Technology doesn’t ruin our relationships…. we do.
It’s 5AM when my alarm goes off for work every morning. I open my eyes, and my mind automatically starts racing. Things I need to get done at work that day, project deadlines, and all of the things I’ve got to get finished up around the house once I get off work that evening all loom. Why is there always so much stuff on my to do list and never enough time to get it all done?
I grab my phone while I’m waiting for the shower to heat up and scroll through my notifications, half awake. Knowing she’s not up, I could send her a text message, “Good morning, beautiful. I hope you’re sleeping well and I wish I were still sleeping next to you.” This text serves as two reminders: I want her to know she’s the first thing on my mind. And more importantly, I need her to realize that, regardless of how stressful or busy my days are, she’s still priority. But this isn’t normally reality, is it? I won’t say, “I never do this” but I will be vulnerable and admit I don’t do this nearly enough as I should. Instead I’ll log into Instagram or Facebook, nosing into everyone else’s life, and maybe, just maybe I’ll send that text to her on the way to work.
I’m sure you’ve heard these thoughts. “Our generation is the worst. Millennials don’t know how to be loyal. Social media is killing love.” You’ve heard it all and probably felt it, too. We’ve all been there – laying on the couch with your partner, both mindlessly scrolling quickly through Instagram or Facebook. That’s just become the norm.
Relationships these days lack direction. People “date,” but what the heck does that even mean anymore? Hanging out a couple nights a week? Texting all day? It’s safe to say something is missing, but what is causing relationships to falter at the rate they are? Did the previous generation have to deal with DMs and hundreds of other people ‘liking’ their partners selfies? Nope. But guess what? It’s not technology’s fault. It’s our fault for using this as an excuse and accepting the behavior.
If you meet someone and go out on a date and they never text you – that’s their problem, not the phone’s problem. If they only want to snapchat or text to get to know you, that’s your dates choice. In case you are wondering, PHONES DO STILL HAVE THE ABILITY TO PLACE CALLS. If they don’t take you on a real date – that’s not a technology issue either. Real dates still exist, you just decided not to go on one. (Yes, I’m also guilty of this – in fact we all are, my partner and I just had this conversation yesterday.)
Relationships thrive on communication. Our most intimate emotions are reserved for the person we love, so how is it acceptable to never show this to them?
We’ve accepted so many unacceptable things: sitting at the dinner table with our phones in front of our faces, arguing over text messages in the middle of a busy work day where you’re only half committed to your work and the conversation you’re having with your partner, publishing every live second of our lives on social media.
The same principles apply that always have. It was never socially acceptable to be with someone and cheat on them with another person. Maybe 30 years ago it was leaving a note with your home phone number or sending a love letter in a mail – regardless it was still inappropriate. You may not be “cheating on your partner” but I would definitely say you’re cheating yourself and your partner out of a valuable relationship. We experience lack of communication, attention, passion, intimacy, and even lack of love. So why are we okay with this and all of the communication shortcuts that have become so common?
Blaming social media for our relationship problems is no different than blaming the car for a drunk driver – it’s all about how we chose to use it. Instead of blaming technology and social media, raise your standards! Call your significant other during the day even though you could just text them to tell them whatever you need to say, GO ON DATES, spend uninterrupted time with your partner, and put down your phones – this doesn’t mean you can’t look at your phone, but there’s a time and place and date night isn’t it.
So set new standards – there are plenty of people out there who want the same things you do, you just have to be patient and hold onto the new standards you’ve set – it’s a learning process for everyone, including me and you. Make an effort. Old-fashioned love needs to make another round. Take a minute and tell her she’s beautiful. Call her on your way home from work and say, “get dressed, I’m on my way home and we’ve got plans” for a date night rather than just the common conversation of, “what do you want for dinner? I don’t know, what would you like?” The days of holding hands, opening the car door, taking her out “just because,” sending her flowers just to make her smile, and leaving her notes should never be gone.
We have to be children when it comes to love. We have to be vulnerable and free. That can’t happen when we’re preoccupied with the details of everyone else’s lives. Focus on each other – when it’s all said and done, that’s all you really have. Appreciate her, and show her how much she means to you. Bust most importantly, put your phone down and dial into what’s right in front of you.