By Nombuso Nkambule (@hrh_nombuso)
I was licking a fresh wound that only served to hurt me and confuse my thoughts on relationships. But what was more frustrating than feeling hurt was the feeling that I couldn’t justify my sadness to the Millenials because ‘we never dated’. God. Damn. How do you mourn a loss that was never really yours?
Millenials are often described as a ‘social media addicted’ generation with new introspects on the social connection, and in my opinion, new introspects on the love connection. In an article for Strategic Business Insights, Pate Bateman writes, “Millenials are the creation of a society in which parents are friends who promote self-confidence”, it’s no revelation then that this new generation has also bred a band of confident playboys who are charismatic, eligible and to my surprise, commitment shy. It’s a new day with new introspects on love and I am that girl who believes that her ‘The Notebook’ moment is coming and that the right guys are all Noah’s. Well, I used to be that girl, until I realised that in this ‘social-media mad’ Millenial generation that’s saturated with filters and Twitter ‘check DM’s’, all is not as it seems.
I am on social media, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and I connect with people there almost as much (if not more) as I connect with people via phone call or text message. There are so many avenues of connection and this has changed the dynamics of social interaction and as a result, the dynamics of the ‘love connection’ on social media have changed too. We text or send Twitter DMs to our beaus and spend time analysing the last message (after he stopped replying for two days) because text doesn’t have a tone of voice. And no, emoticons don’t always do justice to the meaning behind the message.
I had one such experience one night while texting I guy I was seeing , I got one of those simple, but loaded, messages that followed with my many “but what do you think he means when he says…” questions to my best friend. All this confusion and questioning came from what I now consider to be a very sad and insecure need to officially date this person in the eyes of our social media following and connections so that they would all know that, “yes he’s mine” and more gallingly, “yes I’m the main chick.” I cringe using that term (‘main chick’), but I had this nagging itch for our relationship to be publicly official, Facebook official (ie. Nombuso Nkambule is in a relationship with X), in order for it to be REALLY official, or at the very least have a couple of posts, give or take, of our Instagram ‘couple selfies’ (#us #relationship #couple).
I don’t call the guy I was seeing ‘my boyfriend’ because that is not what he was. Like the growing trend in some of these streets, we were seeing each other exclusively but we weren’t in a relationship. What? Yeah I know, I don’t even get it. Anyway this ‘thing’ of ours was exciting and easy, so of course I caught feelings. I knew I liked him, he liked me and we were good, but not FBO good. Long story short, good turned to worst and it ended in a quick mess.
Needless to say, post the break-up that never happened (because remember, ‘we never dated’) I needed my space and didn’t communicate with him on any of my many networks. I was licking a fresh wound that only served to hurt me and confuse my thoughts on relationships. But what was more frustrating than feeling hurt was the feeling that I couldn’t justify my sadness to the Millenials because ‘we never dated’. God. Damn. How do you mourn a loss that was never really yours?
The trouble is this: we create emotional attachments based on real experiences, and we share the very real intimacy of what is ‘yours’, ‘his’ and ‘ours’, only to feel awkwardly in limbo when he tweets other girls cute emoticons and xxx’s at the end of every reply. Outside of the digital connect and alone with my thoughts, I was thinking about all this and I made my own resolutions. A question for the girls: does your relationship need to be FBO (Facebook Official) in order to feel ‘really official’, or is the self-assurance you have in yourself as a secure partner in a relationship enough?
Nombuso Nkambule is a modern day princess of the Valoyi clan. Not only is she Vanguard’s Fashion and Culture Editor, she is your go to New Girl on opinions on love, boys and oestrogen. A born writer, doctor in the making and struggling model who is just trying to survive the bone throw in these Jozi streets.