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Stories of love and heartbreak in virtuality: is it worth it or not to look for a partner on the internet

“Those I met through Tinder ended with a ‘stop writing to us’, without further explanations but without rancor, part of what could happen. The worst was one who spoke to me 24/7, we had gone out a few times and one day he whitewashed romance on the networks (I didn’t know) and stopped talking to me. He didn’t even last a month with her. At the time I answered a story, We spoke again 24/7, always with invitations that he did not finish specifying: he told me that he had a lot of work…”.

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“…Then he whitewashed a girlfriend again, but this time he blocked me. I felt very used because she was talking to me all day. When she, at the time, she came back to look for me on networks, I learned and I didn’t answer her anymore (besides, I was with someone). I didn’t even like her that much and I didn’t feel in love, but she had a somewhat addictive game, which made you dependent on her and then she left you ”.

The story is shared by Diana (fictitious name to prevent identity). She is 31 years old and says that she has had other stories that were born through social networks and did not end so badly. But in this case the situation was different.

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She was a victim of what is known as breadcrumbing, which refers to the actions of those people who do not end up disappearing completely, but do not make an appointment or meet either.

It is a term that emerged almost at the same time as ghosting, which refers to the untimely disappearance of a person, after having several appointments, without giving explanations. The person vanishes completely, becomes a “ghost” or ghost, as it is said in Spanish.

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“I went out with a skinny guy and everything was going super well. We were together for a few months, but it was all super intense: we had incredible outings; I went to her birthday at her sister’s house; She sent me photos of the children and from one day to the next she didn’t answer me anymore. She disappeared. I wrote to him a few more times but never got any answers. To this day I don’t know what happened. It is horrible not knowing what is happening on the other side and that they disappear from one moment to another, “ tells V, a 35-year-old woman who also asks for a reservation with her name because she does not want to be exposed.

The story of Diana and V is one of the many anecdotes of virtual love and heartbreak that can be heard or read dailyin the daily environment or through public downloads in different social networks Has virtuality fostered the most fleeting links or is there simply more talk about something that also happened before?

“I think that on the one hand it reveals in a faster way dynamics that already existed and that are of the order of face to face as well. Obviously, virtuality has its particularities because there is the ghosting thing, but it is not that it did not exist before, but that now it is given a more visible way; and as long as there is more control through social networks, we can have more information about that disengagement as well as about the bonding itself, ”says Mariana Palumbo, doctor in Social Sciences and researcher at Conicet, in dialogue with TechMarkup.

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R., also has a story to share that ends in ghosting: “It happened to me that I had a relationship when I had just arrived in the City of Buenos Aires, with a boy from La Plata (Province of Buenos Aires). We saw each other every weekend: sometimes I went to his apartment and other times he came to mine, in Capital. During the week we talked a lot on WhatsApp. He had no social networks. After a year and months of relationship, the talk began to become increasingly crude and I saw, on his part, less intention to meet.

Almost at the end of the relationship, I went one weekend to celebrate his birthday together. There was nothing out of the ordinary, he just didn’t walk me to the train station like he always did. When I got back home, we exchanged a couple of messages and the last thing he sent me was a “hahaha”, in response to something I had said to him. As I noticed that there was something strange, I didn’t talk to him to see how long it took him to talk or something like that, but the days turned into months and I never heard from him again. Several times before he had told me things that my approaches were childish, so I preferred not to bother him and I simply didn’t talk to him anymore. He didn’t even talk to me to look for the books that he had lent me”.

liquid love

These stories are examples of what the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman described as liquid love in his homonymous book, published in 2003. There he talks about more fleeting interpersonal relationships, superficial and with less commitment. For the author, these types of links flourish in postmodernity, in which there is a greater tendency to individualism and a preponderance of consumerist ideology that causes everything, including other people, to be seen as merchandise to satisfy needs. Once the need is satisfied, the other becomes disposable.

Psychoanalyst María Fernanda Rivas, member of the Argentine Psychoanalytic Association (APA) and author of the book “La familia y la ley. Conflicts Transformations”, she says that several years have passed since that reflection and that In recent years, the links have been reconfigured quite a bit, without this necessarily implying less commitment or depth.

“Are the traditional ways of looking for a partner the only ones that are adequate? We should not necessarily think that a relationship that begins virtually is destined to be superficial or quickly extinguished. It is risky to equate virtuality with a lack of commitment”, says the expert.

Palumbo also emphasizes that it is not necessary to think that digital life necessarily implies the creation of harmful or ephemeral links.

I think it is important to make it clear that virtuality does not necessarily have to be thought of as a negative space such as breaking the social bond.but on the contrary, we can think that virtuality, although it has its own dynamics based on greater immediacy, on greater transience, also reproduces dynamics that are of the order of face-to-face daily social life”, analyzes the specialist.

For her, it is key to analyze the situation taking into account the social context in which they occur. “More than demonizing virtuality, we have to think about what happens to us as a societyin what way we are linking, what we expect from the links, and what is happening on a more social and economic level so that virtuality is today our preferred channel of expression and communication”, he adds.

The pandemic as a catalyst for virtual meetings

When analyzing the links, one cannot fail to mention the pandemic and the catalytic effect it has had on the development of virtual meetings. In times of confinement and quarantine, social networks and dating applications have become almost the only channel to interact with others. And this was clearly demonstrated by the explosion of new users signing up to many of these channels.

“The pandemic, considered a macro-crisis, which affected human ties and brought about an accelerated transformation in the world, produced a paradoxical effect: on the one hand it generated great losses, but on the other hand it allowed the creation of new resources and different ways of ‘being together’. Something that has become very clear is that even in the midst of illness and death, people have not stopped looking for ways to establish relationships. Virtual resources were launched and in some places dating apps exploded. Given the state of vulnerability, it seems that attachment has become crucially important. One of the most desired sensations in these times has been to feel accompanied and why not?… loved”, says Rivas.

The comfort of seducing from the armchair

Dating apps and networks have also made it easier to maintain long-distance relationships or simply indulge in virtual flirtations that may or may not end in solid ties.

Palumbo says that apps enable you to meet a wider variety of people from the comfort of your home or on the go because you can use these services while doing other things. In that sense, it promotes more freedom, and even greater possibility of a romantic romp. Although he warns that there are also limitations in that environment.

“You also have to think about it in terms of gender, many times logics continue to be reproduced in which women get hooked faster than men and men continue to have availability from the networks to continue seducing in an infinite way. So I think there are certain discourses of the non-virtual order that are reproduced in the virtual space as yet another space of human bonding”, underlines the sociologist.

Heartbreak always hurts: face to face and in virtuality

That they nail us the visa hurts in the same way that it hurt, a few years ago they didn’t answer the phone anymore. Rejection, regardless of the forms it takes, always generates pain, as the experts point out.

There are things of the order of lack of love, or not being chosen that generates anguish and sadnessbut it also has to do with what kind of bond there is, but that also happens face to face”, analyzes Palumbo.

In line with this thought, Rivas says the following: “Behind the social networks we find human beings who suffer for love as much as in presence. Being reciprocated or not affects self-esteem and when it is not, it manifests itself through deep emotional pain.

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