Love and Technology
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary identifies love as “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person.” It’s still an up-to-date definition, yet technological revolution has made this concept much more complicated. Undoubtedly, the way we find, maintain and destroy love is changed. But there are still such things as the need to communicate, intimacy, partnership, and family. And it’s our decision how we let love and technology exist together.
Online relationships in the past
About 20 years ago “online” relationships meant either chat rooms or some sort of personals-based website. We had the Internet, but not in our pockets like we do nowadays. It was really a luxury to have the Net at home in general. So if you wanted to chat with someone from another city or country, you should have visited the closest Internet cafe. What’s more, emoji and texting had yet to get their way into the mainstream at that time of love and technology. There wasn’t any pin-dropping, any swiping. One thing that you could do was flirting over long emails. And if it happened that somebody started dating online, they felt quite awkward. They didn’t want anyone to know the truth and made up some fake meet-story. It happened because the common attitude to such relationships wasn’t clear enough.
Ushering in a golden age of long-distance dating
With the technological revolution, one thing that has changed a lot is long-distance relationships. Though this kind of dating is hard, people have been doing it for centuries. Just remember the well-known Odysseus and Penelope. On the one hand, with the help of technology, it seems that the geographic problem of long-distance love is solved. On the other hand, there is no way to hug a person who is 3,000 miles away. Communication is valuable in any relationship, but so is sharing moments side-by-side. We might feel like technology is filling in the gaps, building stronger bonds. Though it cannot substitute looking into someone’s eyes or holding someone’s hand. It’s not enough just to love him or her. We need to be beside each other.
Does technology actually change love?
The answer is almost not at all. According to brain studies, people have evolved three different brain systems for mating and reproduction. They are “sex drive, feelings of intense romantic love and feelings of deep cosmic attachment to a long-term partner.” These three lie in the most primitive parts of the brain which developed over 4.4 million years ago. And they aren’t going to change today. Cooperation of love and technology showed their result in another way. In fact, the way we court is changing. Selfies, emojis, “liking” are just new “rules” for expressing our emotions. Human brain remains the one and the only real algorithm. Even dating sites aren’t changing who we choose to love. But one thing that is created by technology is the paradox of choice. For millions of years we didn’t have the opportunity to choose among thousands of people on a dating site. This modern trend of love and technology made some kind of “sweet spot” in our brains. Looking through a lot of data, we’re able to embrace about five to nine possibilities. But after all, we don’t choose any. Eventually, it’s our choice. To take advantage and enhance our romantic relationships or to be left to drown in cognitive overload.
For better or for worse?
It’s inevitable that the way we communicate and connect with our beloved is developing gradually together with technology. According to the latest research held in the UK, over 50% of couples will meet online by 2031. If we like it or not this integration of love and technology seems certain to happen. It goes without saying that every generation has its own culture. But the development of technology has changed it all – communication, interaction, dating. We’ve become tech-addicted and dependent on technology on daily basis. Moreover, this dependence has spread throughout our relationships. We expect to get responses immediately, we allow ourselves to track the actions of others. But this is a wrong way of love and technology evolving. In contrast, technology should be a good accessory to our love, our relationships.