In many ways, technology has brought us closer together and expanded our ideas about how we can organize our lives and communicate with the people we care about. Dating apps have made meeting new people easier. Social media helps us stay connected throughout the day.
However, problematic behavior also appeared, especially in relation to romantic relationships. Here are three signs that your technology use may be sour rather than strengthening your romantic relationships.
Research explains that ignoring your partner because of your smartphone (i.e. phone suppression) can erode the fabric of your relationship. A study published in Personality and individual differences he calls the phenomenon of phubbing a “social allergen”—”the annoying behavior of others that increases irritation through repetition and attribution.”
If left untreated, phubbing can lead to bigger problems. Your partner could be oversensitive or disgusted by your repeated checking of the phone.
It is advisable to nip your phubbing habit in the bud. Maintaining healthy boundaries with your smartphone, such as making it a rule that phones go in the touchless bin after 8pm, is not only good for your relationship, but also for your mental and physical health.
Ghosting is a popular non-confrontational relationship termination technique that involves completely withdrawing communication from one member of the relationship. Although it seems convenient, research warns that ghosting can cause great psychological costs for both the ghoster and the ghostee.
According to psychologist Katherine Holmes of California Polytechnic State University, the ghost of someone special can have the following negative consequences for the ghost:
- Lack of closure. Instead of coming to terms with being a ghost, the ghostee seeks answers as to why the relationship was “destined to fail” as a way to ease his grief. Unfortunately, making up false excuses can prolong one’s grief instead of resolving it.
- Confusion about liability. The sudden and mysterious end of a relationship caused by ghosts can lead to confusion about who or what is to blame. Inevitably, the Ghostee may turn toward self-blame, causing mental exhaustion and lowered self-image.
- Avoid future vulnerability. Perhaps the most unfortunate consequence of becoming a ghost is developing an instinct to avoid future relationships altogether. This ‘self-protection’ strategy can prevent the ghostee from making meaningful connections in the future.
#3. Porn addiction
While occasional porn viewing together may be healthy for a couple, excessive porn indulgence or addiction in one or both members of a relationship is a definite red flag. According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychologyunrestricted access and unregulated consumption of porn can have a corrosive effect on your sense of self and your relationship.
According to psychologist Stephen Sammut, our preference for instant gratification can work against us when we consume porn and can lead to problems like anxiety and depression. Other side effects of porn addiction include:
- Decreased sense of self-worth
- Objectification of potential partners
- A warped sense of reality
Relationships change with time and technology. It is up to us to carefully examine such changes to determine which ones we want to embrace and which ones we would be better off walking away from.