Technology In Relationships
Tips to Keep the Blackberry out of Your Bed and High-Technology Addiction From Setting in
Dear April Masini,
I met someone great through Internet dating, but it's been six months of dating now, and I'm starting to get jealous of all the time he spends with his computer, his Blackberry, and his cell phone. Am I crazy?"
Rage in the Machine
April Masini's Advice :
No, you're not crazy. Technology has it's good and bad points when it comes to the lives of us mere mortals, and you're experiencing exactly what is the pain and the pleasure of living in a technology world. So hang on, read further, and you'll stay sane - and maybe even happy in love!
Computers and all the derivative products like pagers and portable DVD players, MP3 players and Blackberries, quickly change life and lifestyles. Suddenly, you can watch a movie on DVD in bed on your portable DVD player, while your lover or spouse sleeps next to you. You have the headphones on so you're not disturbing your partner with the noise of a television, which now seems like such an antiquated device. And your cell phone can be programmed to vibrate, rather than ring out loudly, so your partner won't be woken from sleep while you take your call in the other room - or just IM your message on the phone, the Blackberry or your laptop, which is probably within arm's reach of your bed. All this is great because it makes telecommuting a job option and communicating so easy that emergencies are often eliminated because you can reach whomever you need so easily.
Well...it can be. But the downside to all the progress is that technology CAN be addictive, and like any addiction, it can impede a healthy relationship, and that's what you're feeling, and why you wrote in. You're feeling the downside of technology, and unfortunately, there's more to come because there's no stopping science and technology. Relationships, on the other hand, are more fragile.
Bad Sex Can Get Worse:
Blackberries can make bad sex worse than laptop or desktop computers do. The reason is that Blackberries are so portable and make any addiction or distraction easier to get. They’re also easier to sneak into the bedroom -- or even into bed.
The old joke used to be that one member of a couple would be amorously making love to the partner, who was watching the television program, that was on at the foot of the bed. Now, with the plasma TV mounted on the wall like a piece of art, and the Blackberry under the pillow, bad sex is doomed to a quick spiral down.
Distractions Become Exponential:
Once you've got physical access to all this high-technology, you simultaneously have enormous access to a myriad of distractions. How you or your partner handle technology distractions has to do with your character - and character is something technology just doesn't have as one of it's components.
Chat room buddies that are always there for you can turn into paramours and are particularly dangerous to unsteady relationships. In fact there is even new technology that allows you to sexually stimulate a cyber-partner if you have the right software and (ahem) hardware. What starts out as a friendly conversation about a mutual interest can spiral into a cyber-sex relationship with the illusion that this is an honest relationship.
Who's Really Out There?:
Then there's the initial anonymity of techno-relationships or cyber-relationships. What you may have in (non-cyber) reality is a 400-pound Krispy Kreme muncher masquerading as Cindy Crawford online, making a lonely guy (in or out of a relationship) fall mouse over modem in love. Or a Megan's law offender candidate masquerading as an innocent young person just wanting to get to know you - in a cyber relationship, and then often meeting up in real life. So not only can you become an adulterer online, you can be in a relationship with someone who isn't who they say they are!
There are precautions you can take to make Internet life safe, but it doesn't take away from the fact that if you have chinks in the armor of your relationship, technology can be the straw that broke the camel's back when it finds it's way into your bedroom, and creates a sex-free zone in what was once the palace of love.
Relationship Advice Expert April Masini's Advice:
- Make your bedroom technology free. Get rid of anything that uses technology except for your lamps, your clock, and your air purifier, if you use one. Bedrooms should be an oasis for sleep and sex.
- Make a room in your home the tech room. If you don’t have an entire room to devote, then give a portion of your living room the honor of being the tech-zone. The rest of the house should be a tech-free zone.
- Dinner. No Blackberries, cell phones, computers, or other tech devices at the dinner table.
- E-mail addiction. While there's no 12-step program for people who e-mail too much - yet, there are ways to cut down on any incessant computer use. Like choosing a time each day to answer and write e-mails. Even if you work on your computer daily, only check e-mails between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. each day. And if you need to, again, at 5:30 p.m. the same day. Many executives use this rule for phone calls. They only return and place calls during certain hours of the day to better manage their lives.
- Feng shui your technology collection. Get rid of what you don't use. Donate it, give it to a friend or sell it on an auction website. You don't need three MP3 players and a Blackberry and three computers. If your laptop plays DVDs, do you really need a portable DVD player? No.
Let your Blackberry and other technology work for you -- don’t be a slave to your Blackberry.
Sometimes you just need to get away from the house to get away from the computer, so for some tech-free date ideas look at my book Romantic Date Ideas.