This is not going to be a think piece on how the internet is ruining dating or blah blah blah because frankly dating has always been horrible and nobody should doing it anyway.
This is genuinely about how I’ve convinced myself that my one ongoing and long-lasting relationship is literally with the internet and he is the woooooorst boyfriend of all time.
It’s not an addiction—and I say this hesitantly and also with the side note that on the weekends I do everything in my mental power to avoid looking at a screen, and am successful for the most part (particularly successful in irritating people who think it’s dumb of me to respond to texts four days later but I am cleansing my soul).
Although I suppose people who aren’t addicted to something don’t need to create boundaries or rules for themselves.
But I could stop anytime! What addiction?!?
I am dating the internet. We’ve been together for a while now—like, we go way back to 2009 when I used to spend more time on AIM than living a real life. He’s the type of boyfriend I am completely and totally embarrassed to have. I never want to take him out, but he just sort of follows me like a puppy. Or a dark cloud, depending on the day. His looming omnipresence stresses me out. I get excited to do things like shower or be unconscious so that I don’t have to put up with him. He’s so whiny. And like most guys I date, I never want my parents to fully understand who or what he is. He’s a terrible boyfriend.
He knows so much about everyone and anytime I’m slipping away, he just wins me over with “did you know that guy you liked two years ago made his Twitter public?” or “fall into the abyss and read everything I know about serial killers” and I just can’t help but grooooooan because of course I’m going to go down the rabbit hole with you, internet. You are my forever.
I’ve become that girl who ditches her friends for her boyfriend. I will sit in their apartments and lie on their couches and be physically present, but oh will my mind wander to whatever magic could be unfolding within the dark depths of the explore page on Instagram or what fresh hell will my Facebook inbox bring me.
And there’s my boyfriend, right there, on my phone. Held carefully in my hands. Always ready to satisfy any craving I have.
I am enamored! I am in love!
The internet gives me attention 24/7. He gives me connection and escape and boosts my carefully curated false sense of self. When I wake up at 2:39am and need a distraction, he’s there to soothe me—or at least keep me wired until I pass out at 4:07am. He technically financially supports me too—I get paychecks to produce content for him. When he’s acting slow, I want to physically smash things. If he really loved me, wouldn’t he load this YouTube video faster for me? He introduces me to funny things and people, whisks me away to exotic locations, answers all of my questions, shows me videos of food, and, most importantly, feeds my ego.
I look to him for validation—for likes and comments and praise. I give him all of my ideas and feelings and stories and hope he approves of them and thinks they’re good and proves it to me with comments and page views. I show him photos of me on a beach somewhere, at a party where I’m sort of drunk but my arms look skinny!, and at my college graduation, and I secretly hope he approves of those too. I get butterflies when I’m told my overthinking and minor social anxiety pays off and he brings me plethoras of notifications and little hearts and thumbs ups.
I can’t tell if it’s me or him that’s the problem. I indulge him—I read the comments and willingly accept his invitations to stalk people’s online presence back to 2013—but he makes it so easy. There’s never middle ground with him. It’s all or nothing.