Love, Technology and the Modern Couple
Thanks to smartphones, telling your partner “I love you” has never been easier. And, according to some new research, it’s probably making your relationship stronger, too.
There’s no denying technology’s impact on modern relationships, just as there’s no denying technology’s impact on modern, well, everything. Websites and apps such as Match.com, OKCupid and Tinder have changed the way Americans meet and date. A 2013 study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that more than one-third of all U.S. marriages now begin through online dating, which has grown into a $2 billion-a-year industry, according to IBISWorld. And, of course, they’ve changed how we communicate. Facebook, Twitter, iMessage, WhatsApp, Snapchat and Instagram have replaced Phone – you know, that green button with the handset on it – as the communication app of choice.
For tech-savvy couples, the communication possibilities today are seemingly endless. Texting apps allow partners to communicate throughout the day regardless of where they are. And while there are some dangers that accompany regular texting with your partner – such as texting too frequently, or using text messages to have serious conversations – couples that exchange affectionate texts can actually enhance their relationships.
A new report from the Pew Research Center shows that 21 percent of people in committed relationships say they felt closer to their spouse or partner because of exchanges they had either online or via text message.
“People will text no matter what – it’s too convenient,” says Lori Schade, Ph.D., a licensed marriage and family therapies in Salt Lake City, Utah. “But if they use text messages purposefully to put money in the relationship bank, so to speak, by being positive, they might be developing a type of relationship resilience to weather future storms.”
Meanwhile, several apps that are built specifically for couples have begun popping up in app stores everywhere. Couple, an app that allows couples to communicate in their own, private channel, has been downloaded nearly 2.5 million times. The app lets you and your partner share messages and videos, build a private shared timeline chronicling your relationship, share to-do lists and even send “ThumbKisses” to one another.
Oleg Kostour, Couple’s co-founder and CEO, says he believes couples apps are bound to enjoy the same growth and mainstream acceptance as the online dating industry.
“Having a channel that specifically and exclusively reaches out to that one person makes sense,” Kostour says.
Meanwhile, some dating sites are figuring out ways to stay involved in couples’ lives beyond the meeting phase. HowAboutWe, which likes to call itself “The Offline Dating Site,” has a separate service for couples that offers pre-planned, curated dates ranging from tickets to a Broadway show, to custom peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, to a robot-building workshop. The company recently launched a new couples app called “You&Me,” that allows partners to collaborate on playlists, share photos and exchange private messages.
“We wanted technology to help bring people together and to help create memories,” says Jessica Tom, Community Director for HowAboutWe. “It is technology for modern love, and it’s really focused on connecting people.”
So while there’s no substitution for actual face time in a relationship, FaceTime is looking more and more like a good alternative to fill in the gaps.
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