Issue 30 / How Technology Is Hurting Your Relationship

How Technology Is Hurting Your Relationship

Jan 01, 2016

Sure gadgets are great. But if you don't get a grip, they'll destroy you and your relationships (and humanity for that matter). 

Maybe the Amish have it right. Or cavemen — the pioneers of sitting back and enjoying the moment without technology.
Technology has become a staple of human existence. Anything with a screen that costs a ridiculous amount of money, and was pitched to you by a guy in glasses and high-waisted jeans, has become a staple of social existence.
If a man doesn’t have a cellphone does he even exist?
A teen will tell you, “OMG, like, no!” but that sentiment probably rings true for most. Your work life probably depends on it, and unless you have a carrier pigeon or live in a third  world village, then your social life definitely depends on it.

Are we cyborgs or humans?

Photo Credit:

We’re hooked on that stuff — you’re hooked on it right now.
Sometimes it feels like we’re all one step away from becoming cyborgs, integrating into one master race and joining the new world order.
But for now, let’s take a look at the downside (because everyone loves negativity) of the smartphone/tablet/whatever technology and see the effect it has on one of the most important things in most people's lives — relationships.
Here are some stats.
In 2012, smartphone technology was about five years old, so it was time to see how these machines affected us. Researchers at the Baylor University Hankamer School of Business found that giving too much love to your cellphone could jeopardize or even destroy your relationship with your lover or your friends.
Last year there was a study published in the International Journal of Neuropsychotherapy that found that if one person in a relationship spent a lot more time glued to a screen than their partner, then the technologically inclined partner would begin to feel ignored and insecure.

Stop ignoring your partner.
Photo Credit: polled 143 women that were married or living-with-their-partner and 62 per cent said technology gets in the way of down time together (ouch!). Forty per cent said that their lover will zone them out in favour of the TV during conversations, and 25 per cent said their partner will text while conversing face to face. There are more stats on their website, but it’s safe to say that most women are in a three-way relationship with a man and a gadget.
But is it just women who have these gripes about gadget distractions, or are men equally as peeved? Well, I’m sure they get a little annoyed when they find that secret conversation on Facebook, but do they ever feel snubbed by this behaviour?
Well, Dr. James A. Roberts looked at the effects of phubbing, which is using your cellphone to snub your boo, and found these numbers amongst 145 participants (women and men): Forty-six per cent reported that they had been phubbed by their partner at some point in their relationship and 23 per cent said this was a cause of conflict.
“Okay, 23 per cent isn’t so bad,” you say. “Just don’t pick it up!”
But guess what?
A study conducted by the University of Essex found that simply having a cellphone within arm’s reach while engaging in a personal discussion with your partner can result in lower trust levels and a lower overall level of relationship quality with your partner. Basically the partner pining for the phone was perceived as less empathetic and women tend to hate that.
You may as well be staring at another woman’s cleavage.
Maybe its time to set some ground rules in this open relationship of yours. Shove the phone under the couch for a few hours. Set some private, one-on-one snuggle time. Some electronic-free conversation time. You may think checking one text isn’t going to hurt but why risk poison getting in if you can prevent it?

Pause for the cause. 
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If you’ve phubbed your partner one too many times, then apologize (but not by text because in 2013, Brigham Young University researchers found that clicking out an “I’m sorry” over text in the heat of an argument didn’t help, it actually made the matter worse). So put the device down — the one you’re holding right now — and go tend to your relationship.
Unless you’re at work, by which means, continue onto the other blogs on our site.

Main Image Photo Credit:

Taras Babiak


Taras is a freelance blogger, video editor and screenwriter. He is the co-writer of "Made In Bali," which recently won Best Short Film of the year from the Director's Guild of Canada. 


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