Behind Every Relationship, There Is An App
Zooming in on the digitisation of modern-day relationships
16 February 2017
Lola is a 20-something, attractive woman whose long-term boyfriend dumped her three years ago. In a text that didn’t even display the courtesy of a spell check. Tinking we shd backup (read breakup). She cried relentlessly (six times a day on an average) for months to follow.
Relationship Status: Complicated
Drowning in her own quicksand of self-pity, she activated the Drunk Mode app to avoid sending emotional texts to her ex after getting wasted.
Two years ago she could have been easily dismissed as a ‘dating disaster’. Starved of happy hormones and bereft of any self-confidence, she resorted to digital therapy of sorts. She downloaded the Rx Breakup app that helped her get over her crazy obsession in exactly 30 days.
But she needed a lot more than a temporary self-esteem boost to get back into the dating game. Incidentally her friends signed her up on Squad. A casual group hangout app that is often used as a discreet back doorway to dating.
For Lola it was a healthy way to graduate to Tinder. One month into it, and she had begun swiping like a pro. On an average she went on three dates every week (mostly starting Thursday). During happy hours to load up on two-for-the-price-of-one drinks.
“It’s cut-throat out there. Everyone’s a slut. I am tired of sharing the same anecdotes with the same enthusiasm every week. Sometimes I am not even interested in a guy, but I just play along because I don’t want to go back to an empty apartment or binge watch on Netflix,” she wrote in an anonymous blog post.
It was disturbing how Lola had created a psychological urgency to find a spouse before she hit 30. There was also a callous indifference in the way she strung along some of her past romantic relationships through Instagram. “My biological clock was ticking. I had to act smart. I had two guys in the backburner. It didn’t cost much to comment on their pictures. And it kind of kept them interested in me,” she wrote in yet another anonymous blog post.
Relationship Status: Committed
After almost 87 dates, 2 one-night stands and one polyamorous relationship, Lola finally changed her Facebook status to ‘Committed’. Puffy the Cat got replaced by a sultry looking bloke called Eduardo.
And her romantic commitment was apparent in every post she published thereafter. Check-ins at restaurants. Check-ins at spas. Check-ins at shopping malls. Feeling loved. Feeling hungry. Feeling sleepy. Feeling pampered. With whom? Eduardo of course.
Congratulations, congrats, felicidades! These trigger words on her wall shot Lola to a temporary fame of three days, as Facebook algorithm bumped her happy posts on her friends’ new feeds. A Snapchat video of how Eduardo proposed to Lola at sunset facing the romantic waters of the Mediterranean got 1,174 views.
Relationship Status: Married
One day before the wedding, Lola cleared her phone of all the Whatsapp chat histories and wicked apps that got her through the ordeal of being single. The idea was to make a clean start. Have no secrets. Share a new intimate bond with her partner. So much so that the duo even exchanged their passwords with their vows.
After all what was there to worry? The Marriage Material app had already confirmed that their compatibility score was above average compared to other happy couples. All their wedding jitters of dress fittings, white tulips, music band and dinner rehearsals were ticked off on WeddingWire. The only thing that remained was streaming this life event on Youtube.
Fast-forward seven months and Lola was sending her first-trimester belly photos to Eduardo through The Bump, an app that tracks week-by-week pregnancy of mothers-to-be.
Relationship Status: None of your business
And just when you thought they had the most clichéd pattern of life, Lola caught Eduardo having an affair with a colleague. His phone was filled with sexed-up messages and semi-naked selfies. His online behavior had changed significantly. He was changing his profile picture way too often. And the incessant sharing of his daily runs, moods and horoscopes showed him in a different light.
At this stage, no digital remedy, be it Fix a fight or Marriage and Counselling app could put the shards of Lola’s broken relationship together.
From anger to angst to absolute indifference, Lola went through various stages of grief until she started living in a silo under the same roof with Eduardo. Yet there was continuous spying and tailing. Digitally though.
It was an irreparable damage. Emotionally and financially. Divorce seemed like a workable solution. But they were too exhausted to go through the charades of legal attorneys and mountains of paper work. So they agreed on one last thing.
At less than a thousand bucks per month in legal bills, they sorted their divorce on their smartphones through a frugal divorce app called Amicable.
Relationship Status: Still Exploring
Rightfully so. In this day and age of digital madness, our phone apps are perhaps a better reflection of our relationships/behavioral statuses than our own instincts.
Now Lola may seem like an exaggerated manifestation of digital-emotional drama. But sadly we meet and experience bits of Lola everyday.
And thanks to Data Analytics, Google is now luring Lola into exploring the likes of Divorce Dating to find love/companionship second time around.
This article originally appeared on Huffington Post