The First Impression

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Is Technology Ruining Romance?

The perils of dating in a digital world.

So to the women out there, how many of you keep the old letters or poems written to you by former lovers? Oh yeah, that's right, if you are in the 25 or under crowd, you've grown up in a digital age when you have probably never needed to walk into a post office, let alone received a handwritten letter from a potential suitor. Following a flame on Twitter, checking his status update or saving that drunken text message he sent late at night that may, or may not, have been meant for you and ended with a semi-colon that you assume was meant to be a flirty wink is also probably the closest you may get to poetry. In reflecting upon my own dating status, it was right around the time I realized I have been asked out one too many times over text message that I wondered: Is technology ruining romance?

There used to be a time in dating when communicating between seeing one another took the form of hushed phone conversations or even transatlantic letters and post cards, when plans had to be made in advance and stuck to because there was no quick or immediate way to reach the other person, when absence had the potential to really make the heart grow fonder because when someone was out of town, he was really out of town.

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There used to be a mystery behind getting to know the other person, effort behind learning about one's history and likes and dislikes, rather than the simple click that comes with a Google search or the pervasive Facebook stalking. As one writer muses regarding the perils that technology has introduced to the already treacherous landscape of dating, he writes: "It's [Facebook stalking] a gateway to a world of uncomfortable questions. Who's that girl with her arm around him in all the pictures? Does she really think an obviously posed profile photo of herself wearing a kimono looking sultry was a good idea? Has he Photoshopped himself into that picture to make it look like he has friends?" (Chivers, 2010, para 7.)

Indeed, experts have asserted that technology has completely degraded what constitutes romance today (Heussner, 2010). Perhaps it isn't surprising to hear that a survey conducted in Britain found that 62 percent of respondents reported that they had never sent a love letter (Adams, 2009). Despite the ways that technology may be eroding romance today, this doesn't mean that our preferences are changing to match the modern age. For instance, the same study reported that 70 percent of women would rather receive a poem or a love letter than some form of digital communication from a significant other, with the majority of males surveyed (53 percent) concurring (Adams, 2009).

So the next time you find yourself busy but wanting to let your honey know you are thinking of him in the middle of the day, perhaps refrain from that quickie text (‘I Luv U') and consider jotting down a more thoughtful and grammatically correct note by hand; place it somewhere visible for him to find at a later time. And who knows, today a quick post-it expressing your love, tomorrow perhaps, you may even progress to a full-on love letter or sonnet.

And for those of you who find yourselves scratching your heads and wondering "what's a sonnet?" I offer my deepest sympathies to your mates, and suggest a quick Internet search of an old chap by the name of Shakespeare.

Adams, S. (2009, February 9). Valentine's Day: Technology ‘is killing romance'. The Telegraph. Retrieved on September 17, 2011 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/4568243/Valentines-Day... .

Chivers, T (2011, September 18, 2011). How Technology has Changed Dating. The Telegraph. Retrieved on September 17, 2011 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/relationships/7165295/How-technology-h... .

Heussner, K.M. (2010, March 13). Is Technology Taking its Toll on our Relationships? Technology Review. Retrieved on September 17, 2011 http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2010/03/is-technology-taki... .

 
Copyright 2011 Azadeh Aalai

 

Azadeh Aalai, PhD, is a Tenure-Track, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Queensborough Community College in New York.

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