Today: Jul 16, 2024

Relationships: short-circuited or electrified?

MACKENZIE HURLBERTStaff Writer
Relationships are complicated, unfortunately, and technology can be equally complicated at times. Occasionally with the wrong words or actions, your relationship can turn from loving to cold, just as a computers begin malfunctioning after attracting a virus. Of course the benefits outweigh all the troubles, or we wouldn’t put up with either one of them. But how do the two interact in modern day society?
With cell phones, Skype, Facebook, Twitter and the like, any person has the limitless ability to talk to or stalk his or her significant other. This could enable a relationship by promoting interaction and contact, but can the never-ending stream of status updates, tweets, and texts be too overwhelming? When mixed together, do technology and relationships make things even more complicated, or are today’s technological advancements more beneficial and helpful to couples trying to stay connected?
One issue technology causes within a relationship is that often it is used as an escape from reality. All too often people get overly-wrapped up in their tech world and are oblivious to what is happening around them. One comical example of this would be those annoying people who attempt to text and walk at the same time. Too many times have I had to screech to a stop in the stairwell or the hallway because the person in front of me insisted on trying to be a “multitasker.” Usually with an “excuse me” and a quick side step, they’re left in the past, still fumbling with their iPhones. However, in a relationship, you can’t simply side-step your distracted boyfriend or girlfriend and continue on.
Take for instance the common scene in restaurants nowadays: table for two, silverware glistening in candlelight, appetizer steaming on the table which is seated with two people who are more engrossed in their cell phones than they are with each other. Why is it that the tech world is more attractive to this person than his or her boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife?
However, technology isn’t always a distraction from the one you love; it helps keep you connected. Long-distance relationships can be much easier with web chats like Skype and Google Plus. Cell phones with web capabilities open up multiple ways of contacting your loved one. Instead of calling and interrupting them in class or at work, you can send a subtle text message or maybe write a discreet (but obviously more public) wall post. And this can be done all while you type an essay, eat a burrito and try to catch the latest episode of “Criminal Minds.”
This realization leads to many questions, though. Does our constant technological connection with our loved ones change the way we interact with each other in the real world? Does our constant access to their attention overstep the boundaries of normalcy within a relationship? In today’s relationships, fights can start over an ignored text message! Facebook can be used as a security camera; a way suspicious boyfriends or girlfriends can monitor each other. What happened to trust? Why does constant accessibility morph into a tool for controlling and monitoring? These questions come to mind, but I can find no answers.
The interaction between technology and romantic relationships seems to provide two polarities. Technology can either be used as an escape from reality and the relationship—remember that couple out for dinner—or technology can be used as a tool for constant surveillance and accessibility. Each of these polarities can affect a relationship, and if too extreme, can create a negative impact.
We know that today’s technology can have a big influence on our relationships; positive and negative. It’s up to each couple to find a balance. Maybe agree to leave the cell phones in your pockets while you’re on a date or refrain from texting each other during class. Just remember that it’s up to you to decide how tech-dependent you want your relationship to be.

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