It’s 2015 and we’re no longer looking up to the Cleavers as a family role model. Instead we spend more time online chatting with friends from around the world through social media sites like Facebook than ever before. We never leave home without our phones. Even the thought of it sends some people into a panic.
We are connected everywhere, even in the most private places. How many of us have been guilty of texting or even talking on the phone while in the bathroom? It’s not uncommon; in fact it’s the new normal. But how has this constant connection changed our relationships with our partners?
When is it ok to turn off the phone, not look at the texts or IMs, and not respond to the constant need for attention?
Image: Mario Mancuso via Flickr
Everyone needs to have those days when they can just relax and take some personal time. However when the sound of a text coming in, a social message ring alerts you to the next person in line for your attention, it is almost impossible to neglect.
We need to be able to turned off your phone and not wonder “Am I going to miss something important?” or feel guilty for not responding quickly. Yet more and more I hear people getting very upset because someone didn’t answer the phone, didn’t return a text, or wasn’t readily available for contact.
Trust is one of the foundations of a relationship, that’s something we can all agree on. But have we pushed that aside for the ability to use technology as our own private detective? There is no privacy when so many of our conversations these days are done through the use of technology.
Even phone calls are logged and can be monitored easily. A nosey partner simply has to wait for the golden opportunity to pick up a left behind phone, an unattended computer, or even go as far as installing monitoring software on a partner’s machine.
And that changes a relationship, too.
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.
Now we can claim to have over 1000 friends and share with them the intimate moments of our lives with the ease of a status update. We have lost the art of intimacy that is supposed to be shared with only a partner. Can we trust our partner when we know that he or she is still close with a past lover?
Technology has changed our relationships, some for the bad and some for the better. We have begun to talk more, be more available, and even found love online. We have learned that not everyone can be faithful, and not every star can be a hero, and sometimes what was said wasn’t exactly what we mean.
We have overcome some phobias and gained a new one. We have gained popularity and even though we complain not to have any time for ourselves, we still maintain a farm, a mafia, and can fill in a hundred of our closest friends on the details of our day.
So have relationships changed because of the Digital Age? Absolutely, it is simply because we as a people have changed who we are.
My husband and I talk regularly through the day. Texts, IMs, Facebook and Twitter updates are constantly being passed back and forth. We talk so much that sometimes it feels like we don’t have much to say to each other at the end of the day because we know the tiny details of each other’s lives already through the digital log passed back and forth.
Now it seems that often we lack things to actually talk about when we spend time together.
When every moment is shared, there is no privacy, nothing exciting to tell. When our lives are digitally displayed for everyone to see, we become boring.
It isn’t as much fun for me to get together with friends and ask them about their lives when I’ve already read all of the intimate details of their day and the lives of their children (complete with photos). The conversation feels like watching a rerun TV show and hoping there is something new added this time.
More and more, friends are taking breaks and stepping back from social media and dropping their digital leashes. Friends are asking that phones are not brought to weddings or parties, and digital privacy be a must. And I love it.
I really like that people are starting to come back around to actually making phone calls to the people they care about and not just texting a word or two.
We are starting to see that even our kids are letting go of their phones and getting together in groups without the need to be digitally connected all of the time.
Things will change and the frenzy to always be connected will settle down.
How do you feel that your relationships have changed due to being in the digital age?