These are the days when a strong wireless internet connection trumps a meaningful personal connection – where feelings and emotions can only be portrayed in a 140 character Tweet and where relationships aren’t official until they are Facebook official. In a world where technological advances are increasing at a staggering rate, and means of communicating are growing daily, it is no wonder personal and romantic relationships are suffering.
With the help of technology, rock solid relationships have become harder to find. Face to face conversations have diminished, easily becoming replaced by texting, for the exception of Skype and FaceTime. Arguing face to face became phone calls where one person hangs up as soon as they don’t get their way; feelings became subliminal messages online, by means of a Tweet or a Facebook status. Sex became easy and love – real love, became hard. The word love constantly gets used out of context. Insecurities in relationships are almost a given, allowing jealousy to become a habit. Trust is nearly non-existent, because there are social networks that can track your boyfriend/girlfriend’s every move, every word, every lie. Cheating became a “drunken” accident that will “never happen again.” Dates became wild Friday night parties, and loving gestures are almost non-existent. Is this what love has come down to? What happened to how it was years ago – to the ideal relationship that was portrayed in the infamous Nicholas Sparks novel, “The Notebook?” What happened to that Old School Love?
Today, text messages using emoticons – hey, I’m guilty of this too – are more important than the slowly devised and well thought out, personally written card or letter, and is far better than sending a dozen roses. We have lost the intimate bond created by in-person contact. Technology makes us panic-stricken when we see something posted online that could have an underlying meaning projected at us. Song lyrics and quotes used as statuses immediately are directed at us, especially if they are negative. And, texting, though incredibly useful, has turned us all a little crazy. If you don’t get an immediate response, you wonder what you did wrong. You count the minutes in between each text message sent and received and you play the game right back. He took four minutes to send you a text? Fine, I’ll take eight minutes. So on and so forth. The games are petty and immature, but it’s what technology has done to us. And with BBM (does anyone even still own a blackberry?) and iPhones/iMessage, you can tell when a person has read a text. (If you own an iPhone, I suggest you turn your “read” off on your texting. It helps.) God forbid someone reads a text and doesn’t respond immediately. Then what? This type of technology has us in a panic, wondering what we did wrong. We don’t take into consideration that the person on the other end of the phone might have looked at their phone while at a red light, or while walking to their next class, or quickly at work, without having the appropriate amount of time to answer the text. We are led to immediately believe that a fight is about to ensue. We become anxious in these situations, and insecure in our relationships, waiting by a phone that never rings.
What happened to courtship? To asking someone on a date and taking them to dinner and a movie? To opening the door for them and holding their hand, and offering them your jacket when they’re cold? To thinking about each other day in and day out until your next date? To drawing hearts on your notebook with his (or her) initials on it? To losing sleep talking on the phone? To going steady? We are in a world where none of this matters. There is no longer intimacy in relationships. We are a generation that is so hung up on updating Facebook, Tweeting our feelings and sending text messages. We’ve confused love with lust and have allowed technology to aid in the downfall of our relationships.
Call me old fashioned, but I miss the way romance used to be. I want deep, meaningful conversations about our future home, our dream weddings, our aspirations, hopes and fears. I want to sit in a cafe with my boyfriend, fiance or husband and share my deepest, darkest secrets, and talk about career goals and our uncertainties of ever attaining them. I want to talk about the places we would love to travel and make plans to do so. I want cold nights wrapped up in bed with nothing but our blankets and our love to keep us warm. I envision falling asleep to the sound of his voice and waking up in the early morning, continuing right where we left off. I want laughter – genuine laughter that comes from a place so pure that no one has managed to touch previously. I imagine spending all Sunday afternoon talking, teasing and joking around, realizing that the joy between us is effortless. I want that kind of love – the kind that used to exist.
Don’t get me wrong – the internet is a wonderful place when used properly. We use it to network, to display our proudest work (ahem, this blog?!) and to keep in touch with people. It’s amazing how far we’ve come with the internet – how we can apply for jobs with the click of a button, and how, without having to memorize an address, we can quickly send out an e-mail to someone we haven’t seen in ages.
But in love and relationships, I think simplicity is best. Technology doesn’t necessary ruin relationships, but allowing social networks and interactions through technology does not help gain romance that once existed. I think in love, we need to go back to the old school roots. I think we need to find ways to keep face-to-face interaction relevant. We need to express our feelings verbally rather than through a text message, video chat, or social media status update. Technology will continue to advance and people will continue to communicate through these media, but relationships will always be healthiest when maintained through physical interactions. So boys (and girls), remember this: love letters will always trump a Facebook inbox, always hold the door for your date, speaking on the phone is always better than sending a text message, and make every attempt at not letting a social network ruin your relationship. Find ways to find that rekindle romance and to find that Old School Love, and your relationship will be more successful than any other that is based on social networks and text arguments.