Is Technology Damaging Our Real-Life Relationships?

How many times have you gotten into an argument over a text that your partner took the wrong way? Have you ever gotten into a fight over something you or a partner said on Facebook? When you’re done fighting in person, do you continue the fight over the phone or through instant messaging? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, today’s technology may be damaging your relationship.

Before cell phones were a necessary part of everyday life, people had time apart to think about what they had said in a fight. I have personally been in a situation where my fiancé and I got into an argument but had to leave the house before we made up, so we continued the fight over the phone. If we didn’t have those phones, we’d have time to calm down and think about the things we said and didn’t mean, and then we would talk when he or I arrived home hours later. Our phones allow us to keep throwing oil on the fire when we should be putting it out, and this is not a good thing.

I didn’t really think about how technology can affect our human relationships until I saw my grandparents fight for the first time. They’ve been happily married for over 50 years, and I’ve always admired their relationship. They always seem happy and they are glad to do things for each other. One night, though, my grandmother said something that angered my grandfather, so, instead of yelling and making a big scene, he got in his car and went for a drive. I then learned that that’s his way of calming down to avoid getting into a big argument over something petty. It was then that I learned that even seemingly perfect couples get in fights every now and again, and it all comes down to the way you choose to deal with those fights. When he came home, they both apologized and moved on. That’s the way it should be done. Unfortunately, most of today’s couples are so reliant on their smartphones and social media that they don’t know how to deal with arguments anymore.

Social media is a powerful tool that can either be very helpful or very hurtful. Have you ever gotten into an argument over a photo you liked on Facebook or Instagram? These are relatively new problems, and it’s hard to get advice on what to do since many people don’t know a thing about social media. You can’t really ask your grandmother for advice on this one (or, maybe you can, but my grandmother doesn’t know a thing about social media!). My best advice would be to trust your partner. A relationship can only survive for so long without trust. If you’re jealous that your partner is liking someone’s photos on Instagram, take a step back and relax. As long as he or she is being faithful to you and not communicating with this person with romantic intentions, you have nothing to worry about.

This is not to say that technology is all bad as far as relationships are concerned! In fact, studies have shown that over a third of recent marriages in the United States have started online. My fiancé and I met in high school, but he asked me out over AIM (How many of you remember AOL Instant Messaging? That’s what we had before the days of Facebook chat!). Technology can be a great tool for building real-life relationships, so long as you handle it responsibly.

How do you feel technology has affected your relationships? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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