Social, relationship contraceptives: A communication breakdown
Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 01:02
Over the seems-so-distant-now holiday break, I was fortunate enough to reconnect with family members I rarely see. Of them was one of my closest friends and pen pal, my 91 year-old grandmother. We enjoyed frequent conversations together, which included her personal secrets to a fulfilling and happy life. The banter that enthralled me most compared relationship characteristics between her generation and mine.
To the naked eye, dating may have seemed more difficult, technical and tiresome for our parents and past cohorts. However, it made them more reliable as people, stronger as a couple and more emotionally resilient.
I understand practices and courtesies shift and change frequently from one generation to another. Goodness, a hundred years ago marijuana, heroin and morphine were all readily available at local drug stores. The average speed limit in most cities was 10 miles per hour.
According to YPulse columnist Christopher Walcott, it used to be common practice for a man to date a woman only if they had been formally introduced and the man had been properly introduced to her family. It would be senseless for me to jump to a rash inference by saying everyone should practice ancient, conventional ways of dating.
Nevertheless, two things were nonexistent a century ago that play a pivotal role in the majority of relationships today: the Internet and text messages. With the assistance of these two services, many relationships quickly escalate into a cyclone of possession and obsession.
In theory, there is no need to spend any face-to-face time together — besides maybe engaging in sexual intercourse. I’ve witnessed people feel discomfort, paranoia and intense agony when their significant other goes an hour without texting them. They begin to experience some sort of delirium and increased aggression when the whereabouts of their partner are unknown.
Recent studies by Dr. James Roberts, of Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, indicate the average young adult sends about 110 text messages daily and checks their phone around 60 times per day. It seems to me these actions are quickly trending in the direction of an uncontrollable addiction.
One hundred years ago, people had to make more of an effort in order to see someone they truly care about. I can hardly imagine my grandmother Tweeting at my grandfather from the mounted rotary phone in the kitchen. Interactions between couples seem more sincere, romantic and personal in past generations. In our generation, real communication comes second to constant technological exchanges. In the past, when you truly missed someone you couldn’t have the instant satisfaction of texting them your every thought.
These ever-expanding options of computer communication are more of a hindrance than they seem at face value. It is social and relationship contraception. Constantly communicating over text messages, Facebook IMs or Tweets will prove to be unhealthy and detrimental to a fully functional relationship.
This everyday, extremely blase form of communication is robbing you — and your date — a wealth of information about each other that will keep you close. The more you know, the better your courtship will become. Though there may be a rapid increase in communication, the affection required to maintain an effective relationship is lost in a sea of LOLs and insecurities.
Kyle Hart is a senior in psychology. The opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Barometer staff. Hart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.