Instagram ruined my relationship.
Well I guess not completely, but it played a role, and kind of a big one. The thing is, Instagram unleashed a beast within me, a beast named jealousy.
You see I had been away from my boyfriend for three months; he was my first love, the first guy that actually showed me that I deserved to be loved. I met him and a month later purchased a plane ticket that would take me away from him, to go travel the world, for half a year. Maybe we were young and delusional, or maybe we really did love each other, but we decided to try to make it work throughout the time apart.
Now, I don’t think I need to explain to you what happens to a relationship when you don’t spend enough time together. When you can’t kiss each other after an argument, when you can’t feel the weight of each other’s stare. Small cracks start to form. Memories of what you once together begin to fade. Questions begin to arise in your mind, and depending on how healthy to relationship is, jealousy begins to seep in.
I wonder, sometimes, if humans are simply jealous people. We spend so much of our lives comparing ourselves to others. We use our phones to look at pictures of one another and hand out acknowledgment of our approval through the click of a button. We pick our friend groups based on those who are like-minded, we tend to dislike those who we are envious of. Now I don’t think this is always a bad thing, sometimes it jealousy and comparison can motivate you, sometimes it pushes you to achieve the things you are seeking. But sometimes it can bring you real low.
So, after three months of being away from my love, I began to notice a girl popping up on his Instagram pictures…frequently. She wasn’t in the pictures, no if she was in them than that would make me sane. She had simply started ‘liking’ his pictures. Sometimes she commented and said something cute about work (because of Instagram I could tell they worked together) and sometimes she made a comment about a fun night they’d just had together.
And so I got jealous. My mind began whirring with thoughts about what could be going on between the two of them, what they might be up to while I was 14,000 miles away. I started to ask him about her every once in a while. I would try to make casual comments in order to glean some knowledge about her. It created tension between us. He became defensive. The more defensive he became, the more jealous I got. Through those cracks the light was starting to dim.
In fairness, there were many more things working against our relationship than just her. He was planning on moving away two weeks after my return, we had been fighting for months, we still had months to go, and finally it all became too much. We broke up. One month before I was going to come home and we just couldn’t do it anymore.
Naturally I blocked him on Instagram. But here’s the tricky thing about I-Gram, you can block someone, but you can’t stop yourself from looking at their page unless it’s private. His wasn’t. It had to be sheer will power that prevented me from seeing what he was up to. She started to make more and more cute comments, I could tell that they had begun to see each other more frequently.
The pain of imagining this guy that I loved, this guy who I had just fought so long and hard for, receiving happiness from another girl was just too much for my stomach to take. It gave me that awful, queasy, sick-to-your-stomach-with-no-cure kind of feeling. I deleted the app.
But the call of seeing what he was up to, of confirming my theories was too strong, and it was pure idiocy that compelled me to look at his Instagram on my friend’s phone, while she was showering, one day before our return to the states. When I saw the picture of him smiling, sun shining on his face, with her name tagged in the caption as the photographer, my heart burst into a million and one tiny tiny pieces.
Now I’d like to tell you how the rest of our relationship progressed but it might be a whole other chapter for another day. The short version is, I got home, we decided to talk, we fell in love all over again, but now something was different.
I was back in town, but she hadn’t gone away. Now I could see her name popping up on his text messages. She was just a friend, he assured me, but I had already placed them so far from friendship in my mind. Now I could be jealous in the very same town as her, now I could really let my imagination run wild. Her simple existence created fights between us. She created our big fights, our only fights. She created the fights that made it not seem worth it anymore. I fretted about not being able to control my jealousy, but each sign of her name just reminded me of all the pain she had created.
I thought it was all my fault, my own insecurities. I was pushing us apart. I was pushing him towards her. He had given me promises, reassurances, all the “I love you’s” in the world. Even still, I wish I could tell you that I was surprised when, a few months after my return home I scrolled through Instagram when I saw a comment from her on his page that confirmed that he had been cheating on me with her.
It threw me. In many ways, it broke me. For years, and maybe in some small way, forever, it tainted my view on trust and honesty.
I don’t think this world that we live in helps; that we can see what each other are up to all the time. I don’t think it’s healthy that we can make stories up in our heads about what we see through social media, that we can make ourselves believe we are less than someone else by what they post on the internet. That is just the way our world works now, so I guess now the task is to learn to trust and avoid jealousy, even when our world makes it seem like you should be doing just the opposite.
I can finally say that I have found peace with what happened. The reason is this: today, a year later, I accepted my ex’s Snapchat request. When I looked at his “best friends” she was at the top of his list. All of the sudden, the same pain, hurt and nausea rushed back into my body. I shut the app off right away, took a deep breath and was a little sad, for a little while. But after that little while had passed, I realized that if our relationship was going to end by someone else’s hand, then at least it was a hand that ended up being important to him.
Instagram ruined my relationship, but Snapchat let me know that maybe there was a reason for it all.