Digital Love


digital love

A gentleman pulls up to a house in the early evening. He steps out of his car, walks up the garden path and knocks on the door. It is opened by a lady who warmly smiles and greets him with a simple: “Hello.” As they walk towards his car, he opens the passenger door for her and she sits down. They take a scenic route to a restaurant where they have reserved a table. Conversation flows for a couple of hours. They have dinner and after dessert, the gentleman pays and drops her home.

This sounds like a scene from a black-and-white film, but let’s be real – this sort of date is practically dead. These days I’m more likely to receive a badly written message on LinkedIn saying: “Do you have the Whatsapp or Gmail?”  than a modern Clark Gable turn up with a bunch of flowers at my doorstep. And yes, the LinkedIn thing happens to me far more than I would like it to.

Technology has turned the dating world on its head; we are inundated with opportunities to “get to know someone” (if you know what I mean). We now have an innumerable amount of online dating websites, chatrooms and dating apps. We can even sext and send racy messages to people that have taken our digital fancy without really knowing them. This is all well and good. But, the one thing such mediums have in common, is the lack of face-to-face interaction. The thing that is fundamental when building a relationship.

If you’re a millenial (born between 1983-2000) you’ll quickly reach the realisation that much of your adult life and love life has been attached to a mobile phone. Instead of “dating” someone, we’re more likely to say: “I’m just seeing so-and-so” or “I just hooked up with so-and-so” to the over used: “We just hang out.” Whilst this sounds incredibly modern, it’s also very vague and annoying. This ambiguity leaves room for people to get confused about the state of whatever it is that they’re involved in. Are you really single or involved in some weird way?

Are modern relationships ‘healthy?’

The fact that modern relationships have so much ambiguity attached to them implies that many of us have become responsibility dodgers. Let’s be honest: having your eye on multiple digital hotties doesn’t require as much energy or responsibility as a face-to-face relationship does.  concerned

According to social psychologist Ben Voyer, he warns that while texting and online messaging are perceived to be easier than face-to-face contact or a telephone conversation, in the medium to long term they can make things more difficult. Again: was that a date or another hook up? The difficulty with modern relationships is that most of it is through a screen. There’s a million and one reasons as to how and why this is unhealthy.

Firstly, the ambiguity. Secondly, our imagination begins to take over and we begin to fantasise about that person. Digital Dave is ripped, intelligent, outgoing, adventurous and sexy. But Real Life Dave isn’t the sharpest tool in the box, is an introvert and hates the gym. It’s that element of fantasy which draws people in, but it also has a crippling effect on their personal outlook and relationship management.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

With everything, there’s positives and negatives. This definitely applies to modern relationships and dating. Whilst I’ve personally had a largely negative experience of online dating, I know some people who have met the love of their life over the Internet. (Lucky cows!) But in all seriousness, if I see one more dodgy message on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or through my emails I shall thunder punch you!

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10 thoughts on “Digital Love

  1. Always an enjoyable read Chaiyya and this is no exception. One challenge for you. It is not true that face-to-face contact is fundamental for building a relationship. Relationships are built on stimuli and feedback, and whilst body language is very helpful for this synchronous communication it is possible to achieve it through asynchronous digital means. With the improvement of remote synchronous communication technology, this will become increasingly so. There are many stories of people being in love being separated by distance, such as when one of them is in prison.

    Physical contact is necessary for fulfilment of the basic desire to procreate, this is only fundamental for a little while longer. Many futurologists believe that we’ll be able to procreate remotely by the end of the 21st century. So the idea of needing to couple up to reproduce will be looked upon by our great grandchildren as an ancient (and possibly disgusting) practice. Personally I think that’s pretty good, but I know most people will find that quite frightening.

    Until next time 🙂 Keep up the great work, and if you don’t find Mr. Right, don’t worry too much, you don’t need him anyway 🙂

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    • Thanks for reading Ravi and for your comment. You know, your point about those who maintain relationships with prisoners is one I hadn’t considered. Good point!
      I personally feel that face-to-face is important in a relationship, but when it comes to issues of the heart, things tend to become a bit complicated (naturally!).

      Oh gosh that’s innovative but scary – remote procreation – as with most things, I can only hope that it seeks to improve and better society, and hopefully not be misused.
      Lol I’m not so bothered about finding Mr Right at this moment in time; he can find his own way towards me 😀

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  2. So, um, I liked this post and thought you might like to, um, hit me up, is that what the kids are saying these days? no? well, anyway, was wondering if you’d like to, um, well if the kids don’t say ‘hit me up’ then what do they say? Poke me? Yes, poke me! So yea, I, um, liked this post and thought you might like to poke me (or hit me up…? Ah man, I dunno!) on Facespace, or MyBook or one of them social media thingies… Yea!

