Frank Sinatra once sang: “Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage.” However, Sinatra didn’t have mobile devices to contend with. If you throw technology into the mix, the traditional marital arrangement becomes a lot more complex. The fact that you love your partner doesn’t necessarily mean you want them casually flipping through your smartphone and seeing all your personal info. This is one of the many challenges facing new couples in the modern age.
Here are three more tech-related challenges that complicate modern romantic relationships:
Your partner’s devices are not your devices
Even newlyweds need a little elbow room and the need for personal space extends to personal electronics, too. You wouldn’t use your partner’s toothbrush–why have a different policy for their iPad? In a strange way, smartphones and tablets are just as personal, if not more. Contacts, text messages, Facebook news feeds, tweets, and sensitive emails are just a few of the elements that might show up on a partner’s screen when casually activated.
Even if you are more open about these sorts of things, it’s not wise to just assume your partner is. In my house, I open the mail with my name on it. My partner’s mail gets passed on unopened, unless otherwise directed. A similar policy of respect is wise for personal devices. Don’t let your first major argument be over the fact that you thought it would be okay to use her tablet without permission.
Over-sharing on social networks
Social networks are made for sharing. They are so suited for the task that sharing too much personal information is all too easy. Yet, over-sharing can create emotional rifts that damage or even end your marriage. Remember: love isn’t the only valuable commodity in a relationship–privacy and personal space are just as important.
It does not take long before you have enough information about your partner to create some major trust issues. Couples’ sharing random memories, events, or preferences can be embarrassing and even traumatizing. What you share about yourself should be carefully considered, too. The public disclosures and exhibitionism of your single days may not go over very well in married life. Excellent advice on this matter can be found here.
It might even be prudent to sit down with a couples counselor about some of these matters before they become major sticking points in the relationship. It is certainly appropriate to seek advice from someone who specializes in your areas of interest.
For example, social networking doesn’t have to be a destructive force in your relationship. In fact, online social channels can be used to mend damaged relationships. Case in point: marriage and couples counselor, Dr. Sam Von Reiche, who believes social networks and online software can and should be used for the benefit of a relationship. Practicing what she preaches, Reiche’s unique approach offers virtual psychotherapy services that incorporate Skype, FaceTime, and G-chat.
How many times have you been to a restaurant and witnessed a couple sitting across from one another gazing lovingly at… their smartphones? It’s even more awkward if only one is doing the gadget gazing. Unfortunately, tech-addicted people usually don’t know they have a problem and it’s all too easy to let a beloved gadget come between you and the person you love without even being aware of it. It’s as if the iPad becomes a third member of the relationship. This Chicago Tribune article is filled with cautionary tales about the deleterious effects of tech addiction on relationships.
In conclusion, let’s remember that technology is neither good nor bad. It is what we make of it. Let’s also remember that the modern couple faces digital distractions that previous generations didn’t have to deal with. Smartphones, social media and other tools and gadgets can present significant challenges to martial bliss. Work together and make the best of technology in your relationships.