It may not have been so obvious during the early stages of the development of technology, but our technology-laden world has taken a toll on today's relationships. The use, and now dependency on cell phones, tablets and computers that our society faces today has changed the way we form and maintain relationships. More specifically, it has altered the millennial generation’s perspective on romance, relationship building, and love. As the first generation to grow up alongside technology without being born into the era of iPhones and Netflix, we have a unique connection to today’s technology. There are obvious positive and negative effects that come with incorporating technology, internet, and social media into our relationships. Whether the good outweighs the bad depends solely on how you use it, but we are one of the first generations to face such issues.
One of the primary reasons the population loves the internet is that it has the ability to bring us together. With video-chatting, instant messaging, photo sharing, and so much more all at our fingertips, we have the ability to know what our friends, family, and even strangers are doing at all times. These technologies have the ability to bring communication to people from far distances, and this is the foundation of many long-distance relationships. This “closeness” is a double-edged sword, however. Our generation often uses technology in place of actual closeness with people, and specifically our partners in relationships. We have become more cynical in a way, because we so often mistake the fact that we can be in constant contact with someone as a reason that we should. There is no room for space without possibly hurting feelings, by taking “read-no-replies” or opened snapchats with no snap back as calculated ignoring rather than the fact that your partner has a life too and can’t always be plugged in (and you shouldn’t either). People carry out their relationships solely online through chatting and FaceTime, and when they finally meet in person there is no chemistry at all and people inevitably get hurt. It can be hard for many people to resist “creeping” on their SO through social media, making them more skeptical of them than they would be otherwise just because the opportunity is available to dig a little deeper.
There is also a trend that we see popping up more and more on the internet that continues to make us question the stability of our relationships. Photo sets of a cute couple on twitter with a caption “#GOALS”, Pinterest boards for “Date Night Ideas” and “Wedding/Engagement”, and Instagram feeds flooded with couple selfies. With the outlet and enough people to listen, there are always people who will brag and use social media to show off or gain attention. So many people feel it necessary to appear successful and happy in every aspect of their life on social media, and this definitely includes their dating life. To be in a committed relationship makes many people feel they have gained success, and to make it clear to their 1,000+ Facebook friends they make sure to post #WCW or #MCM weekly and every cute date they go on. But as we all know looking good on Facebook isn’t all that it takes to maintain a relationship, and going out on elaborate dates just to get that Instagram worthy shot can have a negative and unhealthy effect on our dating lives.
By no means am I down-playing how awesome technology is for us, and I love being a part of the generation who saw so many strides in technology throughout my life. I am just as addicted to my iPhone and Instagram as the next person, and I spend many a night scrolling through Pinterest until I eventually knock out. I mean, without our current technology, you couldn’t be reading this! But it is open to question how much we should rely on our technology when it comes to dating and our love lives. There are great ways that our phones and the internet can bring us together like never before, through dating apps, social media, and many more outlets where we can meet great people who could even turn out to be our soulmates! Even I can attest to this, as my boyfriend’s first communication with me came through a few tweets at me, and we’re still going strong over four years later (he’s always been super smooth). But it does make you wonder how people fell in love and stayed married all these years without being able to google ideas for their next date night, and without iPhones and photo-editing apps to post a collage of their dates together. As I previously stated, there are clearly pros and cons to the use of technology in our relationships, but it is important to remember not to use it as a crutch or become too dependent on it or we can find ourselves distanced from our loved ones. If this ever becomes the case, just dedicate some time where you can unplug and spend some good ‘ole quality time with your SO. Talk it out, people (out loud and in person, of course).