Urgent work call or quick email: How technology ruins relationships

  • Collin Rodrigues, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Feb 04, 2015 15:42 IST

There’s no denying that technology is fast ­taking over certain aspects of our relationships. Before the mid-’90s, when the first mobile phone hadn’t even been launched in India, receiving a letter by post or a ‘trunk call’ on the landline was what it took to stay in touch. Today, hearing the ‘unavailable’ message on the mobile phone can cause serious stress.

A slippery slope: With the advancement of technology, even relationships have evolved. On the one hand, the Internet, coupled with smartphones and laptops, has made distances disappear. Cultural exchange has an all new meaning. A family vacation is no longer uncharted territory for an ‘urgent work call or quick email’.

And then, there’s the world of social media that must be kept informed of your travels through photographs, status messages and check-ins at all times. Early last year, a survey by an American think-tank, called Pew Research Centre, backed these disruptions with statistics. The study revealed that 25% of all cell phone users, who are in a relationship, have felt that their partners are distracted by their phones in their ­presence.

“My clients often crib that their partners use their mobile phones excessively. A lady came to me, complaining that her husband is addicted to his phone. Even before going to bed, he fiddles with his phone,” says relationship expert Riddhish K Maru. Delhi based Arin Rai (name changed), who works as a web designer, was addicted to his phone for other reasons. Even when he was with his girlfriend, he found himself checking his phone for Facebook or Twitter updates, text messages and even the time.

“I didn’t heed my girlfriend’s warnings. Soon, she threatened to leave me,” says Rane, adding that since then, he has ­decided to switch his phone off when he’s with her. Another poll conducted by researchers at the Pennsylvania State University and The University of Utah, USA, found that 62% of women felt that technology interfered with the amount of time they spent with their partners.

Everything in moderation: Those who have managed to strike the tech-life balance seem happy. Technology is the backbone of long-distance relationships. Couples rely on it to stay up-to-date with the happenings in each other’s lives. When Maura Pereira got married, little did she know that technology would shape the future of her relationship. Her husband, Alex, got a job in Oman and moved overseas. It has been over 20 years since they first started their long-distance marriage.

“Earlier, he used to call on the landline. He would give me the time and day of his next call. Then, cell phones made calling anytime possible. Now, with video chat, it feels like my husband is next to me,” she says.

Don’t let your smartphone infringe on your couple time, or else it could create havoc in your relationship

A recent study revealed that 25 % of all cellular phone users who are in a marriage or relationship have felt that their spouses or partners have been ­distracted by their phones in their presence.

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