How to connect with a screen between you
There’s no debate that mobile internet has changed the face of society. People are spending more time online than ever before. Dating, in particular, seems to have changed a lot — a recent survey of 14,000 brides showed that 14% of them found their relationships through dating and hookup apps. There is some evidence to show that our digital dependence has had a negative impact on relationship intimacy, but the fact is that technology isn’t going to slow down, and neither are our lives. So how does one go about building real relationships in a world where our interaction with other people is often relegated to how many “likes” our posts get?
The first step to moving toward better online dating is to clarify that relationships built online can be just as fulfilling as ones that start in the “meatspace” of daily life. If an online relationship is nurtured properly, it can still lead to plenty of intimate interaction. Relationships built online tend to lead to marriage more quickly. In fact, it may actually favor closeness due to humans’ habit of lowering our inhibitions online. But not every online interaction serves our personal intimacy needs — experts say that it’s the quality of our online social lives that really matters.
So what qualities should we be focusing on in our online dating lives? Emotional and intellectual intimacy is the key to building meaningful relationships, on and offline. Sharing details about your daily lives, checking up on one another, and having meaningful discussions — in short, actually caring about one another — are all ways to forge a strong connection. The same things we seek in the physical world are the ones we should be seeking in the digital one.
The digital age allows for us to communicate in immediate ways that were never afforded to us before. If we utilize them properly, we can form bonds with people that were far less possible before we were able to connect at the touch of a button. Some ways to do this sound obvious, but are incredibly important to keep up on. An article on long distance relationships by therapist Robert Navarra in the US News states, “Part of intimacy involves knowing the details of the other person’s daily life, big and small, because you’re that important to each other… The more a couple knows and appreciates each other, the stronger and healthier they are.”
Whether you meet on a dating site across thousands of miles or just chat online occasionally, the internet affords us new opportunities and methods to bond with one another if we make the effort to connect. Take the time to message your partner about anything and everything. Play an online game with them. Text them a sexy thought you had or tell them about your rough day. Watch porn together. Appreciate their lives by listening and asking questions. “Share your worlds with each other in all of their interesting, mundane, and complicated glory. Be present. Know each other deeply, and always keep learning.”
Condliffe, Jamie. (2018, Jan 18) The Average American Spends 24 Hours a Week Online. https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/610045/the-average-american-spends-24-hours-a-week-online/
Lisitsa, Ellie. (2017, Feb 6). The Digital Age: Long-Distance Relationships. www.gottman.com/blog/long-distance-relationships/
Lisitsa, Ellie. (2018, July 16). The Digital Age: Building Intimacy. www.gottman.com/blog/the-digital-age-building-intimacy/
Ni, Preston. (2012, Sept 3). How to Enhance Closeness in Your Relationship. www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/communication-success/201209/how-enhance-closeness-in-your-relationship
Rosenfeld, Michael J. (2017, Sept 18). Marriage, Choice, and Couplehood in the Age of the Internet. https://www.sociologicalscience.com/articles-v4-20-490/
Ross, Sophie (n.d.) This Is the Average Engagement Ring Spend in 2017 https://www.theknot.com/content/the-knot-2017-jewelry-and-engagement-study