There is no denying that we live in a technology saturated world. It can be hard to imagine a day going by without responding to an email, sending a text message, or checking the latest updates on Facebook. Our intimate relationships are even tied up with technology. Some of us meet through an online dating website or live long distance and connect with our loved one via video conferencing. It is becoming increasingly important, therefore, to consider how technology, the Internet, and social networking work within your intimate relationship. Although these devices and platforms can help you stay connected, there are many ways that they can create disconnection between you and your partner. These 5 tips can help you and your partner to ensure that technology has a healthy role in your relationship.
- Set expectations. Make mutually agreed upon rules and limitations about how you, as a couple, will use technology in your relationship. Do you expect a phone call at the end of the work day to let your partner know when you will be home? What pictures (if any) of you are you comfortable sharing on social media? Can you share personal news, conflicts, or difficulties via social media? What about accepting friend requests – are there any people you are uncomfortable with your partner connecting with? Talk about all of these areas and set your expectations about how you each will behave.
- Create “no-screen” time. Set aside your phones, tablets, or laptops during meals, at bedtime, and during conversations where you and your partner are discussing difficult topics.
- Make a “no secrets” rule. Is what you are doing with your technology something you would be comfortable with your partner knowing? Privacy is different than secrets. It is not appropriate to keep secrets from your partner, so be absolutely transparent about how you engage with your various technology devices.
- No text arguments! There is much that can be left to interpretation when you communicate via text message, and therefore a lot of opportunities to misread what your partner is trying to convey. If your text message conversation starts to get heated, ask to stop the discussion and wait to pick it up again when you are face-to-face or at least able to speak directly over the phone.
- Use technology to increase your connection with your partner. Emails, text message, or even private messages through social media platforms are a great way to communicate spontaneous messages of love and support to your partner. Intimacy grows with each and every moment that you and your partner communicate and connect in these ways. Just don’t forget to speak these sentiments directly to your partner when you are with them in person!