Campus Column

I Couldn’t Help But Wonder…

Long-distance relationships are so passé

One of my friends has never been in a relationship with someone who lives here in town. We will call him “Eric.”

He has dated guys here, but he hates how small the local gay community is. The chance of you talking to someone here who hasn’t dated half of the guys here is slim to none.

The first few guys he dated just wanted to hook up and not pursue a relationship, which is what Eric wanted.

He met his first boyfriend, “Ben,” about six years ago, but via social media. Specifically, Twitter.

Ben lived up north in Texas and had direct messaged Eric about thinking he was cute. They had been “mutals,” users who follow each other on social media, for a while.

One thing led to another and they decided to get into a long-distance relationship. They would FaceTime each other every night and text each other every day.

After a few months, Eric made the big decision to go visit Ben at his college over Thanksgiving break. Eric said that once he landed, they greeted each other with affection and immediately got to business once they entered Ben’s dorm room.

During the following summer break, Ben lived with Eric at his parents’ house until classes started. Eric was to move in with Ben during the fall up north. He dropped out of Del Mar to go spend time with Ben at his college.

They thought they were happy, but knowing someone online and in real life are two different things.

After a few years of being together, Eric was unhappy and homesick, but Ben was the one who ended it. Ben wanted freedom to express himself and try new things — also known as: He wanted to see other people and wear crop-tops.

Eric felt lonely since his break-up, but was always afraid to pursue anyone. He stayed single until this past November. He met someone, online, again. This time, “Shawn,” from Wisconsin.

Yes, over a thousand miles away.

Cue Vanessa Carlton.

They had been friends on Twitter for several years though, since before Ben. They had always been flirty, but thought nothing of it.

Eric and Shawn had decided to see each other last month, with Eric flying up there. A week before his trip, however, Eric had been feeling skeptical about pursuing anything with Shawn.

He saw red flags that started to remind him of how Ben treated him. Eric ended up hanging out with a friend of his three days before his trip, and they ended up sleeping together.

Eric confided in me about his situation. He wasn’t sure if he should tell Shawn about what happened or just keep it to himself.

Eric ended up going to visit Shawn without telling him. His feelings changed immediately though. After spending a week there, Eric confessed his love for him on all of his social media platforms.

I couldn’t help but wonder: Why do people move so fast in relationships these days, especially when they’re not even sure what they want? Is it because they are tired of being lonely, and settle?

According to the Huffington Post, they’re most likely stuck in a “flytrap” where everything seems amazing so far. It’s a hypnotic mess where people rush into a union without building trust or getting to know each other in a mature way.

I’ll admit, when I first met my husband, everything was ethereal and bubbly, but I knew that it wouldn’t always stay like that. I made sure we moved slowly because I’ve seen people quickly get together without even knowing each other’s birthdays.

Eric and Shawn are still together, but seeing their constant cyber-affection makes my eyes roll far to the back of my head.

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