• We focus a lot on the technology that helps people in the dating game, web sites to find dates, apps that help people hook up, and more. There have been articles recently about technology getting in the way of relationships as well. It’s not that technology and gadgets are good or bad, it’s all a matter of how (and when) you use them.

    Surfing the web, using your phone, even playing games online can help you meet and interact with more people around the world or in your own city or town. Using these technologies can bring you closer to people who may not otherwise meet, and certainly can make it easier to find people with similar interests. A great way to make new friends and find potential mates, they can also get in the way of your current relationships as well.

    A recent poll at a UK web site says that 20 percent of  the women polled had broken up with a boyfriend because of their gaming habits, and excessive gaming had caused arguments with 70% of the women polled. Certainly the women polled in this survey are not a good slice of the entire population, but among internet connected folks, I think it does shed some light on issues about relationships and gaming We have talked a bit about this in previous posts, but now there are more stories with some research that are showing this as an increasing trend.

    forget women - game for virtual points

    forget women - game for virtual points

    Another article we read today has a well written blurb from a girl who writes about her boyfriends new iphone as a mistress that came into their relationship. She hand;ed it well, making room and practicing patience with the time that was being taken from her by the new “third” in their new threeway relationship. I had never seen it this way, but after reading her thoughts about the phone being like a mistress, it made me think, I have probably caused similar feelings in others, and I have felt like this in a way a few times as well.

    I have had similar feelings of missing time with my partner as she spends time on social networks, facebook, myspace, and the little facebook games like farmville and the kitchen thing. These games are addictive, and the added layer of social involvement with other people can make ti seem more like a choice to interact with other people at the expense of spending time with your partner.  I am not the only one who has felt this way apparently, the same UK poll said that “72 per cent of men said they thought their partner spent too much time on the internet, but only six percent saw this as a reason to end the relationship.”

    Some say that all this virtual communication is making it harder to communicate one-to-one or in person. That could be true, and it could also be a tool that is used to communicate more and more effectively with your lover. The past week my girlfriend and I have communicated over IM, many times when we are just 20 feet apart in separate rooms. It was faster and easier to chat with each other this way, and certainly beats yelling to talk to each other. There is however the limitation of voice inflection and the visual cues of body language and seeing the eyes like this, so it is not the best way to communicate, even when technology makes it faster or easier.

    Some quick instant messages are great for little things, but even I am guilty of getting into some deep, important conversations at time through IM. I think we all need to remind ourselves that putting the game, or computer use on pause to make time for a real intimate talk with our lovers is imperative to the success of the relationship.

    Now if you are just playing the field, and dating several people at once, it might only be possible to use technology such as text messages to keep up. I have friend that were in polyamorous, swinging relationships that relied on the tech of multi-texting cell phones to keep schedules in sync with everyone. That makes sense, but they did have some times when the text message did not convey the urgency or emotion in certain situations that were important, and becoming use to or reliant on texting for important relationship discussions can be difficult. I am sure many people have a text or email one way, and without the proper sarcasm or emotion behind the words that was inferred has caused people to read something one way that was meant another.

    Video games ruin lives

    Video games ruin lives

    There are many more examples of tech getting in the way and causing problems in relationships. Many people have been accused of cheating when their partner snoops through text messages on a phone. Sure that may be a way to catch a cheater, but it may also be a recipe for disaster if the text is read out of context.

    A Canadian man was recently accused of cheating, dumped, and kicked out of his house when his girlfriend of 2 1/2 years found racy text messages on his phone, like “booty call” – text messages that he never sent. It’s true, the text messages came with the phone he bought, a Samsung phone from Virgin Mobile. But the damage was already done before he could prove his innocence, their relationship is over. Many blog commenters have said all for the better, even if he proved his innocence and they got back together, she has proven herself to be snoop, and one not to believe his honesty. I always wonder about people who go looking too deep for cheating, or digital lipstick on the collar in texts or emails. Often times the person who is looking or accusing is doing so because they have been unfaithful in some way, and know how easy it is. Sometimes people go looking at the others to make themselves feel better.

    People have had the same issue with emails being read by another, or even web history showing web sites being visited. I had a friend who was ready to divorce her husband when she found a local adult dating site in his browsing history. I explained to her that it could come up there if he was on another web site and got a pop up for any one of the many dating sites that use geo-location to serve up what appears to be a local adult site. Sure it could be a red flag, but it may be nothing more than a pop up. The real red flag may be that you were snooping looking for something in the first place.

    Of course I am not saying that email, social networks and texts are not used for nefarious purposes, I for one think that society as a whole, and couples individually should discuss things that would be consider virtual or emotional cheating. Even if now physical contact is involved, I do believe that a type of cheating can be occurring through text and such. Even if someone does not encourage flirty messages, not stopping them from guys or girls could be cause for strife. I think we wrote a previous post on this. Check the tags at the bottom perhaps.

    Sometimes the social networks cause drama in relationships as well, anything from a new connection to someone of the opposite sex being displayed on your friend feed, a comment to your profile, or even virtual flowers for Valentines day. All of these things have caused serious drama in relationships of friends of mine. I’m sure more examples will come to mind, I hope you will share your examples in the comments below.

    I have been impressed at how many girls have come out and commented that men should find women you game, and understand the gaming lifestyle when someone complains or breaks up with them over it. They do have a point, you certainly need to have things in common, and if someone is trying to get you join in their knitting and all you want to do is game, then maybe you should part ways and find someone who will sit next to you with a headset on and frag enemies at the same time. You may need two TVs in the living room, but it sure beats getting kicked to the curb because you are really into your hobby.

    Of course with many things in life, including sex and food, there is a fine line between healthy gaming, internet and phone use. If you truly are in the gaming or tech addiction, then you may need to seek help. It’s tough to diagnose, but easy to fall into it. With so many great games, and tons of information available 24/7, and portable connected devices  (people don’t call them crackberries for no reason) – how do you measure gaming addiction? Keeping records of how much time you spend online may help you to see. Of course you could also find someone else who is an addict. Recent studies show 1 in 10 of America’s youth is addicted to gaming. There are more and more women getting into gaming these days. If you can’t find one, at least you will have your virtual companions to keep you from getting lonely, and you can also buy a robot companion for the lonely guy without a girlfriend, from SEGA for around $175 – that’s much cheaper than a real world GF, and it will never nag you to come to bed and turn the PS3 or Xbox off.

    Robot companions

    Robot companions

    Tech is good for making connections, but it can also get in the way. We all need to be more aware of the time we are putting in with our partners in real life, and sometimes put the virtual world on pause. I think we all also need to communicate to our partners when we need some time, and plan ahead of time, with things like “Hey, I’d like to talk to you, think you can find a place to pause in the next 20 minutes?” – some problems can lead us to find new solutions that will actually make things better for everyone, this is one of them.

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    Posted by Steven @ 5:03 pm for Breaking Up, Cheating, Dating Technology |

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