One hundred-eighty days. Yes, six months of silence.
Embarking on a new relationship is similar to getting the keys to a new car -- well, without the pending car payment, need for fuel and worry that your friend is going to spill his or her caramel latte on your fresh leather seats.
It is similar in the sense that you want to slay everyone Beyoncé-style and show off the new love in your life.
I recall getting the keys to my first brand new car, windows down, radio speakers bumping and nowhere important to go. I must have driven that day for an hour or more around the city. Seeing others gawk at my new wheels assured me back then. It made me feel like I arrived and that I was worthy of beautiful things.
The analogy works, except new boyfriends and girlfriends can break down sooner than the latest model luxury vehicle.
I write in my new book “Love Laws” about the relevancy of Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat and how they have become the new gateway entrance not for drugs, but attention.
A few years back, I learned the lesson of social media and love. I started posting photos of me and my-soon-to-be wife on Facebook in 2008. I remember the feeling of finality, a cloud, in a sense, that drew over my emotions after posting my relationship to the world. A cloud not of regret, but of miscalculation. What if this relationship didn't work out? What if an ex came out and spoke of my past? How would I handle a guy commenting on her page so soon? Is it fair if she interacts with guys of the opposite sex since we were just dating?
Reflecting back on this moment, I hope YOU do things differently. We have been married for five years, and so much of our lives exist on social media. Our roots are deep in the ground with love.
During our moments of tension and conflict, friends of ours reminded us of the perception and the reality of our relationship, that we are role models to many who “follow” us. We didn't need that as motivation to get our lives in order. A newbie relationship in the first 180 days may not be able to sustain the pressure of perception.
Why wait 180 days? The six-month mark is equal to a fork in the road. Jitters and nerves have gone away. You're forced to make a decision. Turn right, and you are committing to what could be a promising future. Turn left, and you are choosing to remain friends with a possible revisitation of a relationship down the road. You have six months to pretend, wine and dine each other, go on movie dates and maybe plan an out-of-town trip.
At some point, things must evolve. If you don't enjoy his or her company now, that probably won't change in six more months. This is a major reason privacy is vital. It allows you to shift course without much public explanation. Time may be wasted, but egos and feelings may be saved.
Think of your new love connection as a newborn baby. The auntie with the smoker's breath and dirty coat doesn't stand a chance of holding your baby. What about the neighbor you don't like too much, any chance she holds your newborn?
Probably not, your newborn baby is precious. Not just because of his or her soft hair and nice smelling skin, but moreso because he or she is still developing. Your baby's need to breathe air, see clearly, hear the environment, poop and pee is vital to his or her life.
Have you ever read the comments on a celebrities status of them and a new Bae? They can be harsh, deafening with hate and shade. Furthermore, "it goes down in the DM" for many new couples. Social media is no stranger to "the comeback."
See an old flame with a new buddy, and you run the comeback play. Direct message, like a few photos, comment with some heart and smile emojis. The old flame would never prowl if he or she wasn't privy to your information. You wouldn't have so many enemies if you stopped sharing all your business with your friends and followers.
Wrap up the tender relationship you have. Change the settings on your connection to private and not public sharing. You don't need "likes" to find love and surely don't need new followers for friends.
Social media is dope, but we must resist its magnetic pull on the areas of our life not yet ready for its power.