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Modern Love: How Technology Affects Our Relationships

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Love … back in your parents’ day, the dating arena seemed peachy keen - simply being single, “going steady” or getting married seemed easy enough. Flash forward to 2018 and add smartphones, dating apps and unspoken phone etiquette to the mix, and a lot changes.

Because so much of our dating technology is so new, we’re now in a new era of relationships - an era that leaves many of us feeling quite confused. After surveying 1,000 smartphone owners on the topic, our Puls team learned a lot about love in the time of smartphones.

Yet we still had many unanswered questions about modern love. Is it okay to take selfies on a date? What does it mean if you look at other dating apps while out on a Tinder date?

We discussed modern love with relationship expert Winifred M. Reilly (M.A., L.M.F.T.), a renowned marriage and family therapist and author of the book It Takes One to Tango, to gain some insight on how technology affects our relationships.


Puls Insight #1

Face-to-face communication may be the key to a happy marriage!

Puls dating insights image 1

Among married people who are “thrilled” with their marriage, just 37% wish their partner was on the phone less.

On the contrary, 67% of unhappily married people wish their partner were on the phone less. 74% of these individuals said looking at a phone or tablet during conversation was their main technology pet peeve.


According to Winifred M. Reilly, there are several steps you can take to combat this issue

technology affects relationships



Puls Insight #2

The phone is the new safety blanket for young and/or single people!

technology affects relationships image 3

80% of people under the age of 24 sleep with their phone at night versus 25% of people age 55 and older. Singles of all ages are also more likely to have slept with a device in their bed at some point over the past month (61% versus just 35% of married people).

According to Reilly, “Many [of us] check email at all hours, thinking it helps to stay on top of things. As a result we never stop working, we never relax. I believe sleeping with your phone gives an illusion of being connected.”

She noted that “It makes sense that those of us who didn’t grow up with technology are less inclined to sleep with our devices. We don’t need or expect an instant response to a text or an email because we spent much of our lives waiting for the mail [or a phone call]. Still, we’re not immune by any means to technology overuse.”


Puls Insight #3

Men are more than twice as likely to be annoyed by excessive selfie taking on a date

technology affects relationships selfie

However,  men are 10x more likely to check the status of a game during a date. Hypocritical much?

According to Winifred, phones are a big no-no on a date. “Basic phone etiquette: phones off on a date. Not buzzing away in your coat pocket. Not on the table. Doesn’t matter if this is the first day or you’ve been together for 45 years. A date is a ‘we’ experience, a time to connect, listen, make eye contact.”

As hard as it might be, try your best to turn off your phone - especially on a first date. It can make a tremendous difference and facilitate creation of intimacy.


Puls Insight #4

People who are open to sharing their phone passcode are typically happier with their romantic lives  

man and woman with phone. how technology affects your relationship

36% of happy singles and 25% of married people who are “thrilled” with their romantic lives believe in handing over phone passcode “immediately.”

On the contrary, single and married individuals who lead unhappy or miserable romantic lives are also far more likely to express a reluctance to share a phone passcode.

Another way in which technology affects relationships? Less than 3% of unhappy or miserable singles and 8% of unhappy/miserable married people said they would hand over a passcode immediately after beginning a relationship.

Reilly noted that, “transparency is crucial under all conditions … there’s a big difference between privacy and secrecy. When there’s been a breach of trust, willingly sharing passwords sends a clear message that the partner has nothing to hide.”


Puls Insight #5

Happy singles are the most likely to be checking out other singles while on a date

technology affects relationships image 4

While the majority of smartphone owners  surveyed did not admit to using a phone during a date, and even fewer admitted to using dating apps while on a date, there was one exception — 20% of happy singles admitted to using dating apps while on a date with another individual.

According to Reilly, “Dating apps can be like shopping for ‘stuff’ on Amazon— as if people are a commodity. I’ve heard people say that when they’re on a very bad date, and the date is in the restroom, they take comfort in confirming that there are other good options out there.”

Thus, even though you’re not alone, the nice thing to do would be to try to avoid doing this - unless your date is really unbearable.


Puls is there for your tech romance

No matter the specific circumstance, there’s no way around it: technology affects our relationships, and plays a very large role in our romantic lives. Yet while technology is as prevalent as ever, it certainly can lead to confusion, as we set the rules for our modern phone etiquette standards.

Nevertheless, regardless of if you’re happily married or simply swiping through dating apps - Puls is there when you need it for all your technology needs. This Valentines day, don’t swipe right with a broken screen, or get in a fight because of your partner’s ineptitude at tv mounting. Book an appointment with Puls  for all your digital needs, including phone repair, TV mounting and smart home setup. We’re always here to keep the pulse of your digital heart beating steadily.

Natalie H.
Natalie Hoke is a writer and content manager at Puls. She is passionate about discovering the latest trends in home technology and using humor to tell a great story. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering, travel, cooking (and eating) vegetarian food, and performing stand-up comedy.
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