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Holly Sidell

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Dating And Facebook: 'It's Complicated'

Posted: 11/16/11 04:37 PM ET

I'm dating someone I am crazy about. We've met the parents, we've made plans to meet all the friends, we've discussed our future together. We're in it and we're happy. I couldn't wait to declare our love for each other by sharing it with the world on Facebook (because how else does one declare their love if not through social media?)! "Babe, I posted our picture! I'll tag you in it so your friends can see it too!"

SILENCE. PAUSE. LONGEST 30 SECONDS OF MY LIFE. "Umm... ummm.... I'm going to hold off on putting anything about you on Facebook for now. It's not that I'm not crazy about you, it's just that I have my reasons." Whhhaaaat? WHY!? NOOOOOO! Cut to slow motion close up of Holly's heart sinking and blood rushing to her face and stomach forming chunks of burning hot puke. Cue Netflix unleashing its latest movie releases into my mind: he has a girlfriend and I'm the other woman, he's ashamed of me and doesn't want anyone to know about me, he's just not really that into me, he's only using me and saying whatever he needs to say to keep me around, he's dating lots of other girls who he tells all the same things to ... and worst -- he's hiding something from me.

I know, it's stupid. It's Facebook. But the reality is that Facebook has become a part of relationships, like it or not. A place of declaration or rejection. Yes, we've attached meaning to it. Sorry, but it's the truth. It's just the way it is. Deal with it.

I started falling down to the "dark" place. I was so hurt! Why didn't he want to share me with the world, the way I wanted to share him!? All of my inherent defense mechanisms came out: I wanted to shut down, I wanted to try to make him jealous, I wanted to act like I didn't care, I wanted to contact some of his "girl" friends on Facebook and find out dirt, I wanted to just be over it ... But then, after many many many deep breaths and smacks out of it from my friend Shannon, I came back to myself -- why was I having this reaction? That's what I needed to look at. None of the other stuff was real, or true. The only truth was that this triggered panic in me. So, why?

FEAR. That's why. Fear that this magical relationship I thought I had was totally made up in my head. Fear that the man I think is my soulmate doesn't think the same about me. Fear that I'm going to lose something so precious to me. Fear of abandonment. The real issue wasn't really that he wouldn't put me on Facebook. The real issue was that I attached meaning to his action (or rather, inaction). And that meaning I attached was that he's not as in it as me, that I must have been making this whole love thing up in my head, and that he obviously doesn't like me as much as I like him. WHOA. That's quite a conclusion to jump to without any substantiated evidence!

Once I knew what was coming up in me and why, I could deal with it and stop being a victim. I could take responsibility for my emotions, deal with my emotions and not blame him. I could actually hear what he had to say about why he didn't want to put anything about me up on Facebook right now (his reason was very rational and valid, by the way, and I totally get it). I could reconnect with my knowing that I have no reason not to trust him. I could take a step back and look at things for what they are. And, then, I could breathe again.

Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg, for the spiritual lesson. But really, I guess, we can turn anything into a way to better ourselves or transform ourselves. Anytime we start to spin out of control and start falling into our "dark" place, we can choose to take a look at WHY we're going there and what's coming up for us rather than blaming something external. Stop and ask yourself, "Really, do I have any proof that the conclusion I'm jumping to is true?" Stop and ask yourself, "What is this person or situation really bringing up in me that I need to look at?

 
 
 

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