Digital Age Relationships

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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?

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Author: MainelyButch

I am a pretty relaxed, proud, Butch and a native Mainer who enjoys reading, writing, blogging, vlogging and social interaction. I live in southern Maine, near the coast with my 2 small dogs and I hail from a very large, loving family that is historically rooted here. I write about my life, my experiences, living successfully with HIV, my YouTube experiences, and just about anything that piques my interest. This blog may contain profanity and sexual situations, and is not intended for younger audiences. Read at your own risk. At 54 I see life as just beginning a new chapter, and have decide this is the time that I need to write the stories that got me to this point. I believe we live our lives in chapters, changing, evolving and moving continuously with the times. I love to laugh, have discussions, debates and even the occasional nonsense conversation! I generally enjoy people, but not drama, hatred, ignorance or those who choose to feel they are somehow elite or superior to another simply due to their mere existence. I try to be very conscious of the health of the world around me - environmentally, socially, economically, and ethically. The people who are dear to me know me as having a tough exterior, filled with marshmallow and crunchy peanut butter. I continually strive to be the best I can be, especially to address life head on...always.

5 thoughts on “Digital Age Relationships”

  1. I can do you one better Ang, I remember a time when Sunday was an important day in our home. That was the day when we all gathered in our living room and listened to the radio lol I was eight or nine when we got our first television and a new world opened up for us and also the family dynamic began to change. As teenagers we wanted the small portable televisions for our bedrooms, and we began to distance ourselves from the other members of our family.
    I became excited about technology, had to have each new device when it became available. And now I am one of millions…a cyber junkie.
    I enjoyed this post..you make me stop and utilize the grey matter housed in my head.
    Keep writing!

  2. I am a professional in the field of technology, so I see and use every ‘new’ device and program out there, sometimes before it becomes available to the general population. Despite that, there is nothing, nothing at all, that can replace looking into the eyes of another person and holding their warm hand in yours and feeling the vibration of their voice permeating through your ears to the depths of your very soul.

    It is indeed difficult to have ‘old fashioned’ values in this increasingly cyber world. Our hearts are made of much more than algorithms.

  3. I am about the same age as you Ang. I’ll be 54 in February. I think the technology we have today is wonderful and amazing in its ability to connect us to people we would never get a chance to meet in real life. I met my current partner online 18 years ago. I’m talking to you now via the internet and I love getting to meet all of the awesome bloggers out here in the interweb. The problem is the obsession with technology and lack of balance in people’s lives. I look at the internet and cell phones as tools. The technology helped me meet my partner but only face to face interaction would help us build a connection with each other. I do think that if people want to have internet only relationships and they’re both ok with that then they should go for it and enjoy the experience. It sounds to me like your ex was unreasonable in expecting you to sit around for your phone or computer to beep every second of the day. I see a lot of red flags in what you wrote about her. The biggest being that she wanted to know all about you but didn’t share much about herself. BIG RED FLAG!!!

  4. I enjoyed reading this piece, Ang. My first knowledge of computers was in early grade school. We used to get weekly “newspapers” in a class called “Current Events” and I loved it. The computer they wrote about was as big as a gymnasium, and the story they told of what it would do and what it would mean to the future was pure science fiction – though I didn’t know what SciFi was at the time – and their predictions proved meager to what actually happened.
    I’ve met several women via dating sites – some became penpals – over a period of 5 years I was in 2 different relationships with women I met online. The first lived 1200 miles from me and even at a distance the chemistry between us was lightning – we had daily contact via phone and emails and did meet f/f 4 months later and spent several weeks together over the next 2 years. The match burned itself out. The second lived 30 miles from me, we met soon after and also was very “sparky” and burned itself out in person in only 4 months. What is it about the heat of cyber-dating? Probably just coincidence the way they happened.
    I prefer the “old-fashioned” way of dating. Actually at the moment I prefer to not date at all as I find dating very confusing. It was easy when I was young and dating guys – there was an unwritten guidebook to follow. With same gender, girls in my case, how does one know if one is meeting and becoming friends or dating??? It is so awkward to have those conversations, for me that is. I have a long history of having one best friend in my life and lots of other more peripheral friends.
    The first woman lover of mine when I was 32 – is a perfect example. I was invited to a winter skating party out in the country many miles from home and didn’t want to drive up alone so invited a relatively recent acquaintance to go along. I was to meet my big crush there, who showed but left early. Many years later I learned my rider was perplexed that I’d invited her and kept talking about meeting with this other woman – she thought we were going on a date – I didn’t have a clue and felt dumbfounded when she told me. Oh, my rider and I continued to do things together and I thought we were just “doing things together” until she sent me an “obvious” card and then I still wasn’t sure how to take that until she kissed me the first time. OH! We stayed together for 7 years and she co-parented my child during that time. She broadened my horizons in many wonderful ways and I’m forever grateful for the time we were together. So!
    I’m an old-fashioned girl with old-fashioned dreams and values – someday I’ll find my special someone – or not. Meanwhile I’m prepared to go forward into 2016 with a clean slate and an open heart, leaving all of the past in the past. My how my words flow…
    All best to you, Ang.
    BTW great pic of you here!
    Merry Christmas! and happy and peaceful 2016!

  5. …a tele-what?!

    I feel unqualified to comment on what relationships were like before the digital age (I was constantly on instant messenger in middle school…), but I will say my best relationships were ones that started in real life rather than virtually, that breakups are harder when you can stalk the person on social media (though i wonder if people used to stalk more in person?), and that (as you’ve alluded to) there is DEFINITELY less accountability online than there is in person.

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