You see more people with cell phones in their hands than you see people holding one another’s hand. You encounter countless posts consisting of photos of couples, captions filled with professed love, and comment sections engulfed in exclamations of how cute the two individuals are together. It can be hard to accept what is showcased online and through social media as the truth. Much of what is seen is all smoke and mirrors. Technology is affecting romantic relationships more and more, as technology already has a major influence in the lives of individuals in this day and age. Let’s break down several aspects of the effects that occur due to technology’s connection to relationships.
The cell phone, and everything that goes along with it, heavily affects relationships these days. iPhone or Android, it does not matter. Having a “pocket computer” opens several avenues for trouble. When it comes to texting, instant gratification kills. People are afraid to “double-text”, meaning “to send more than one SMS message at a time”, because they do not want to annoy or offend their significant other. Individuals have a difficult time waiting for a reply. The ability to send and receive messages at such a fast rate gives the illusion that people can reply at any given time. People forget that life goes on, and individuals get busy and consumed in their daily life. Just because someone received a text does not mean that they have time to reply at the very second their phone vibrates. Same goes for phone calls. Although it appears that everyone has their phone readily handy, people still get busy at times. We freak out when we do not get a reply or an answer as soon as we want it, because we have become used to the instant gratification a phone supplies. Not to mention that texting also leads to more expectations. If you do not use a certain emoji or emoticon, people may perceive your text to mean something different than what was originally intended. Individuals feel betrayed or worry that their significant other may not care about them if they are not sending good morning and goodnight texts. All of these things are meaningless definitions. Had cell phones not been invented, we would all be waiting several days to get a letter from a loved one, or we would be waiting for them to be home so they could answer their house phone. Another issue with cell phones are having pass-codes to gain entrance. People have developed trust issues with their significant other due to the fact that their phone has a passkey. It is to be acknowledged that things can be hidden that way, however, the situation gets muddled when snooping ensues. Pass-locks on phones are meant to protect people from accessing the phone freely, hands down that is their given purpose. They are not meant to hurt anyone; they are a user preference. Even so, this creates an issue of trust for some people.
Technology creates outlets for cheating and suspicious activity, mostly through social media outlets. These outlets include networking websites (such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook), as well as applications found on cell phones (such as Tinder, Grindr, and Kik). Each of these venues allow individuals to communicate on a multitude of levels, with private messages, comment sections, and by somewhat subliminal messages. People become insecure when their significant other seems to be liking several of someone else’s tweets, posts, or selfies. Everyone’s personal information is on display, making it easy to learn about individuals’ interests, likes, and dislikes. Social media is a great outlet for meeting potential lovers. But once again, a lot of what is seen is just a show put on for the world to see. In reality, things are usually different behind the screen. Someone could seem to be having relationship drama based on their vague posts and negative interaction on social media, when in reality they are mad at something or someone else. The key aspect of understanding how social media affects relationships is that it has the ability to disguise the reality of the truthful situation. There is a lot of information that can be hidden behind a screen, including identity. Broadcasting the life that you lead with your significant other can be detrimental at times. A prime example is the “leaking” and exposure of nudes (naked images or videos of an individual). Naked photos appear online all the time, whether it be porn, people expressing themselves, or individuals wrongfully exposing someone. Unfortunately, the naked body is becoming normalized and oversexualized. This diminishes intimacy between people in some cases. Having these images and videos readily available eliminated the excitement and wonder of being with someone in person. We are genuinely losing touch with one another. Competition seems more apparent and relevant on social media as well. Everything displayed is a fine-tuned image of what the social media user wants the public to see. A nicely polished, attractive, and funny person. However, this can create doubt in many individuals. It always appears that there is someone better, more attractive, or more desirable. This is also seen in “relationship goals”, which are comments, quotes, and/or pictures that claim that the activity being talked about should be a goal for anyone in a relationship. Many of the goals displayed are of activities that many people should not actually be striving for. Although there are positive examples of this, such as working out and traveling together, the negative examples can make people doubtful of what is actually meaningful in a relationship. Many “relationship goals” include drinking, smoking, getting high, partying, and buying extremely expensive gifts for one another. Granted, these are not completely negative in nature, however they can pressure certain people to do things that they do not want to because they believe that they are “supposed to do them” because they are in a relationship.
Overall, technology leads to impersonal interaction amongst individuals. Humans are social beings; they have been since their meager beginnings on this Earth. The technological advances that have developed over the past few years have greatly increased our capability to interact with one another. It is understandable that people use technology to communicate, in fact, it has helped many couples get through times of long distance. However, we all must admit that the interaction is much different through a screen. One thing people lose out on when it comes to communicating online or over the phone is body language. Individuals cannot see how someone said something, and certain gestures can definitely make a statement. Another element of language that is missed out on is tone. They way in which someone expresses their words can completely change a sentence’s meaning. Slowly but surely technology is becoming a standard means of communication. People with text you to let you know that they arrive at your home, instead of knocking at the door. You will receive a goodnight text, instead of a goodnight kiss. Having a certain emoji by your significant other’s name is extremely important. It is disappointing to watch people interact this way. Assigning meaningless definitions to things that did not even exist several years ago. But now certain aspects of technology are defining factors of the quality, stability, and faithfulness in a relationship.
We should be more conscious of how much we allow technology to interfere with our personal lives, especially when it comes to the intimate relationships we foster. Put down your phone, close the laptop, and love one another. Not the perceived image of each other created through social media, but the real thing. Unplug, and rekindle the emotion derived from human spirit.