Sex and the Sun: Technology can be detrimental to relationships

Written by: Anna Pryor / Viewpoints Editor

10/22/2013

Facebook is one of the biggest detriments to modern relationships. Millions of people use this social media site daily. It has changed the way many people think, communicate and feel, often for the worse.

Facebook fuels a new level of stalking. In less than 30 minutes on someone’s profile, a person can learn their likes, dislikes and everything in-between. Sadly, this eliminates mutual exchanges relevant to relationship growth. Learning new things about one another is enjoyable, but the process is destroyed by knowing everything beforehand. Instead of discovering information in an intimate and personal setting, it is done through an inanimate screen like a research project.

Facebook also fosters suspicion, insecurity and jealousy. “Green-eyed monster” is right. Questioning who is commenting on a partner’s photo, or slyly looking over shoulders to see who is messaging can lead to jealous men and women logging into their partner’s account without permission to view who they are talking to, when and about what.

Digging up old exchanges between a partner and an ex is pitiful and often scary. It is unrealistic to believe that someone has never been with anyone else.

While invasions of privacy are never warranted, suspicions may be. In the past it took more work and strategy to cheat, today it only takes a couple of clicks. It takes next to no effort to text a past love or message a new interest.

Fighting is an inescapable component of any relationship. There are productive ways to go about arguing, then there is Facebook. Posting cryptic Facebook statuses and sending snarky text messages is too easy and very hurtful. Facebook and emails often eliminate cooling off time.

Non-verbal communication accounts for a large percentage of communication. Subtle movements, eye contact and body language are vital signs of discourse. Messages and texts can be easily misconstrued because they cannot smile, shrug or change their voice. People can.

Technology can also make parting of the ways uglier than it has to be. It is easy to fire out a “We’re over” message, but also cowardly. Ending a relationship this way shows an absence of compassion and class. Rather than face-to-face closure, many hide behind the screens to do their dirty work.

Facebook, weirdly, is often used as a tool to validate and announce relationships. Before the honeymoon phase has ended, it has become the standard to make it “Facebook official.” Facebook gives the option to signify a relationship status on a profile. After it is posted, friends have the ability to “like” it.  It is one big competition. Where celebrities strive to keep their relationships out of the media, many of the not-so-famous are putting theirs on display. Drama ensues and a relationship built on theatrics is not a solid foundation.

Technology has virtues along with downsides. Long-distance relationships, including military deployments, are less lonely due to technology. While a “Dear John” letter may now come via text or email, it may not have to happen at all thanks to more direct communication.

Relationships hit rough patches. They become stagnant and boring. Technology only worsens this. Too often eyes are glued to screens during what could be quality time. It is easy to get offended when someone is not paying full attention. Switching from site to site, computer screen to phone and then app to app has been proven to damage our ability to concentrate, which in turn hurts school, work optimization and our ability to hold meaningful conversation with a partner.

Humans are not meant to stand in fact ory lines assembling products like they did during the Industrial Revolution. We are also not programmed to stare at screens and scroll through phones constantly. Information overload has made America an anxiety-ridden nation. Negativity and irritability are often directly relayed on to partners. The fuse is lit.

Relationships need rules and boundaries and so does technology. Agree to turn off devices while together. Maintain a respectful amount of trust, privacy and transparency. Log out and let the love in.