metaphor, likes to put it “if you want a serious relationship, you must first ask yourself if you take yourself seriously.”
“Prince charming is not going to knock on your door. If you don’t work on being the best version of yourself and in developing real authentic self-esteem, you will continue to attract the same type of person. You have to heal, free yourself from the past and be ready to receive love,” says Julie.
If you figure this out, it ill be easier to move between social networks, apps, websites, and traditional non-virtual spaces without wasting time and identifying red flags on time. “If he or she arrives half an hour late to the date, you know already that, perhaps, his or her intentions are not very serious,” Julie warns.
Also, the process of finding a romantic partner can become easier if we take down another limiting belief: Thinking that only losers, criminals, desperate people, or with little romantic potential dates online.
“Of course there are people like that online, that cannot be denied but is not always the case. In my case, I had a very closed circle of friends, and I didn’t like the machismo culture in my city (Medellin, Colombia). That’s why I decided to download Tinder and open a profile on match.com after ending an 8-year relationship,” says Ana.
Ana decided to follow her intuition and ignored the comments around her. By doing so, she managed to meet Sergio on the OkCupid platform. Her love story breaks with all the paradigms that normally surround online dating. They met in January, and in May, they got engaged after seeing each other, face to face, on a couple of trips.
By September, they were already husband and wife and lived in Miami. “The night we met, we talked for 5 hours about his family and everything he liked. Ten days later, he bought tickets to visit me in Colombia. When I saw him, it was as if I had known him for a lifetime,” she recalls. Today, after five years of marriage, they are a happy couple.
In summary, if you want to date successfully, focus in yourself, strengthen internally, open your mind to new experiences, break down mental barriers and understand that every love story starts at a slow pace. Replace today’s instant love with one that lasts over time.