What does it mean to no longer have closed loops of communication?
Client A had a brief love affair. The relationship is now more of a special friendship without the undertones of maybe-this-could-be-more. They do not see one another very often. He lives far away. Though he logs onto Facebook and clicks on her profile every day and observes her, no likes to her posts, no comments.
He simply goes onto her profile and reads what she is doing and in turn, she observes him observing her. How does this effect her? It provides comfort in many ways to have that awareness that she populates his intra-psychic world. This is what social media does to love lives.
Client B fell in love very deeply with a friend of his. She only likes him as a friend. She has told this to him very directly. Heartbroken, he tried to close the loop and erased her from his social media, though she still follows him on Instagram and occasionally likes a photo. This following indicator provides him with complicated emotions that are difficult to untangle, primarily hope and relief that she still thinks about him.
Client C had a boyfriend in high school who had a major impact on her. He was her first love. He would write her very sweet very short love letters. He would put them in a mail box and she would come home to them. The break up was hard for her. To close the loop, she threw all the letters away.
Almost 20 years later, the loop is now open. They briefly exchanged emails and had a couple of conversations over the phone. He is a fashion photographer. Most of the women he photographs have no clothes on and look about 13 years old. Even though, she does not want to know this aspect of his life. The information is out there and it effects her. For her it distorts what they had.
How does it effect all of us to no longer have any closed loops? Long gone are the days where you threw away all remnants of a relationship into the dumpster on your college campus. There is Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and the list goes on and will continue to. How complex and surreal, what a gift and what a curse.
As a culture and society, we are now exploring in the therapy rooms and outside of them what it means to always be in touch without being in touch.
How does this effect me to know I am observed and to observe the observer observing me? Or add another layer, I have clients who know their former lover’s friends are observing them through the lens of social media. What is the meta communication there? When does the observed become the observer?
When is it just a computer glitch? How can one ever move on? Did we ever truly move on any ways? Maybe all loops are always open, and we deluded ourselves into thinking that if we just threw away all those letters, the loop would be closed.
Where is the blessing here? This is the blessing. Client A realizes he loves her more than he can ever say via the action of staring at her on Facebook. Client B realizes, his friend cares for him and thinks of him more than he would have known otherwise and Client C realizes people change and that is okay.
Ultimately, we effect one another. We are more powerful than we realize. We love more than we care to lead and this love is good. It is healing.