I have now spent an entire semester writing about the way that, thanks to technology, relationships are not the same anymore.
I never really came up with a definitive opinion on whether this was a good or bad thing because I don’t think there’s a definitive answer. Technology has allowed people to come together in a whole new way.=
In an era before texting and video chatting, I would have been considerably more resistant to entering a relationship with my current boyfriend, who lives on the other end of what I had never really realized was the longest state in the history of all states (I mean, really, California? Sometimes I feel like you’re mocking me with your sheer length).
But, thanks to the knowledge that we can pick up our phones and talk to one another pretty much whenever we want, we both decided it was a relationship worth pursuing. And I’m so glad we did.
On the other hand, technology really has a way of leaving me confused and scattered and actively not living in the moment.
I’ve seen couples so focused on building an Instagram following around their cute couple photos that they never actually sit down to relax and have a conversation. I’ve seen couples fight about how one partner spends too much time texting other people when they’re supposed to be spending time together. And I am also guilty of looking down at my phone, rather than up at the people around me.
I guess all I can really say is that technology has changed the way we interact. Whether that’s for better or worse is up to how individuals choose to use it.
But no matter what Snapchat filter we choose to apply, no matter how much we text and Skype, swipe left or right, I think there’s one thing — the most important thing — that has stayed the same, and that is love itself.
It sounds cheesy, and it is, but there’s something really comforting about it to me. In a time where everything around us seems to be changing and shifting so quickly, knowing that we experience the same feeling as people thousands of years ago, offers a sense of peace. Love comes in all different forms, sure, but it always has.
Even the wrenching heartache of loving someone who doesn’t feel the same way? That idea has been discussed since the time of Plato (circa 300 B.C. or so).
What about the frustration of realizing that love isn’t as exciting and flawless in real life as it is when depicted in popular culture? Shakespeare talked about that.
The way we express ourselves may have shifted, but the sentiments have remained the same.
Technology has created new ways of expressing love, but (at least so far) nothing can replace the feeling of being physically reunited with someone you love, or sharing an enormous bear hug or taking a nap together (nothing will ever replace the value of a nap).
And maybe, as we finish up our academic year, many of us excited, some of us graduating, almost all of us confused and uncertain, love — pixelated or otherwise — is the one thing we can count on to stick with us.