    I jest, of course.

    Seriously, I was thinking about and then talking about similar topic to this with my sister the other day, and as a result of the conversation I realised that I am definitely officially old now, as I have reached the age where I’m telling my sister over and over again that when we were kids life was so much more interesting. Even dating. I remember when before going out clubbing or drinking you made sure you packed a pen and a bit of paper in case a girl wanted to give you her number at the end of the night. Her landline number! And then you’d have to pluck up the courage to ring her, you’d get your mate to come along, you’d call her from a phonebox and cross your fingers hoping that a) She answers, and you don’t have to leave a message with her mum or family member… And b) that she hadn’t given you a moody number! The good old days!

    I’ve never done the internet dating thing, but the idea of it makes me quite uncomfortable. It just doesn’t seem natural to me, and yea I know the world’s a different place, etc.. And that things that don’t seem natural to me will seem perfectly natural and normal to my nephew and nieces, and even my other sister who is 10 years younger and who grew up in this ‘digital age’, but yea, I’ve forgotten what my exact point is… I think it is that despite all this technology and how it may have made life easier in so many ways, I still get nostalgic and wish things were as they were in the second half of the 90s, when I was coming of age. I don’t think the youth of today will ever have the every day excitement of just life that we and those before us had.

    I’m not even gonna read this comment back as I don’t want to remind myself yet further of the reality that I have turned into an old man.

    Great post though, enjoyed reading it. It’s definitely got me thinking. Thanks!

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    • haha! Your comment made me laugh so much! Yes, you liking my post has a much deeper meaning (joking!). I vaguely remember the old-school dates where you’d get to know someone in person as a friend, and then let it develop (or not in my cases) into something.
      I agree, whilst technology has been great, it’s also had a serious knock on effect with regards to how we view relationship management. I mean, unfollowing someone on Instagram or Twitter evokes such an emotional reaction with people.
      You’re not an old man; spring chicken forever! 🙂 And thanks for reading my post 😀

      Like

      • Instagram? What’s that when it’s at home? No reply necessary, I’ll Google it! 🙂 Speaking of ‘Googling it’, that’s one thing I do not miss about the non-digital age. Every night when you’d be lying in bed, trying to relax, and you’d start thinking about something but then you’d have an unanswered question in your head. Being able to go from thinking about something random and obscure, let’s for example say you can’t for the life of you stop wondering just how grammatically similar Swedish is to Norwegian (a cliche problem, I know!), to a couple of minutes later when you’re still in the comfort of your bed but instead of not being able to sleep because you’re thinking too much about the original question you had, you’re now opening new tabs and delving into a seemingly endless supply of sources, and answering any question your brain can muster….

        1990s – Insomnia caused by an over curious mind whose thirst can’t be quenched.
        2010s – Insomnia caused by not being able to stop reading useless information on the net.

        I think the latter is definitely the lesser of two evils.

        Also, how in the 90s would I have been able to, at 2 in the morning, tell someone that I’ve never met before that my annoying brain decides to wait until my body wants to sleep before it starts asking completely irrelevant questions regarding such things as grammatical differences between two Scandinavian languages? I mean, I could always have just dialled a random number and hoped someone picked up their phone and then listened to me tell them, but there was probably some sort of law against that sort of phone call, even in the dark old days. At best it would be considered bad etiquette… 🙂

        It is indeed a ridiculous age we live in and it’s only gonna get more and more ridiculous. All we can do is try and just about keep up.

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  3. The digital age and all it’s glory…maybe not. A thought bending post and so very much spot on. Also very concur with comments by Kris Mole, this young generation will just never know the challenges (and excitement) of dating in the good old days. Face to face contact is critical when dating and to maintain a long term successful relationship. A majority of ppl online today glorify themselves and they only turn out to be a damp squid in the end.

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    • Thanks for reading the post! 😀 I agree, Kris made some really good points that made me think about things before and how they are now.
      I agree, personally, face-to-face is so important in dating. However, Ravi made an extremely valid point which I didn’t consider about those who form long distance relationships without seeing their loved one’s face – prisoners.

      Oh gosh yes! The excitement and hype eventually dies down and sadly it ends with disappointment. Damp squid – adding that my never-ending list of phrases! 😀

      Like

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