Part One: Tech & Relationships

Technology to find a relationship: Why not!?! (Part One) Technology and the pursuit of finding the one in the modern age

The next two posts are based on the topic I was asked to talk about on a radio station recently. https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/the-health-hub/tony-jones-is-netflix-affecting-your-marriage/

The loudest part of the question that hit me first was what on earth is going on with ‘the one’. Perhaps the definition of the one has changed… by perhaps I mean I believe it has changed and massively. We want everything and we want it yesterday!

The problem is, perhaps some looking are positioned on a lofty platform to their potential partner and with such a high bar it is not unlike a knitted jumper from your gran at Christmas! Well-intentioned but plain disappointing. A phrase that comes up a lot with all lines of clients is you get what you look for, well what happens if you are looking for the impossible! Can’t be overly surprised that you don’t find it and folk keeping falling short of perfection, if you achieved it how could they not, right?

Dr. Letamendi says in Time magazine, “Now that we can interact with hundreds – no thousands – of people simultaneously, we’ve strengthened the impact that others have on our self-value.”

Everyone and thing is so accessible, and along with a disposable mentality are we denying ourselves the opportunity to experience anything other than a swipe left or right for a quick hook up? Heck, for some I could imagine the glow of a mobile screen lights up a room whilst your having sex, fed by the driver that you deserve and are entitled to something better and now, well a couple of minutes from now.

Technology to find a relationship: Why not! Online now all the initial tick lists have been done, looks, hobbies, interests, profession, outlook etc. By the time you meet your date for the first time you know what their friends and family look like and more than likely with some careful examination of multiple Instagram photo angles you can see where they live, what they eat and at the very least inside leg measurement.

We have all become busier, society and individuals within it pride themselves on busyness. It used to be mundane chat about the weather but now its peacocking about how busy we are. We are busy some of the time and spend the other half of the time telling other folk how busy we are. Only the other day I was in a ‘meeting’ at a café with an agent sharing how busy he was for the first 20 mins. This was quickly followed by summarising a luxurious and indulgent weekend ahead and suggesting we meet for coffee the next day. Societal shifts and demands are nothing new. Folk are genuinely time restricted, unfortunately mainly due to being unfiltered in access to their employers and others. Holiday clubs, before and after school clubs are doing bloody outstanding business at the moment as parents put in the hours. Family systems and general lifestyles are informed by tech and then monitored accordingly.

The reality is technology opens massive potential and access to heaps and damned quickly. Technology isn’t the problem any more than the bygone fear that TV was taking us all to hell but at the very least taking our souls through the glass screen. It’s how we as humans utilise and interact with it, and ensure it is a tool to facilitate our lives as opposed to it being front and centre.

A recent article I read was holding Netflix to account for a sex famine in western marriages

https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/love-sex/111094985/netflix-is-driving-a-sex-famine-in-western-marriages . Easy sentence? quite possibly, but does it stand alone in terms of what other factors need to be considered and blamed, heck no! It is a real issue in all avenues of relationships, whether romantic, family, work colleagues, kids and everyone else before, after and in between. We celebrate an increase in connectivity, but we are talking solely about tech connect not a wonderful human chapter in chirpy good conversation, banter, interaction or heaven forbid physical touch. The waters in all relationships are muddied, especially in terms of having an understanding of our sense of self and identity. We certainly know who we should strive to be like and how far we are away from a Kardashian or Ryan Reynolds. The benchmark for ‘normal’ has shifted. This disconnect has also perhaps seen a demise in any sort of rhyme, reason or any dose of reality to an accurate reflection of self. A culture of me, myself and I is rife and when you are fully immersed in that limited scope of cast members then that leaves sweet bugger all space and time for others. Do we have a hyperinflated view of ourselves and hyper critical view of others, especially partners? This in part again taps into a whole different world of social media etc. and the impact on relationships. Heck, just google modern dating. The first few pages before you get bored are ‘the rules’. Check them out, they are shocking, me, myself and I and absolute inflated sales pitch of entitlement without any need to give or try. If you ditch the rules you may just have a chance.

Sticking to Netflix and Sex. The article does elude to a raft of other factors that are worthy of a mention just as much as blaming Netflix or YouTube for diminishing sex lives. Increase connectivity equals unlimited access to you and your loved one. You’ll be hard stretched to find anyone that isn’t within inches of their mobile device when they go to bed, even if it’s to use as an alarm. Our attention is misdirected away from the very person or people we often love the most and it is shared openly and willingly with acquaintances, colleagues and bosses in their place. How sexy and connected to your partner beside you when your boss has just added another ‘small’ task to your already overwhelming workload.

There are a lot of distractions and really important things that people must fit in to an ever-decreasing window of time. Work, errands, jobs. Then there are the parents out there. I’d suggest kids would trump Netflix as the antidote to sex. The loving embrace at the end of the day isn’t always a precursor to magical sex, but an embrace of utter relief that you survived another day and nervous anticipation of the morning routine peering from around the corner.

I did see some words far from wisdom from a social influencer who was also giving advice which included, dating others and taking a break. Well everybody has a right to make their own decisions but for what its worth…don’t follow these, no, no a thousand times no!

Smart Phones function like a relationship wish list (for some). It gives you everything you need and want, and you just have to plug it in for an hour a day. It’ll show you pretty much whatever you want no matter how out there it may seem. You are just left to sit in surprised judgement of yourself as a ‘random’ inappropriate advertisement pops up thanks to the millions of cookies running in the background of every click. It’ll turn you on when you want it too and you can turn it on at the swipe of a finger. It can give you directions in pretty much any language you want, tell you the time or answer a question without being a smart ass. It won’t talk back or out of turn unless Siri is bugging out. There is not much it can’t do and again straight away.

Are we stuck in a game that many would scoff at the very idea of? With every bleep of the phone a big shot of dopamine rushing through the body, a feel-good buzz and validation, even if it is from an absolute stranger. I’m not sure anybody hasn’t at some point heard, behind a false smile suggesting no direct intent, “but I noticed you didn’t like it”. It matters! and the chemical blasts of the neurological system maintain the game and it is oh so very real.

If we pause for a second, are we losing something beautiful, exciting and organic in the shape of the development of love? Has it been dehumanised and transformed into something that is a tad cold and artificial, and for who, surely not everyone? Is it a cognitive process rather than one of the heart? The pursuit of convenience over anything else. A problem-solving approach is adopted rather than one of innocent and open enquiry into who is out there and how they may compliment you warts n’all. You should never stop learning something new or being open to being blown away and in awe of your partner. It doesn’t stop and/or start at the first hurdle, but a relationship grows in time and blossoms. What is our capacity or even willingness to see the highs but navigate relationship challenges.

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