How technology is Changing your Relationship

RElationships changing through technology

For part 1 on How Technology is changing dating on Psychalive 

Relationships. You have negotiated the dating stage and have found a partner. You settle into the conferrable space of a relationship; the ups, downs and early nights in. Life seems good!   

What strikes me with this picture is where has the buzz of the ‘Dating Game’ Gone? Much of our lives is governed by the use of technology from an emotional and cognitive viewpoint. We have spent the last few months getting rather good at meeting and talking to people via online dating sites, having our pick and getting a boost of self-esteem. Where do we get that from now?

Less sex more Tech

The third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal) in 2013 suggests that Britons are having less sex than in 2000. The reason as stated on the Guardian website is: “[a] consequence of people playing with their iPads in bed instead” – How ironic that we use online dating sites to find a partner, then end up still looking for the thrill we once sought for through technology, rather than enjoying the thrill of each other in the bedroom (linking back to the dopamine hits/ game element I mentioned in a previous post). 

Is one partner enough?

Returning to my blog entry on dating, the choice we now have through internet dating has grown considerably. We are not only used to the choice but the praise and admiration of many. If we look at a study which coined the Looking-glass state, which is a psychological concept that suggests we develop our Sense of Self based on the perceptions of those we interact with:
“Now that we can interact with hundreds – no, thousands – of people simultaneously, we’ve strengthened the impact that others have on our self-value.”  stated Andrea Letamendi, a doctor of psychology at UCLA.

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As a society we are used to getting more praise from more people than in previous generations which affects our self-worth. We would rather 100 ‘likes’ on a Facebook status, than the praise of a few physical friends. If we relate that back to dating we are so used to the connection with many via internet dating that we are finding it hard to remain off of a dating website even when in a relationship.

Excessive choice leading to expandability

It’s not just from the admiration of many. Technology offers more than ever before. As said in… Carole Lieberman’s book  says in her book Bad Boys “dating has changed from a “romantic serendipitous meeting to a virtual shopping spree”.

Let’s think about that for a moment. Gone is the chance meeting and instead we are inundated with so many more matches and choice, then, the human physical element has gone and instead we are caught up in the frenzy of online, faceless matches. During most of our online musing we are always looking for more information and better sources in our quest for perfection. What damage is this seemingly endless pool of matches doing to our expectations of a relationship or a potential partner.

In a study by IDEA  (Internet dating Executive Alliance) the main consensus was that this ‘endless pool’ was leading to a feeling of expandability. Why stick it out in a relationship which is starting to crack when we have so much more dopamine filled choice out there? Why ‘settle or stick it out’ when it’s so much easier and more fun, to look elsewhere?’

Control

There is one thing technology and our love life have in common – Control.  When using technology in many aspects of life we have gained an element of control.
Technology is there for us whenever we are bored, need to search for information, or when we need to feel companionship or acceptance from many, potential, love matches. The element of control is powerful and all-consuming. In some ways it can even be dangerous if we try desperately to hang onto it with no avail.  What happens, however, when we lose control  and when the love you give is not reciprocated?

How has technology affected the last stage of Love? The breakup.

The breakup

In the past we would be hurt but could disengage from a loved one physically. We may be in the same social circle but once we had decided to step away, we didn’t have access to what they were up to; how their life was going or if they were seeing someone else.  What affect does this one way mirror into a past loved ones life have on us?

A study carried out by  Tara Marshall from Burnel University on the subject of ‘Facebook Surveillance of Former Romantic Partners: Associations with Post Breakup Recovery and Personal Growth.’ states: “findings suggest that exposure to an ex-partner through Facebook may obstruct the process of healing and moving on from a past relationship.”.

It seems that our quest for knowledge and control does not stop when others do not feel the same. From people I have discussed this with it seems that our curiosity gets the better of us and we feel compelled to look at an ex partner’s’ profile to see what they are up to.

This gives us the the feeling of still being in their lives and, therefore, the connection that we so desperately crave. As Tara Marshall has pointed out, this has a detrimental impact emotionally and stilts our emotional growth.

Conclusion

The dating app Tinder’s, tag line is: ‘Like real life but better’. This sums up just how far our perception of love has come from our previous generation.  We see the incorporation of technology into our lives as a wholly positive experience but there are drawbacks too. Throughout all the stages of love, technology has changed how we look for love, experience and act within a relationship and grow emotionally after a breakup. It seems our quest of perceived choice and control has percolated throughout the stages and given us unrealistic expectations of what to expect. It seems then that love is not changing through technology but the way we perceive the world and where our values lie.

 

If you like this please read:

Is the physical world not enough? Technology, the internet and our need for constant stimulation

Technology: The drug of the information age

Or please visit my website for more information about psychotherapy and how it can help strengthen your relationships

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