Modern technology has infiltrated all aspects of our professional and personal lives. But how does this affect modern relationships and marriages? Divorce rates are in constant rise and experts often blame our fast-paced society for these trends. But is there a way technology can help us in establishing strong relationships and finding our soul mates? Tinder and many other online dating websites and apps claim there is. Just log in, find a partner of your dreams and live ‘happily ever after’. But will advanced tech really solve all of our emotional problems?
Positive influences – support and communication
Pew Research Center’s Couples, the Internet and Social Media survey analyzed how American couples use digital technology for managing their relationships. Pew researchers Amanda Lenhart and Maeve Duggan found out that 10% of married or partnered internet users claim that internet has a major impact on their relationship. Most of those people focus on positive impact.
They view the latest tech as a powerful source of support and communication. Exchanging online messages and files make them feel closer to their partners. It also allows them to bond on several different levels.
Advanced tech has a same positive effect on long distance relationships. We used to think that these relationships have very low chances to succeed. Now, when long distance couples can have long Skype sessions and basically spend several hours a day in each other’s presence, it’s much easier for them to focus on their relationship and stay loyal.
Digital world also offers different options to people who want to spice up their love life. Many couples exchange explicit texts, photos and videos over SMS/MMS or smart phone apps. Pew Research Center’s survey found that this has become increasingly popular in recent years. More than 9% of smartphone owners send explicit texts to someone, and more than 20% of them received explicit content. It’s also interesting that 3% of cell owners forwarded other people’s explicit messages; which does sound a bit creepy, when you think about it. This kind of texting increase is also partially responsible for Snapchat’s rise to fame, since this social app provides users with a feature that deletes their messages, photos and videos after certain amount of time.
Negative influences – Tension, addiction and cheating
Of course, it’s not all fun and games in lovers’ land. Couples, the Internet and Social Media also determined that advanced tech can be a great source of tension. More than 25% of married or partnered smartphone owners claim that their partner is distracted by various smart gadgets. This makes them upset and starts fierce arguments about the amount of time they spend together. Couples that don’t spend much time together, due to their work schedules are especially vulnerable to these types of distractions.
Advanced tech also made porn much more available. More than 40 million Americans (both men and women) regularly view pornographic content online. Pornography frequently creates unrealistic expectations about sexual partners and sexual behavior in general. It also ruins emotional and sexual intimacy on the long run and can make partners feel less valued and underappreciated.
Increased connectivity and alternative communication channels can also have disastrous effects on relationships and marriages. Since a divorce is better than an unhappy marriage, divorce rates are running record high. Some states like Oregon enabled couples to divorce online. Many of these divorces were initiated by infidelity. Huge number of alternative ways of communication that emerged with social media and obscure online dating services, lead many people into adultery and ended their marriages for good. Recently, we have also seen a big data breach in Ashley Madison (online dating service that is targeting married people), which caused a huge panic worldwide, especially after hackers started blackmailing profile owners.
People don’t see marriage as a holy sacrament anymore, which is not necessarily a bad thing. We are more free to do whatever we desire and date whoever we want. Technology has played a huge part in this process. It benefits our lives in many ways, but only if we set strict boundaries we won’t cross. Knowing when to switch off all shiny distractions and give full attention to our loved one is key for having a successful and harmonious relationship and marriage.