You Can’t Fix Your Relationship Online

Broken Heart 2 - The Anti-Social MediaThe other day I got an email that began like this:

“Jay, What the fuck? You and I both know I am not guilty of what you are accusing me of.”

Wait, what? I know I’m a terrible person who makes fun of social networks, but I haven’t accused anyone of being anything but slimy recently.

I doubled checked to make sure this wasn’t coming coming from one of my mortal enemies, and finished reading the email. Without getting into too many of the details, I was the recipient of an email that wasn’t meant for me. A woman was having issues with her new boyfriend, and things had pretty much broken down. Angry texts and phone calls were exchanged, and I was seeing the very end of it; a last ditch email to try and defend what few actions she had done.

Still, after reading it, I wondered why? Why did she feel the need to explain herself? Why did she send such a long email and not even make sure she had the right email address?

Relationships weren’t meant to be built in the online realm. Too much can go wrong. Words can be misinterpreted. Statuses can be misconstrued. Friends can leave misleading information. A heartfelt message comes across as obsessive. And a message can end up in the hands of a crazy blogger.

The biggest danger of social networks is information without context. There are all things you may have some control over, but you may never have full control of online. Without full control, you have to rely on trust, which you can’t build that the online realm alone. You can plant some of the seeds,but the real thing needs to be built in the real world.

And something does go wrong, don’t send an email, tweet, or Facebook message. Your written words can eventually come back to bite you in the ass.


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6 Responses to “You Can’t Fix Your Relationship Online”

  1. Daniella July 21, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    It seems so obvious, so clear when I read your post and I was tempted to say: Of course you can’t fix your relationships online!

    But honestly, I have to admit that I’m a guilty of doing it as well. It’s easy enough to flirt virtually. To do a de-brief of the first and second and third date via sms or facebook. But when the shit hits the fan, you can’t try to solve your issues via email or even worse, chat or sms (which is exactly what I tried to do). No emoticon can truly convey how you feel or what you are thinking or how you want your message to be understood.

    I guess it’s just that sitting down and having that conversation is hard. And we tend to take the easy way out. So thanks for the reminder! I promise not to intent to do it ever again…

  2. Claire Wagner July 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    A relative of mine asked for a divorce in a fax a few years ago. They probably negotiated the settlement by text, though.

    • Jay July 22, 2011 at 12:49 am #

      Fax? Seriously?! What year is it? 1994?

  3. Camilo Olea July 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    Yeah, I prefer sending my army of winged evil monkeys after my mortal enemies.

    • Jay July 22, 2011 at 12:48 am #

      I just publicly shame them on Craigslist in the missed connections section.

  4. Jerome Pineau July 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Come on Jay, we ALL know this was from your gal right? ;)

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