05/12/2013 12:34 GMT | Updated 04/02/2014 05:59 GMT

The Internet vs Unrequited Love

There was a time before the Internet. Even before Encarta. When unrequited love was the source for great works of literature.

Dickens... (I know, you weren't expecting that were you? Bear with)... Dickens wrote one of the greatest examples of unrequited love; Great Expectations. In which our boy Pip spent the entire book infatuated with cold-hearted Estella.

It's killer.

However those coy looks and yearning glances at the ball may no longer apply to us in the 21st century. Why? I presume you ask. Well, my argument is...

Social Networking killed Unrequited Love.

In the heady days of my teens when Samantha Mumba was a thing. I dialled up my internet and chatted to my first stranger in her chat room. I got told off by me Mam but whilst Samantha sang "Don't want to love me if you don't love me". The irony was not lost on me.

Fast forward and I'm now in my twenties. Thanks to years of unrequited love; a great deal of which came from the girls in my year and partly because of what Britney Spears did to my heart - I have come to a conclusion. We no longer secretly yearn for objects of our affection in the way that we used to.

Exhibit 1: How we meet.

Now this part has stayed largely the same. You still get those feelings when someone you fancy in "real life" passes you by. Butterflies. Sweaty palms. Dry mouth. You find yourself wondering whether they looked at you in a certain way or said that thing about the party because they just wanted you there. It's both the best and the worst. You're Ewan McGregor singing on a bejewelled elephant and you're Nicole Kidman coughing up blood. Yes, that was a Baz Luhrman reference and you should be thankful it wasn't "Sunscreen".

Then there's Tinder. Swipe left for No. Right for Yes. Leave your yearning at the door my friend because if she doesn't want to know, you'll never know.

Exhibit 2: How you change.

It really does get worse. You find yourself drafting texts to the object of your affection. Adding in stories that you lifted from both friends and "Friends". Make sure that you adapt the anecdote from the latter sufficiently .

You Selfie. You Filter. You unlike Samantha Mumba.

You turn yourself into the best version of yourself, praying for the holy double tap on Instagram, all the while berating yourself for you accidental like on picture from 36 weeks ago. You're now your social networking best. And you have to be; because after all the Internet is written in ink.

But that's all tame. It can become more sinister. You can Catfish. You can literally become the person that they want. I watched one episode of Catfish when a girl thought she was talking to the rapper Bow Wow. On the other side of the screen far away was another woman who attempted to extricate the object of her desires most inner secrets.

Don't be that guy or girl.

Exhibit 3. How you deal.

In the days of the Cosby Show, you'd put on your jumper and write and in your diary/journal. It's been seven hours and fifteen days since you took your love away.

But I'm part of the Buzzfeed generation. I write on my blog in my ironic Cosby jumper. It's been seven hours and fifteen days since you brought your milkshake to my yard.

In real life I'm a bag of nerves when she passes me by but I keep my distance. Berating myself for muttering something first.

On the internet, I have bags of nonchalance. I am therefore I tweet. But really I am online because I'm going through your tweets. Why have you not text me back but instead chose to tweet Drake. I'm practically Drake. It's just that my navel gazing doesn't result in millions of records being sold.


There's no longer the air of mystery that you once had. That Sellotaped letter that you left in her locker - was it ever read? You might have never have known but that adorable and tender Snapchat was definitely opened just never acknowledged.

Unrequited Love has never been easy. Pip would tell you that. The modern world may go on to prove me wrong and a great work of literature may emerge about an unobtainable object of affection. Don't mention 50 shades.

Social Networking has killed the intrigue and the mystery. You know what they've had for tea. You know what their mum looks like and when it all goes to pot you hide them off your News Feed when they get a boyfriend.