couple, phones, distractions, quality time

Technologically Connected. Emotionally Disconnected.

How does one start a blog about how she, and other people, allow technology to come between us and those we are in relationship with? In order to do so one is obliged to spend time away from his or her significant other just so one can sit and write about a topic near and dear to all of us, technology.

I decided to consult my friends who are in committed relationships to hear their thoughts on the matter. I asked them: Is the constant use of technology a problem that you encounter on a daily basis? Do you think it’s a problem at all? What’s your opinion on the matter?

Phone, Smartphone, flat design, Motorola
Illustration by Amanda Kessinger

Charlie Herrick:Technology…will always invite one or more groups and exclude one or more groups. In relationships where the members of the couple live together, the excluded group is almost always one of us. The invited group is consistently someone or often something else separate and possibly not even associated with the other member of the couple. So basically within marriage where distance isn’t very much a factor, technology can easily divide us through rejection/replacement.”

Ben Wiltse: “…In my opinion, it is essentially saying to the person that you are with that you would rather be somewhere else (if it is excessive and not out of necessity). It can be done in moderation, but definitely has the power to divide…”

Devin Chaney: I think It’s all about how it’s used. For me and Ashley, it’s not necessarily anything that divides us. We enjoy getting on social media, and sharing what we see with each other. If we feel one of us is using it instead of spending time with the other, we just let each other know, and the one using it puts it away.I definitely think it has the potential to be a problem, but I think it’s because of the user more than the media itself.”

Ashley Chaney: “I think one of the main issues I’ve noticed regarding social media use in relationships is difficulty with face-to-face conflict. When Dev and I were dating it was easier to save conflict resolution for text conversations (which, in hindsight, I realize was never effective or appropriate). But now that we’ve been married over a year, I can see how hard we’ve had to work towards resolving conflict face-to-face because we are forced to since we live together…

…social media has caused a lot of comparison in my heart that does not belong. I think that can cause myself (and I’m sure others as well) to build up resentment towards our spouses, and significant others, that not only is unfair but is unrealistic.

I don’t think most people realize the power social media has over our hearts and minds, and I’ve been trying to remain conscious of my reactions to what others post and the time I spend involved with social media platforms.”

I was so relieved to read the responses of my friends. To hear that while they may let technology rule their lives more than they like, they still don’t let it create a chasm in their relationships. However, this is not the case for many couples. It’s not always even the case for me. 

Often times one or both individuals in a relationship will spend more time on their phone, laptop, and/or tablet more than they are spending quality time with the other. In fact, many women feel that their boyfriends/husbands are easily and often overtaken by the desire to engage technology more than them. One article I read even compared the use of technology in relationships to a menage a trois of sorts, where one partner essentially is engaging in more of an intimate relationship with technology than with the other person.

There was even a movie released a few years ago that revolved around a man getting over the end of his marriage by starting a romantic relationship with his operating system. Relationships have certainly changed a lot since the dark ages (the time before modern technology) I simply hope that we learn to value our partners more than we value the latest iPhone. 

 

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