When you’re 17 years old, the best part about having a boyfriend is letting the entire world know you have a boyfriend. And so that’s what I did. I was living the teenage dream. I was experiencing real love for the very first time and I couldn’t help but share every thought and moment I experienced with Michael on all my social media accounts. Glued to my BlackBerry, I constantly tweeted about how much I missed him; shared a countdown of days on Facebook until when we’d see each other again; and of course, uploaded overly-edited photos of us onto my Tumblr. The only time I wasn’t on my phone was when it got confiscated during class.
While all of this was happening, Michael didn’t post anything about our relationship at all — he had zero social media presence except for Facebook. He also has no desire to make us Facebook official. We never spoke about it. I didn’t want to seem more boy-crazed than I already was, but this drove me totally nuts. I felt like I was missing out on the Tumblr couple experience. You know: when boys added their girlfriends’ name to their MSN and BBM statuses and Twitter bios and spam all over their Facebook wall. I wanted that so bad, but Michael posted nothing about us on the internet that was shareable. He did many romantic things for me IRL, but there was nobody around to capture it all (other than me).
Fast forward to 2017, and I’m still never more than five feet away from my iPhone. I’m on every social media app you can think of. It takes me less than 30 minutes to create the perfect Instagram post and I’m able to create full-on conversations with my friends through comments in a viral Facebook post, bae included. But besides the occasional Facebook tag I get from my boyfriend, the mix between social media and my romantic relationship is pretty much non-existent. After seven years together, Michael still isn’t on social media and I’m okay with that. In fact, I believe that him not having any (or very little) social media presence is a huge reason why we’re still together after all these years, while in a long distance relationship.
I never had to think about ex-girlfriends:
Back in high school, almost everyone knew each other through Facebook. But since my boyfriend was never super active on the social app, there was no evidence of girls he used to date. I knew them all by names, so I occasionally creeped them (because I’ve always been an expert at Google search), but by that time, all those girls moved on to the next, and there was no trace of my Michael on their profiles. So I didn’t ever worry about ex-girlfriend related drama. We’ve always kept our past in the past and that was the first step to gaining each other’s trust.
Us time really does mean us time:
Since there is no Instagram and Snapchat to look at, he never gets @ mentions during dinner. His phone is always in his pocket. And because he never has his phone out, I’m more likely to put my phone on ˜Do Not Disturb’ mode, and actually enjoy and appreciate the time I have with him. The only time I have my phone out is when we’re taking selfies together.
There’s still so much to talk about:
Since we both don’t have automatic updates to see what each other is up to throughout the day, we check up on each other the old school way: No, not texts. Phone calls! Besides sending emails and quick texts to friends, Michael doesn’t always have the patience to type up long text messages or keep up with conversations throughout the day. It’s sometimes super annoying, but in this way, besides the random Hi, How are you, texts we send, we save most of our communication until the end of the day with a phone call. I love it, because I get to focus on other things throughout the day, like work and friends. By the time night comes, there’s always so much to talk about and our conversations can last up to an hour.
Avoiding petty arguments:
We avoid all social media-caused arguments and situations that our friends complain about. I’m talking about things like: sliding into someone’s DMs; following model-type influencers; liking a hottie’s photos; and even deleting, blocking and unfriending each other on social media.
No middle man:
In a lot of cases, social media acts like a middleman for a relationship. For example, it can confirm to others whether two people are dating or broken up, and even show whether or not a couple is happy, and this is where social media can create a lot of pressure. I guess this was why my 17-year old self wanted to be “Facebook official” so bad. I always hear about incidents where girls complain about their boyfriends not dedicating a WCW post to them, or not posting enough photos of them. To be honest, I’m not even sure if Michael knows what WCW is. But because he doesn’t have any social media, my followers have no way of knowing what we’re up to and have no posts to compare to mine. I definitely feel the pressures from social media, I’m just glad it doesn’t involve my relationship.