Pixelated Love: Modern couples wrestle over the need for constant communication

In Columns, Features
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Today, couples find themselves with the ability to communicate constantly, which can delight some and displease others.
(Nolan Motis / Daily Titan)

Technology has made it possible for modern couples to be in constant communication. We wake up in the morning and check our texts, emails, Snapchats, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter feeds. Lather, rinse, repeat as needed throughout the rest of the day. We’re constantly plugged in.

But when it comes to romantic relationships, should we stay in constant contact just because we can?

The answers I’ve received to this question have ranged from a grumbling, “Well, according to my girlfriend, we should,” to a, “Sometimes I don’t text my boyfriend all week, and we just catch up when I see him on the weekend.”

To me, the ability to immediately contact our partners over any minor issue within the relationship is one of the biggest negatives when it comes to technology-based communication. It doesn’t allow for a time buffer that we can use to put things into perspective, take a deep breath or sleep on it. It’s like a 24-hour news cycle. We can update our partners on every emotion, every time they irritate us and every fleeting insecurity we have about the relationship.

There are all sorts of ways that we try to navigate this issue. There are websites dedicated to what sort of texts to send and how often to send them so that significant others feel cared about, but not clung to.

It’s romantic to imagine getting “good morning” and “good night” texts from a loved one, but it’s more complicated than that. 

Some believe that such availability should be taken advantage of. How nice is it to be able to update your beloved on what exactly you ate for lunch? Or, be able to hear a song on the radio and immediately tell your partner how much it reminded you of your first date? We have the technology that past generations only dreamed of, why shouldn’t we take advantage of it?  

“She can talk to me, so the only reason that she wouldn’t is because she doesn’t want to,” the worried boyfriend reasons.

On the other, more cynical, and perhaps more realistic, side of the debate is the thought of how the hell are two people, no matter how in love they are, supposed to keep up a meaningful conversation 24/7?

“I’m just doing laundry! He doesn’t need to know that, and we don’t need to talk about it. I’ll give him a call when something actually happens, or at the end of the day,” the less sentimental girlfriend reasons.

With the advancement of technology making perpetual conversation possible, it seems like we might have gotten more than we bargained for. Granted with the means to be in constant communication, we feel like we must use these means to the fullest extent. We find ourselves forced to wonder whether it is worth it to have a relationship with someone that we don’t want to spend every spare moment talking to.

It’s a problem that history’s greatest loves never had to face, but the fact that so many great loves (all the ones that could reasonably be classified as “lasting”) were forged before the dawn of the cell phone is comforting, in a way. Love has remained the same even if technology hasn’t. What it seems to come down to is “whatever floats your boat.” If one couple is happy together going days without texting, and another is truly happiest exchanging constant updates about meals and mishaps and moment after moment, who’s to say one or the other is better?

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