'I Love You' In the Digital Age
A new study shows that technology is dehumanizing relationships. And this is news?
According to a report called The Psychology of SMS, women are more likely to say "I love you" via text message. I’ll be the first to say that I’m addicted to texting. But when I met my husband, I didn’t really text as much as I do now. So, of course, our first “I love you”s were the face-to-face kind. We argue about who said it first (it was me), but it was definitely an in-person proclamation.
When I read about this study, I wasn’t surprised at all. But as a true romantic (not a hopeless one; a hopeful one!), I was saddened. Mainly because I know that digital communication is well on its way toward replacing genuine, heart-thumping, palm-sweating human love interaction. I can remember long phone calls with my high school boyfriend. I lived for nights when I’d stay up past midnight, chatting with him about everything under the sun, hanging onto his every word. My kids will probably live this experience via IMs and text messages, typed at about 200 wpm! What’s the heart-thumping, adrenaline-pumping pleasure in that? I can see setting up plans or sharing gossip via text, but saying “I love you?” It can’t possibly have the same impact when you’re reading it for the first time on your PDA (pun intended).
What do you think about the trend toward professing your love via text: upsetting or inevitable?
More from The Nest:
I think ALL electronic communication, though it may come in handy, is having a profound effect
on society at large. It isn't even about saying I love you face to face. It is about hearing and understanding what someone is saying, the depth of their feelings and taking the time to do that by hearing it conveyed by the tone of their voice or by the look on their face. There have been several instances in my own familly where brother and sister or uncle and niece have had conversation via Facebook or IM and have totally misunderstood what the other one meant. Had they been able to see the other person in the flesh, they might have realized one was making a joke or meant their remarks to be taken in a different context. Some of these loving family members are not corresponding to this date, over nothing. No sight, no sound, no anything human. Very sad.This great new wonder of an electronic world will not go away. The best we can do is take the time to call one another or drop an old fashioned letter to each other now and then. I will never believe that people do not need or crave human attention, something which can not be gotten via a computer/cell phone/gadget.
I recently came across the box of love letters my father wrote my mother when they were courting. Such beautiful heart-felt expressions of the rush of young love and the hopes and plans for the future. People addicted to electronic devices will not only never know the full impact of true heart-felt emotions, but will have nothing to look back on someday.
Life is not all about what's happening this second, sometimes it's what came before us as well. Not only is an electronic device impersonal, but it is a filter from true emotion and is de-sensitizing a whole generation from the impact their words, actions and images have to others.
How sad! Not to be able to look into each other's eyes when you say those most important words. But then the art of conversation itself will probably be eliminated in l0 years.
Nothing about being a human being today remotely resembles what it meant to be one just 200 years ago. We're all, despite having the technology to connect with one another more readily than ever before, more detached from each other than at any time in our species' history. We're cynical. We're surrounded by duplicity and coldness, and so we begin to think that this is the norm.
Those of us who still value love - the emotion, not the concept - are considered strange, corny, old fashioned. Commitment is a flexible concept today. Loyalty means nothing. It's a concept for fictional characters in a video game or a movie. Real people don't expect other real people to ACTUALLY "love" them. That's just ridiculous now. It's actually frowned upon if anything because surely that kind of antiquated thinking and feeling is just a sign of something being wrong with you.
So the distance that texting gives people feels naturally inviting. It allows them to play out the detached fantasy of love in a world where surely that's all there is. Face to face is too real, and that's somehow not natural or normal anymore.
In a word, it's heartbreaking.