Love isn’t as easy as it was even ten or fifteen years ago. I often think about how technology is making it harder to find someone to love, but I also think about how easy it is to fall for people by what they include online. We can follow someone’s pictures and posts and think to ourselves “this person is exactly what I’m looking for, they’re cute, funny, and would make the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend.” The hard part of it all is that it’s not always completely accurate. I’m not saying that the person couldn’t be cute or funny in real life, but without that in-person interaction, it’s hard to tell. I often wonder could, can we fall in love with someone that we’ve never met before? This past weekend, one of my favorite movies was on, Maid in Manhattan. It is a great story of hope and love, but also one that defies the odds. There was a line that got to me. It was when Marissa says to her friends that she had a connection with Chris. Her friend Stephanie made it clear that Marissa and Chris were from two different worlds, and it brought to think about Rachel. Let’s think about it.
Rachel was well into her forties when she first found Sam, who was twenty years her junior. He was perfect to her. He was tall, dark hair, and a personality that could make you laugh for hours. It was the type of guy that Rachel had been looking for her whole life, but there were two bigger problems at hand. The first was he was well-known to the world. The second issue was that they had never met, yet Rachel was head over heels over him. Too many times she had heard the response from people around her, “You don’t know him, and he doesn’t know you. You don’t live in his world.” It was true, she didn’t know him, but what was Rachel to do with her feelings? It was hard enough that he was good looking and popular. It didn’t make the fact that they had never met any better for Rachel. Instead, it just frustrated her more.
With no outlet to put her feelings and tons of free advice from everyone around her, Rachel began to fall apart inside. On the outside she laughed a lot and made it seems like nothing was wrong, but inside she was hurting. She began to feel embarrassed for the way she felt. Following every social media story, Rachel felt like she knew Sam. She felt a connection to him that no one else could understand. Her feelings were real, they were undeniably genuine. All that she needed was the reality, the in-person chance to meet him. Rachel made a connection with Sam online, and it is definitely possible to have intense feelings for someone that we’ve never met. We can have strong emotional and even spiritual connection with someone that we’ve never met. At the same time, it’s an idolized version of the love that we wish to have ourselves.
Like Rachel, it’s that desire to have that relationship. Without being able to spend time with someone in person, in real life, it becomes easier to fall in lust or fall in love with the idea of who the person is vs who they actually are in real life. We are able to conveniently skip the everyday nuances and challenges that arise when you share a life together with that person. Their ups and downs, their challenges and struggles that often strengthen and develop a closeness when in a relationship.
Building feelings for someone that we haven’t met because of what we see online has built a paradox, and illusion. At the same time, it is about having an attachment with a person despite never meeting them is really about the desire to be loved. In the end, isn’t that what so many of us want to have, love and to be loved. It brings me to understand what is meant to be for Rachel, and how she felt, and her thinking: “what if I never meet Sam?” Truth it, there is always a chance to meet that one person that has sparked your emotions. That one person that you have built a strong love for someone that you have never met, there is no question that a real connection and potential for something more can exist. As long as the expectations are realistic, like Rachel, we can all have what we want and deserve.