There is a dark side to all the channels of communication we have and it takes its toll on your love life. Dating in the digital age can make you change your relationship status to “single” in some surprising ways.
1. You’re Always on Call
When we first started texting, it was a quick message we’d send in lieu of a phone call. Now, it’s a standard method of contact between lovers.
There’s nothing wrong with it in small amounts. Sending your girlfriend a sideways heart can brighten her day. However, the obligation to type out a conversation can make life difficult on a busy workday.
For instance, BlackBerry Messenger tells the sender when you’ve read their message, so you have no excuse not to respond unless you’re trapped under something heavy. The sender feels neglected and the receiver feels overwhelmed. Sometimes it’s just easier to just text, “I’ll text you later, xoxo :)” because it can give the conversation some closure.
With your cell phone always in your pocket, you’re never really saying goodbye, which is why you can get in a heated tiff via text and say something you don’t mean.
2. Online Communication Can Make us Stupid
Saying something you regret is way easier online than in person. Psychologists call it the Online Disinhibition Effect. Completely normal people send vulgar statements sounding like an Eminem song. Putting a screen in between two spouses can really break down the social rules of a simple lover’s quarrel.
According to ABC News, 33 per cent of couples walking out of divorce court in 2011 submitted Facebook messages as evidence of infidelity. The top complaint: inappropriate messages sent to friends of the opposite sex.
Subtle flirting may seem harmless to you, but on Facebook, it’s recorded for your girlfriend to find if you leave your browser window open.
Always use extra care in your online association and if things get heated, it’s better to sign off and talk it out face-to-face.
3. Your Relationship is on Display
When you ask a girl to be exclusive, the next step is to make it “Facebook Official”.
Announcing your new relationship to the world may seem romantic, but it puts pressure on you to keep it together. There’s a reason celebrities try to avoid the spotlight after a breakup. They’re awkward. Facebook puts us all on the cover of Us Weekly and when a long-term relationship ends. It’s a big scoop for all our friends, and it adds insult to injury when statuses change from “single” back to “in a relationship” after every minor spat. The catch-22 is it can seem disingenuous to a potential new girlfriend if you refuse to list your status, so you may not have a choice.
There are many more pitfalls out there. Humanity is still beta testing social media and we haven’t figured out all the bugs yet. Just remember, even though we’re all plugged in, our best communication is still face-to-face.
Jeff Johnston is freelance writer and journalist from the Niagara Region. He’s into technology, psychology, sports, and politics. He graduated from Brock University with a BA in Political Science and a diploma in journalism and is now looking to dazzle you with his wisdom.