Computers and smartphones have become an integral part of today’s romantic relationships. We text about our day, post date night pictures on Instagram, and Netflix and chill when we want to stay home.
Although recent technological advances provide numerous options to stay in touch with our partners, time spent on devices is also a source of tension in many relationships. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 18% of 18-29-year-olds have argued with a significant other about the amount of time one of them spent online, and 42% said their partner has been distracted by their cell phone.
To guard against these types of relationship problems, couples should negotiate some ground rules for using technology.
Not Everything Should be Posted
For many couples, getting engaged is such an exciting event they want to post pictures of everything from the proposal to the wedding. Although it may be tempting to share it all, some experiences may be more special because you were in the moment instead of documenting it. Also, be mindful that your fiancé may not want to see the chronicles of their life in your feed. When in doubt, ask before you post.
Another reason to be careful about what you post is that employers often check social media when evaluating prospective employees. That picture of your drunken fiancé might not be so funny if it stands in the way of a great new job.
To Share or Not to Share Passwords
According to the Pew Research Center’s study, two-thirds of internet users who are married or in a committed relationship have shared passwords to one or more online accounts. If you and your partner agree on this approach, it may alleviate some concerns about time spent on the phone and computer. On the other hand, you may believe that the level of trust in your relationship makes password sharing unnecessary.
One factor that may impact the password decision is your policy on connections with exes. If, for example, you choose to friend or follow exes, your partner may feel more comfortable knowing your passwords. Whatever choice you make, the key is to be sure about the decision. Once you give your partner access to your phone or social media accounts, it will surely raise a red flag if you later change your mind.
Take Time to Unplug
While it’s essential to determine your guidelines for using technology, it’s just as important to decide when you’ll put down your phones and focus on each other. Depending on schedules, you may want to spend some tech-free time together before work, over dinner or at bedtime.
Additionally, there are two instances when your partner should absolutely receive your undivided attention. No matter how long your lovemaking lasts, it’s not a time to check your phone (a habit 10% of people have). Another time you need to shut down your devices is when your partner needs you. If he or she has experienced a loss, a disappointment at work, or is upset with a friend or family member, you need to be fully present to listen and provide support.
Ultimately, for all the relationship challenges it can create, technology works best when we use it to stay connected to our partner.
Style Me Pretty Contributor – Paula Holt is a marriage educator living in Chicago. She is a self-described podcast junkie who enjoys going to restaurants with her family and singing loudly in her car.
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