Eric, 17, was texting furiously while we waited in line to watch an action flick in the mall. His new girlfriend was angry with him; he had not yet updated his relationship status on Facebook.
Now, Eric is a handsome chinito who probably has more female friends than male friends on his Facebook account. Not a single day goes by without a posting on his Wall from one of these female friends expressing admiration for Eric.
Among these female friends online is his current girlfriend, who, minutes after she accepted Eric as her boyfriend, updated her relationship status, tagging Eric. He has not yet approved the tag, nor has he changed his relationship status on the popular social media website. Now, she’s furious over it.
I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Eric. I had been in the same situation, although I think, unlike me, Eric had it coming. You couldn’t punish a man for being good looking, but when a girl feels wronged, she is often wronged. That’s why, unlike Eric, I had totally dropped off the edge of the digital planet. I have no Facebook account, and bliss quickly took over my two-year relationship.
If you are on Facebook and are currently in a relationship, chances are you have experienced a fight over a status. Worse, you and your girlfriend would have fought over a “like” of some sexy photo your female friend posted.
One could argue that you shouldn’t be doing it, but it seems justified to rail that there has already been much ado over an overexcited comment on your ex’s post. But hey, why are you even friends with your ex? Why not, I say!
I had been in the same situation as Eric. Somehow, that is. That’s why early this year, I deleted my Facebook account. Deactivated it, actually, but don’t tell my girlfriend that. You see, I’m friends with my ex-girlfriend. It was quite a long relationship, so there’s bound to be some feelings left, or maybe it’s just really deep friendship between the two of us. We went to the same school, and had some common friends who we have both known for years. So, I was thinking that somehow it was inevitable that we would bump into each other, so we might as well be friends on Facebook. As Spock would have said, it’s only logical, right?
If only it was that simple. I posted a photo of mine one day. Lo and behold! My ex-girlfriend was the first one to comment on it. She cracked a joke, which I thought was funny, so I liked it and posted my own comment to her comment. Well, it isn’t like we’re strangers. Clearly we had much to say to each other; we were together for a long time. I was happily exchanging comments with my ex-girlfriend when I was notified that my current girlfriend liked one of my comments!
I already smelled trouble somehow, but being the optimist that I am, I continued my exchange with my ex. I would later on realize that a like is not a green light to continue. It’s more like, “I know what you’re up to. You better stop it.” Of course, I didn’t know it then, so I got into trouble with my present girlfriend for it.
Just when I thought that the storm had passed, another one hit me, with a stronger signal. You see, Facebook has this way of thwarting the continuum of time. You can’t actually say past is past, since a quick scroll down your Timeline reveals a comprehensive overview of what you had been doing on social media.
Worse, Facebook has a way of bringing up the past. For example, when a friend makes a new comment on your old photo, it would reappear on your News Feed. It becomes current news on your and your friends’ News Feed.
This introduces a whole new problem when trying to bury the past, hidden from the mind of your somewhat love-crazed girlfriend. Old wounds could easily be opened, even after you have successfully healed it with a romantic harana outside her house. It may have been forgiven, but it will never be forgotten. Thanks to Facebook.
Some time after the first storm had already passed, my ex-girlfriend posted a new comment on some photos. It was then republished on my News Feed as well as on my girlfriend’s. All the work that a dozen red roses had done to get it behind us was undone by a single comment. We fought again because she thought that I was rekindling my romance with my ex-girlfriend. Why am I even friends with her in the first place, she asked. I said, we’re just friends. Besides, it’s only Facebook.
It wasn’t our last fight, nor was it the worst. But I thought it illustrated how Facebook “digitalized” (and supposedly simplified) our relationship with other people. I thought it was a whole new way of relating to other people, free from the drama of the real world. But it turned out to be basically the same story, except that, since info travels much more faster, it also complicates things faster.
The funny thing is, guys easily dismiss their digital “indiscretion” as if it’s far removed from the real world, although they are experiencing its pervasiveness and potential to complicate the real world at the moment.
So, after a few more fights, made all the more exhausting because I thought we were fighting over a petty thing, I deleted my Facebook account. We still fight, though not as often as we did when I was hyper-connected with my friends digitally. Occasionally, I activate my account quickly just to check on the lives of friends, but only when she’s asleep and wouldn’t know.
We were nearing the entrance when Eric decided to turned off his cell phone, and for a while forget about his new girlfriend, who just wouldn’t let the matter go. He would soon face the music, though, but at least, for now, he could watch the movie with us. Besides, I told him my experience after we went out for coffee. I hope he’ll be better equipped to handle it. If not, he still has those expressive eyes and winning smile.