When @patrick742, the Hayden Christensen look-alike from school who followed me on Instagram after we shared a party-sized bag of salt and vinegar chips in class together, commented on my latest swimwear selfie, my taco-filled stomach grew all kinds of butterflies.
“Hot,” he had typed out, finishing off his blasé compliment with one of those heart eye emojis I always thought were dumb, but because it was from Patrick I wanted to take a screenshot of it, print it out, and tape it above my bed.
My cheeks turned pink and my heart started beating faster; I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that he commented on my picture! And he called me hot! Three letters; that’s it. Three letters typically meant to describe sweltering Florida-like temperatures outside, used to describe me and my bathing suit clad body. Three letters that literally made me want to call all my girlfriends and gush about.
For the love of God, PINCH ME!
I anxiously contemplated whether I should comment back a “Thanks!” or a “That’s sweet” or maybe just some cute emoji like a heart or a smiley face, but I couldn’t decide. Too much was on the line, and I didn’t want to ruin my chances of getting with him. Who knew composing a seemingly simple response to the cute guy at school could be so difficult?
After rapidly speed-dialing one of my friends to tell her what happened and ask what I should say back, we both decided on a remark we felt was equivalent to a carefree winky face. Because I wanted to sound as “whatever” as him but still hint enough that I liked him. I posted an “Aw, you’re so sweet,” and called it a day.
As I stared at the screen for what felt like forever, I started regretting what I said. That was so dumb; why did I say that??? Ughhhh.
Oh well, I thought. He probably won’t even check his notifications until later. At least he knows I saw his comment and liked what he said. Hopefully he makes the next move!
I put my phone on the table across the room from me, so I wouldn’t think about it for a while; I just couldn’t contain my impatience! Out of sight, out of mind, I told myself. Besides, my nails were starting to look like they needed a new coat of paint, and what better way to waste time than to make my nails look cute for when they (hopefully) caressed Patrick’s face in my dreams later that night.
A few minutes later, I heard my phone vibrate, but I didn’t think much of it. Phantom vibrations are #real, and they get my hopes up every single time, so I continued lathering on my Barbie pink nail polish, trying to think about anything other than Patrick’s hair I’ve been so tempted to run my fingers through.
Okay, maybe I’m not crazy, I thought as I ran over to the table and saw that I had a notification.
Patrick “liked” my comment.
“PATRICK LIKED MY COMMENT,” I screamed. I immediately started jumping up and down, acting crazy enough to be admitted into an insane asylum somewhere for crazy hot boy-obsessed women. “He liked it!”
My mind began to wander. He liked what I said, so he must like me, right? Should I message him and talk about class just so that I can start a conversation with him? My thoughts were flying in at 100 miles per second!
I bet he wants to talk more, but he’s too afraid to say something. Maybe I could ask if he remembered what the homework assignment for tomorrow was? Then I’ll have a valid reason to reach out to him!
Fast forward to an hour later still gripping onto my phone for dear life trying to figure out what the heck to say! After drafting and deleting about 11 different messages to Patrick while intermittingly calling my girlfriend to ask her advice, I finally just decided to wait and talk to him in class the next morning.
Anyways, if my boyfriend were to see that I had written a message on my phone to another guy, he would jump to conclusions and think I was cheating on him.
And I’m not. Patrick is just my friend from school, after all.
This excuse – “he’s just my friend!” – (or some variation of it), is used more often than not these days, and this is why modern romance sucks. In this technology centered culture we live in, relationships have changed drastically.
Nowadays, it’s acceptable for boyfriends to “like” another girl’s half-naked selfie, and it’s perfectly okay for girlfriends to respond to another guy’s flirty comment with a pink heart. In the real world though, if these “likes” and emojis were dished out as often as they were on social media, I doubt many people would have long-lasting relationships.
With Instagram and Facebook and Twitter lurking in the background, couples seem to be less interested in their own relationships and more interested in lassoing a potential backup in case their current relationship goes awry. The spotlight isn’t on the significant other but on the hot girl from the gym or the hipster guy from Target.
Likes and comments and messages have become all the rage, and not only do guys or girls meander online in hopes of scoring a potential backup, but they also post, message, and comment in order to feel better about themselves. Knowing that you have a guy or a girl online to boost your morale after you and your partner get into a fight happens to be the new normal. Who needs to have confidence in your partner’s ability to communicate when messaging with @connorheartsdogs online is so much easier. And he likes all of my pictures! Even the ones where it’s just my food!
Gone are the days where Rhonda didn’t have to worry about Bobby flirting with anyone when he was at work or the gym or at a bar with his male coworkers. Gone are the days where Bobby didn’t have to worry about Rhonda showing off her body to anyone but him. Now, all Bobby and Rhonda have to do is open an app on their phones and message someone or post something.
In today’s modern world of romance, couples aren’t only involved in a relationship with their partner, but they are also involved in a relationship with the internet. People have become so attached to using their phones as some sort of backup or way to feel better about themselves, and consequently, the importance of relationships has been placed on the back-burner.
When your boyfriend doesn’t compliment you enough, all you have to do is post a risqué selfie on Instagram, get a ton of likes and comments on it, and then you can feel better about yourself. Or maybe your girlfriend made you mad so you message another girl on Facebook who you know will make you feel better by complimenting your manly muscles or sweet mustache.
Social media has become the answer to “What do you do when you’re not happy in your relationship?” It’s a porthole to other people who are looking for the same thing boyfriends and girlfriends are looking for: affirmation, confidence, and possibly someone on standby in case something in your relationship goes off the tracks.
The reason why these seemingly deceitful acts have become acceptable in this day and age is because everyone is doing it. Modern relationships have been rooted in the very nature of technology and everything that comes with it.
If your girlfriend posts a selfie in a revealing bathing suit, highlighting the perkiness of her God-given breasts, it’s okay; there’s no need to worry or be jealous because when you scroll through the feed on Instagram and Facebook and see a ton of other girls posting the same kind of pictures, it becomes normalized: it becomes the standard.
Modern relationships have become so difficult because now, not only are we having to deal with conflicts arising in real life, or as the internet folk say “IRL,” but we are having to deal with the risk of your partner becoming involved in an online relationship. And on top of that, because all of this has become normal, the standards for cheating have changed as well. Now, a guy or girl may argue that what may seem like flirting online is really just misinterpreted, and that they’re “just friends.”
The whole “game” of relationships has changed. And it’s still changing. Traditional romance has gone out the window and made room for this scary thing called modern romance, where you don’t sign up for a relationship with just one person, you sign up for a relationship with one person and everyone else he or she decides to talk to on the internet.
So, the bottom line is be careful out there! The world can be a confusing place, but relationships nowadays will make your head spin. I mean, how many “just friends” can one have?