I have been quite poorly for the past few weeks and have been home from work. I found myself watching a huge amount of Catfished, you know the show on MTV where Nev and Max help out people who think they are being deceived by people they have met on line?
This show really got me thinking. I have talked openly about how I feel about the place of social media in relationships. But the entire concept of a relationship ( and I am talking a romantic one here, rather than just a friendship – I think there are easily made on line and I don’t really see the harm in them ) based purely virtually, getting so incredibly deep and serious that people are willing to pack up their lives and move to other places is complete lunacy.
In the vast majority of the episodes that I watched, these people had built up this incredible high expectation of the other person. It was almost never going to be realised. It seems to me that these people are in love with the idea of the person ( and possibly the idea of love ) , rather than actually being in love with them. Because until you meet someone they are literally just someone made up in your head. In fact, I was in an on /off relationship once with someone I did know in person but I communicated with largely via email and text. I didn’t seem him for months at a time and I was always disappointed when I did, Because in my head he was this amazing person and in real life he was decidedly average. Surely if you only have a photo to go on ( and this might be stolen from someone else ), if you don’t know how they move and how they look when they speak, how can you possibly know that you are in love with them?
I know that there will be some readers here who met online and that’s totally cool, but surely you had to spend some time in person really getting to know each other before you could speak those eight wonderful letters out loud?
But above and beyond all this, you know what really upset me in this show? How so many of the participants totally disregarded and gave up on people in their real lives, How is it that online relationships with virtual strangers are held in such high regard? Why do we care so much if we upset them a little? Some of these people had even stopped spending time with their friends in real life at the request of the catfisher – why would we do this? I really don’t understand it, why do on line relationships and feelings get valued much higher than those in real life? Why would we chose to protect and keep happy someone we have never met rather than someone we know and love? I have experience of this, It hurts me still as you can probably tell. I just don’t get it.