"Oh, hey sorry I was just looking at something on my phone."
If this conversation sounds a bit too familiar, we're in the same boat. Do you ever become so engrossed in your phone, computer or iPad that you disconnect entirely from your partner? Have you ever shared a meal with a friend who is looking at their phone the entire time? I'm forever fighting the urge to blurt out, "Can you NOT?"
Technology is doing serious damage to our relationships because it replaces the very thing we need from our partners: closeness, intrigue, approval and (in the case of technology -- immediate) satisfaction. Millennials often complain about dating and how awful it's become, but don't know how to change the reality of it since they feel lost without technology.
The need for communication is inherent in every human being and it's so much more easily attained via our screens. It's safer, less threatening and more easily controlled. Meeting the thirst for instant gratification, as precarious and short-lived as it may be, supplies a small dose of what we are ultimately looking for -- happiness. This causes us to hold on to our phones a tiny bit longer, a tiny bit later. The rush from receiving an approving email or reading an article that "understands" us so well delays the need to come to our partner for that extra hug or words of support. We find those notifications to be like a third party constantly present in the room.
The natural lulls in our everyday life that would otherwise allow for moments of vulnerability and expression of our thoughts and feelings with our partner are now filled with picking up the phone, scrolling and getting lost in someone else's drama. We sabotage our own bonding opportunities when we become more invested in someone's relationship, stealing our ability to invest in our own. Ultimately, technology becomes an unwelcome intruder in our
Some would say we have regressed to first-grade levels of communication when using technology. We aren't required to express a lot of emotion (hello, Kimojis), we don't have to explain things in detail (just send a link) and we don't need to come up with the right words to explain why we feel the way we do (why express your feelings when you can send a meme instead?). It's almost frowned upon to use good grammar -- millennials seem to have reverted back to original "text talk" like using "ur" instead of "you're".
What results from all this online communication is sometimes embarrassing verbal skills, tone-deaf arguments, and a lot of jumping to conclusions. What makes us tech-savvy online, can leave our communication handicapped in real life.
Realizing the problem is the first step to recovering our damaged love lives, the next being to set some goals both with and without our partners. If we strive to become more self-reliant and less technology-dependent, we can begin to enjoy moments of quiet without picking up the phone and enjoying a web-induced brain stimulus. If I had to guess, you have some topics of conversation stored up in that master brain of yours. How about you dig them up and share with your partner?
Is technology compensating for something missing in your life? If it's bringing you greater joy and security than your relationship, perhaps it's time to reassess and invest your energy into what really matters.