Ignorance = Bliss

In the virtual age it isn’t difficult to follow ex-lovers or ex-almost-lovers and the progress they make in the arena of romance.  I am not talking about those you are friends with but like; I’m talking about actual exes.

“Let’s be friends,” or, “I don’t want to be in a romantic relationship with you,” no longer simply means, “I don’t want to date you anymore but let’s be civil in order to keep up appearances should I want to cross this bridge again sometime in the future.”  It used to be that when someone said they wanted to be friends, you knew that when you saw them you had to be nice but later would analyze the encounter with your friends, Seinfeld style, to see who “won” in the end. But now being friends has ramifications beyond the odd meeting in mutual circles of being.  “Let’s be friends” means everything it meant before but with the addition of, “If you delete me from your facebook (MySpace, Twitter, whatever) before I delete you, I win.”

So now when a relationship goes to pot or doesn’t go anywhere at all, we may be stuck holding onto virtual friendships with people whom, in some cases, we would rather not have any contact with. Sometimes we’re the ones who ended things; sometimes they are.  The unfortunate result of this virtual contact being that we also have the opportunity to see what they’re doing and who their doing it with.

I’m not talking about cyber stalking, although the virtual space does lend itself well to the pursuit of a restraining order. I’m talking about when someone you like or liked once, someone who you at one point had a hope of happiness with, suddenly posts something about the love of their life or changes their status to something about a relationship.  Their posts don’t even have to have anything to do with love.  If they appear happy and we’re miserable then we are painfully aware of every ounce of pain we have being multiplied by their apparent happiness.  If they’re miserable and we’re happy, we’re torn between being happy we “won” and feeling badly that they’re miserable, assuming we have enough of a heart remaining to feel.  But it gets worse than that.

Before virtual pseudo-friendship, when we found out that an ex was with someone new, we didn’t necessarily know how soon after us it happened. We’d hear about it when a friend of a friend of a cousin’s dog-sitter who works with the ex’s best pal mentioned it at the coffee shop or when we ran into them out someplace or, if we were really unlucky, we’d actually see the ex and the new-lover out. If we happened to have enough gossip or happened to see them soon enough after the spit we could reasonably and neurotically assume that this new love was the one right after us.  Whether by assumption or by knowing for sure, being aware that the one we cared for is with someone that is not us, being happy, and right after us hurts like hell.  Fair? Not even remotely. But it’s the reality of our virtual world.  As long as we are virtually connected, no longer do we have the luxury of avoidance.

There is a little good news, though.  Sometimes there is that magical place where they delete you and you get to move on free and clear having “won”.  No virtual pseudo-friendship with nutcases.  No knowledge of what they’re doing now or who they’re irritating.  No bad juju or extra drama.  And that ignorance really is bliss!

© Dulcinea 2009.  All rights reserved.

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