Navigating a Relationship in the Digital World
BY: JULIE LEVIN
After never seeing a proposal in almost 30 years, I saw two in less than a week! Both extremely unexpected and random, but both touching and cute — one at a housewarming/Cinco de Mayo party and the other at a poetry slam I had just attended for the first time. Funny enough, I work for a viral video television show where proposal and engagement videos are our bread and butter, but I had never seen one before with my very own eyes.
I’m not sure what proposals were like in the past. Were they the grand schemes we have now where you peer out the window of a helicopter to see giant letters spelling out, “Will you marry me?” or at a beautiful backdrop in a foreign country where all of your friends and family randomly appear once you say yes? Perhaps they were done at home or on a bended knee at the couple’s favorite restaurant. Any way it happens, hopefully, it’s romantic and just what the future bride and groom ordered.
Nowadays though, that’s not where the public displays stop. Once you agree to a life of absolute wedded bliss, you need to update your friends, family and just about everyone you know. God forbid you don’t change your relationship status to engaged on Facebook! Next, comes the planning. Good thing there are tons of wedding websites you can employ along with millions of vendors for makeup, music, attire and anything else you might need all online for your viewing pleasure.
Don’t let my slightly cynical tone fool you. I am someone who has always wanted to get married, have a family and live happily ever after. No, I’m not the girl who has her wedding already planned and ring picked out with Pinterest boards full of wedding ideas, but I played house quite a bit growing up and wanted a relationship like my parents had. I’ve been to my fair share of weddings (more than 10 at least!) and have served as a bridesmaid four times. I imagine myself up there sometimes, in the bride’s place, and picture what I would wear, what hairstyle, what makeup. That loving look my future husband would give me seeing me walking down the aisle. What I would say for my vows — how I would use our wedding colors or the hired DJ.
When you’re a kid, you always want to be older. It’s only when we do grow up, we truly appreciate how innocent and carefree we were during our childhoods — at least in my case! I, of course, wanted to be a big kid quick. Go to college, meet a guy, get an amazing job, get married at 26 (the age my mom was when she tied the knot). Take a few years alone with my husband and have kids a few years later.
My life hasn’t turned out exactly that way. Yes, I did get an education, meet a guy and get a cool job. I went to grad school and figured out exactly what I wanted to do with a career in journalism. I thought I was set actually. My boyfriend (at the time) and I had been together for almost three years — and I was completely in love, the happiest I’d ever been. Then came a breakup which turned into an on-and-off relationship that lasted for three more years. We did eventually break free from each other. I joined the usual dating apps and went out with lots of guys. It usually went one of two ways — we’d hit it off and date for it bit or, we were not a good match and both of us knew it or, many times one of us felt that way. A lot of time, I got hurt or something went wrong. It was a cycle — tell your life story to a complete stranger, get together, start trusting them, it ends, and then I’d be back at it again.
That’s how much I wanted to find someone and craved that special kind of love. It took a good four years of ex-drama and lots of awful date stories, but I’m now in a loving relationship again — and who knows where it will lead! Right now, I’m taking it day by day, enjoying my life but the next time I see a proposal happen, I might have to take some notes. Next It could be me at the altar and posting my updated relationship status on Facebook — but either way, I’m happy just being me.
Julie is a digital producer, on-air news anchor, writer and a self-proclaimed history and classic rock geek. When she's not behind the scenes or mid broadcast, she's hitting the town trying new restaurants or meeting up with as many friends as possible in one day.