Valentine's Day: e-love is a complicated thing

For Cupid's chosen targets, good old Valentine's Day was once all about feeling mushily romantic and making chivalrous gestures. But in the age of virtual love, dating has all but turned into an online war for GenNext.

Most dating scenarios start with a detailed background check on your potential date before you meet him/her online. The next stage is fraught with things that are anything but loving. Required changes are made in the profile to ensure that a perfect image is created to snare the potential date.

Then begins the wait for your date to like or comment on you. Also, scoop around to make sure he/she has written something on his/her wall. If not, the question arises: Will this date happen after all? If the date happens, things only get more complicated. And yes, there is a status update to show it's complicated as well. There's nothing ambiguous in e-love. Even a tag can touch off a fiery war: "Why haven't you changed your status from 'single' to 'in a relationship'? Why only a 'in a relationship'? What about my name?"

"Everything about dating has changed in the age of social networking," says Rushali Naik, a postgraduate student. "You don't have a phase where you admire someone from a distance anymore; you directly start following him on Facebook! But at the same time, it comes with a lot of headaches. My friends and me too, worry about little things, often ruining the relationship with the other person. We have so much access to the other person's life that we start assuming what he's thinking," she explains.


Things that started as fun are at some point turning serious. First, many youngsters are showing symptoms of depression after such online activity, and second, the number of cases registered under the IT Act with the police are increasing.

BN Gangadhar, professor of psychiatry, Nimhans, says the internet, being a new way of communication, has the power to alter a person's feelings. "If you ask me whether a post on Facebook can depress someone, I'll say yes. Many people who are lonely look at the internet as a getaway. If something goes wrong there, they tend to get depressed," he says.

With yet another Valentine's Day around the corner, Thomas Mathew, a retired professor, can't help but wonder what happened to good old love stories. "When I met a beautiful woman in my college, I walked up to her and told her she was beautiful. We dated for four years and had our ups and down. Now, we are married for 29 years. Perhaps the space we gave each other was the success of our love story," he says, sipping his evening drink.

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