Our society has had a drastic shift in the last century that has lead to typing and reading this very article – the aggressive development in technology. While technology has helped advance many parts of our lives further (we are able to speak to a loved one 3000 miles away from us through video chat and we are able to find diseases faster therefor helping lives to be saved), what has technology done to our relationships?
Often times technology has granted us easier access to communicating with our partner and children. We are able to send quick texts to our partner regarding grocery shopping and dinner, amongst other kinds of typical household errands. With children, they are able to send parents quick texts saying they have arrived safely at their destination or that they have an extra curricular after school event to attend and will not need to be picked up until later. These are all positive ways that technology has improved some of our day to day activities.
At home, many families now sit together texting and reading emails compared to just a decade ago they were watching the old fashioned television, and nearly two decades ago, gathering around the dinner table for a wholesome meal. Not that some families do not still share meals together, it just seems to be a lost art in much of our culture since the rapid expansion of technology has entered our lives. Our society craves instant gratification and with technology there is always access – but is this access depleting our communication in our relationships?
Technological Issues To Be Aware Of In Relationships
– Are you often checking online at your social media sites to see if you have new messages, “likes”, and to view what the general social media population is up to? Maintaining all these connections can cut into your quality time with your partner and children. Each and every interruption to your time alone with you partner or together with your family will likely not help to build relationship connection. Cultivate awareness of how often you are checking in while with your partner or children.
– Often times when a text or an email is received, all you get is the information you read. There are no smiles, hugs, laughter, or physical intimacy in a virtual message. What nurtures loving feelings with significant others usually involves physical contact—simple things like gazing lovingly at each other, holding hands, whispering sweet nothings. Eye-to-eye and skin-to-skin contact all turn on the love hormone, oxytocin. This chemical in your brain enhances your feelings of affection and increases your sense of bonding with your partner. This is something that simply cannot be expressed over a text message or email.
– Texts and emails can easily be misinterpreted. In this regard, phone calls (which add voice and character to the conversation) are less likely to create upsets from misperceptions. Becoming mindful of this when you go to write a quick message to your partner by being as clear as you can be.
Sharing thoughts and having conversation with another person makes a connection, regardless if it is in person or through a technology outlet. However, talking enhances connection power when you are physically together, because you can see each other, hear each other and touch each other. That connection can never be conveyed over any kind of technology, as it is part of our humanity.
Author: Toni Parker PhD Certifed Gottman Therapist, Psychotherapist, and Speaker. She teaches Level 1 Gottman Trainings and Art and Science of Love workshops in the United States and Abroad. Toni has been in private practice for over 20 years and has spoken for various organizations as well as Fortune 500 companies. Visit ThrivingRelationships.org