How do you feel that your relationships have changed due to being in the digital age?
Digital Dating…Cyber Lovin’….Virtual Hook Ups….
I’m sure that 2016 is going to usher in a whole new round of technology that will keep us glued to our cellular devices and carrying ice packs for our bent necks. We will run into poles while checking email or responding to that hot woman texting us. We are constantly connected … so I ask, how is this constant connection changing/has changed our relationships with our partners?
Technology has certainly changed my life – remember I hail from a pre-technology world. Before cell phones…Yes, Virginia, there was a time before cell phones!…hell before beepers even…we had to pick up a thing called a telephone and actually dial a number and speak to someone. Even those pesky answering machines weren’t around yet when I started to use the technology of the day – the telephone – to start having a social life, to interact and connect with people. Generally each house in town had one telephone, and there was no “call waiting”. If you called an got a busy signal then you had to wait and call again until you got through. Yes, the beginnings of social networking were things like clubs you would go to to see people in person; the telephone and the television. In my youth we had a black and white console television. I vividly recall the day that my Dad brought home that first colored TV…it was high technology and a privilege to own one! The colored TV became a social networking device – people would come over to watch, gathered together that became our social networking device of the times.
Sounds rather dinosaur-ish I know. I am only 53, almost 54, and that seems like sooo long ago in my life. Today I am prisoner to my communication devices just like everyone else. I know very very few people who do not own at least one cell phone and one computer. Most that I know own multiple devices in the household. We are addicted. Take away our cellphones and we have no idea how to communicate with one another. Force us to actually speak to one another and we become all tongue tied and nervous, awkwardly stumbling through the basics of a real conversation.
Technology has changed the rules of relationships too. I’ve personally experienced the ups and downs of using technology to have a relationship. I have fallen in love over cyber space. I’ve been hurt the same way. It used to be, back in the day, that when you split up with someone you took them to a quiet place, had a discussion, tried to let someone down easy and tried to have some mature conversation and maybe even closure for both parties if you couldn’t work it out. Today it’s wham-bam “I don’t like you anymore, we are over” via a text message usually. Sad.
Perhaps it’s because I am fairly old school and I enjoy the physicality of a relationship. I enjoy being in the same room with my partner, and actually talking with our mouths. I want to look a woman in the eyes and hear her words with my ears. I miss this. I feel like real conversation has become a sort of lost art. And it is an art, not everyone can do it. And today’s dependence on our handheld devices just exacerbates the problem to the nth degree.
“We are changing the rules of relationships. Our ex’s are still our Facebook Friends, we have more connections to other people than we ever had, and our busy lives have left us with very little face-to-face time with our partner. We are flirtier, more confidant, and taking more risks online than we would have in person” quote
Technology has definitely changed my own personal relationships, sometimes for the bad and sometimes for the good. One of the biggest challenges that I encounter with online relationships is that what is “said” or “texted” doesn’t come out or the meaning is skewed somehow and that becomes very aggravating. It’s harder when you aren’t looking at someone and seeing their facial expressions or reading their body language in a conversation; especially when it comes to very intimate relationships.
I knew a woman recently that wanted this constant connection of texting, using Viber, WhatsApp and Skype with me. I found it endearing that she wanted so much contact with me at first. Then it got to be a little overbearing because if I got busy doing something and couldn’t answer her right away it would cause complete blow ups on her part. She would get so angry. When I was doing nothing wrong, ever. God forbid that I didn’t hear her text come through. I would be punished for that for hours or even indefinitely.
I had to step back and realize that she came fully from a world of technology, she was much younger than me and had not know a world of no real technology. Her phone is her lifeline. And she is just fine with texting and remaining on the other side of a screen and not having personal contact with anyone. I think it makes her feel safe. But she’s also missing out on a whole world of possibilities at the same time. I wanted more contact in the physical realm, to spend time with her and to feel special to her. I wanted a mature relationship, not one of cyber fun.
Trust is one of the foundations of a relationship, that’s something we can all agree on. I found myself growing in not trusting her, she lived so far away that she could have been blowing smoke at me for all I knew. She could have been in a relationship already and just wasn’t telling me. She was very secretive about many things. She wouldn’t let me get as close to her as she wanted to be with me. These are all things that people have brought to my attention in the interim. Maybe they are right, maybe not. I want to believe she was at least honest with me for the most part.
Even though it was a year long cyber connection it made a big impact on me and my life. I invested myself in the relationship and it make me sad still that it had to end. But that seems to be the way with this kind of stuff, people come into your life and then when the tide changes they float right back out again. Leaving me to wonder many things.
Since ending that online relationship – or whatever it was – I have changed my attitude considerably. I have grown ever more cautious and skeptical about people. I don’t believe most people say what they really mean most of the time. I find myself still hurt over this situation and I am still not sure of how to handle that hurt or when it will go away.
I am a very loving, caring and sensitive person. Perhaps too much so sometimes, and that gets me hurt. You would think that I am some big tough Butch, but I am not tough at all when it comes to love. I am loyal and sensitive. I want and need love in my life. Doesn’t everyone?