Social media can help to strengthen our relationships

Although dating in the information age is one thing, its impact on pre-existing relationships is another game entirely. Snapchat, Instagram and others have created a uniquely 21st century style of love. But is it good for us? Our instinctive, knee-jerk reaction is to say no. Of course not! Couples should be spending more time together instead of on their phones, and constant messaging is an unhealthy habit. Despite degrees of legitimacy to these fears, there is a reductive ‘kids these days’ tone overriding any chance of debate. Technology has undeniable benefits in other areas of life; relationships may just be more uncharted territory.
There is no doubt that features of instant communication can exacerbate issues in relationships, specifically the green-eyed monster. Jealousy is painful at the best of times, and jealousy in an age where there are any number of apps and websites enabling unfaithful behaviour is crippling.
From serious cheating websites such as Ashley Madison to Facebook’s dubious ‘secret conversations’ feature, to even the unfortunate typo of ‘abby’ when typing ‘baby’, the tensions are ramped up like never before.
And the paranoia that comes with such intense fears are also aided and abetted: Snapchat’s troubling Snap Maps feature allows for the spying (or stalking) of any contact on the app.
However, despite these features, it is not impossible to have a healthy and honest relationship in our times. Paranoia, mistrust and jealousy are symptoms of toxic relationships, not modern ones. To equate the two is a lazy mistake. Healthy relationships are very much possible, and can even be benefitted by modern technology.
After all, we are living in an age where communication is possible with a swipe of a phone screen. The ease of contact in modern times not only makes it simpler than ever for couples to stay in touch during the day: it permits remote relationships like never before.
Today is the day of long distance love! Instant messaging, video calls and picture messaging join the array of options for parted paramours. And, for the old fashioned at heart among us, let’s not forget that the more romantic options are still available.
Love letters have not gone away, especially not for love-struck hipsters seeking to do something ‘a bit different’. Our present day options do not replace the old methods of communication, they only add to them. Even though the option to text is there, there is nothing like a good old-fashioned phone call to brighten someone’s day.
Relationships are going to carry on regardless of the difficulty or ease technology brings. Love is a force that will not be tempered by any combination of 1s and 0s. Besides, it’s not like modern lovers have any choice in the matter.
Sure, you could opt out of the information age and delete your Facebook, get rid of your phone and enjoy the silence. Just like you could opt out of capitalism and go to live in the woods, hunting your own food and praying for mild winters. It’s an empowering idea, in theory, but are you going to do it? Probably not.
We must keep evolving with the times and making the most of our age and its benefits. Remembering to use technology to aid us and not forget our humanity along the way is the best we really can do.

Image: StruffelProductions via Pixabay

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