How Technology Affects Romantic Relationships During a Pandemic

Virtual Hindrance to a Physical Bond

The global pandemic forced people into staying at home and distancing themselves from others. Some people were separated from their loved ones, while others were stuck with each other for a long time. Having too much distance between couples, as in long-distance relationships, can cause emotional gaps, while having too little distance, as in couples stuck together during the lockdown, can open a wide array of things to fight about.

And as the pandemic continued, many of us turned to our computer screens to keep ourselves busy. This increase in technology usage created a new kind of distance between couples, which explains why there was a rise in the number of people visiting relationship advice blogs and divorce attorney websites during this pandemic.

These are some possible explanations for how technology became a barrier between couples, especially during the pandemic.

1. Poor transmission of feelings

Long-distance relationships have always relied on virtual communication, but COVID-19 forced some couples to stay further apart and pushed them to chat online instead of in person. Conversing with partners through texts and calls is a positive innovation, but not seeing all social cues like when talking face-to-face can change the interaction between couples.

Written communication, such as texting and messaging, has the disadvantage of impersonality and possible miscommunication. Couples who rely on typing down their conversations cannot fully receive the emotions of their partners. Some even badly misunderstand certain phrases that are meant to be words of endearment. Others rely on making audio and video calls, which can be better than sending written messages, but it still lacks the personal and physical contact needed to maintain a relationship.

2. Time lost on the Internet

Having access to technology has its drawbacks. We can easily go down a rabbit hole of very entertaining chains of photos and videos posted on social media sites. Video games are also finding more ways to attract and trap people in their fantastic virtual worlds. Some people even frequent pornographic sites for hours on end.

But spending too much time on our screens takes away from the time we could have spent instead with our loved ones. We become escapists substituting the digital world for our messier physical lives. This causes rifts in romantic relationships that greatly benefit from spending time doing things in each other’s company.

The shift to home-based digital jobs also made couples spend less time with each other. Not having clear work hours encouraged some people to work longer, thus leaving them with less time and interaction for their partners. Intimacy can quickly disappear, and the relationship may crack under slight pressure.

3. Spending on gadgets and online shopping

Many couples find themselves fighting over money. With the increased need to be in touch with the Internet, people purchase more updated yet more expensive devices for a better digital experience. This spending is worsened by the prevalence of online shops where everything we can ever want (but not need) is delivered right to our doorsteps at the tap of a finger. These kinds of random purchases may be small at first but can quickly turn into an impulsive shopping addiction.

Unnecessary spending will always tend to ruin relationships. It can disturb money saved for more important things like bills, repairs, and other emergencies. It can slowly build a mountain of debt that one cannot compensate for.

4. Pressure from social media

Social media can negatively affect one’s self-image. Being exposed to only the positive aspects of other people’s lives, we are compelled to think that our lives are inferior to theirs. This kind of thinking can lead to anxiety and depression, which can take a toll on a person’s relationships.

The other side of this leads to a need to create our own social media facade. Trying to keep up with other people’s seemingly perfect lives will exhaust time and energy, which at some point can develop into an unhealthy obsession.

5. Cyber-cheating

The prevalence of social media also contributed to failed relationships. Having the capacity to talk with anyone anytime, even strangers from anywhere in the world, opens a network of communication that can quickly make a relationship go sour. Cyber infidelity is now a common occurrence where a person in a relationship engages in sexting and flirting with other people online. Such actions can ruin a relationship that needs to be built on love and trust.

But even having only suspicions of your partner cheating with another person on the Internet can incapacitate a perfect working relationship.

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