Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Internet is Killing Relationships!

I am all for the Internet and technology and its advancement.

But there's also a part of me which feels like I would have been happier if I were born a few generations earlier... before mobile phones, and the internet.
Back in the day, relationships used to so much more stable and concrete. I look at my grandparents and my parents generation and I see couples who stick together through thick and thin. There isn't a question of quitting or wandering... there were much less distractions... you love someone, you get married and that's your life.

But I look at my generation... over the last couple of years ... I have had a couple of divorced friends, one broken engagement, one less than ideal marriage, one who can't get any commitment from the guy even after 3 years, another who is married but fighting all the time.... plenty PLENTY of aquaintences who cheat on their partners.... and then there's me... almost 30 and making mistake after mistake in relationships.

Among my peers, there's no happy ideal model relationship that I can look up to. When it comes to love, pretty much everyone seems to be doing shitty really.... it's just that some are better as masking it (perfuming the pig- as Mark used to call it) than others.

Why do I blame the internet?
Just look at your past failed relationships... how many issues which arised during the course of those relationships were linked to the internet?

For me... and those around me... A LOT.
The internet has opened doors, erased borders and just gives everyone access to a whole new world. The internet has also made it possible to keep checks on your partners easily and catch possible infidelity.
But it also facilitates making new friends, finding old flames, etc., that has the potential to destroy a current relationship. When once we were dependant on our own little social networks.. (work.. church... school... peers.. the neighbourhood)... in order to meet people... now, new faces and new adventures are just a few clicks away. All it takes to destroy a relationship is that one moment of folly, that one click due to a lapse in judgement.

In the past, people would just lose touch with each other, as they split up, moved away, changed jobs, etc. You'd have to be very very keen in order to seek contact with someone you knew a long time ago.
But today... our past NEVER goes away. You never get rid of the people from the past. It just accumulates. Like some time bomb of temptation.

Something will trigger a memory, and all of a sudden you find yourself Googling your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend.... or browsing through their photos on Facebook. Is it purely just idle and innocent curiosity? Maybe.

But once you find them, then what? Do you reach out in the name of friendship? Do you tell your current partner about this? What if that person is still single?

And trust me... when you are going through a rough patch (whose relationship is perfect 100% of the time anyway?!) ... these connections over the internet can make you sway instead of focusing on the real problem in your relationship.
Over the Internet (chats, MSN, etc) people can edit their words and seem much more perfect than they really are in real life. Simple written words from someone of the past (or someone new) can suddenly have a strategic importance in your life which can be harmful. And you damn well know that cheating on a partner is easy in this day and age. You can connect with anyone now. And many people prowl on the internet. It's a way of life now.

One example is.. within a few days after I announced my split with Mark on my blog (and also Facebook). Suddenly Mark had about half a dozen girls on Facebook requesting to be his friend. He found it strange, as he's quite a private person. And when he clicked the "mutual friends" link.... SURPRISE SURPRISE... all those women were friends with me on my facebook!

Ok... granted, they're not good friends... (I have like 2000 people on facebook)... but still... to try to wevil their way to Mark (through my Facebook link to him!), as soon as they learnt about our split.... it's pretty damn hoe-ish. Grrrr!

---------
We have limitless options now when it comes to the opposite sex... we don't stick around and try to iron out the bumps ... there's always someone seemingly better out there.
How much do we treasure the bonds we create and the relationships we make, when making a newer better connection is pretty much an effortless process now. Hey.. if this one has a flaw... I'll just chuck him out like I did the rest... after all.. there's bound to be somebody out there that's perfect.

What has the world come to? Am I the only one who sees the negative effects of the Internet on relationships? Tell me I'm not alone here.
Sometimes... I wish I were born back in the days of the Little House On The Prairie. Life wasn't one of luxury... but it was so much simpler.

29 comments:

  1. Joanna2:05 pm

    Hi Holly, JMHO I don't think the internet is to be blamed for breaking up relationships.

    Unlike your parents and grandparents who love till the end, my parents were divorced and I didn't recall my late grandmothers ever said they loved their spouses.

    What I do think though, is that the Internet has somehow exposed us to limitless possibilities that were quite literally unheard of barely 30 years ago (ie online dating, making money online, even online banking). Hence the notion that we are in control when it comes to relationships.

    But for me personally, I didn't find myself in control and went on to survive 2 failed online r'ships and 1 long distance r'ship that didn't make it. But that doesn't mean nobody can though :)

    Anyway, to answer your question "Am I the only one who sees the negative effects of the Internet on relationships?"...

    I would say no for my case as my current r'ship has got connections with the Internet and it's since blossomed into a loving marriage for a chaotic yet wonderful 4 years and with a new addition in our love nest this year :)

    Sorry for this long comment. Just my 2 cents :) Never give up on love, love will come when you least expect it!

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  3. Anonymous2:24 pm

    I totally agree with your post...

    Quoted from you :"But once you find them, then what? Do you reach out in the name of friendship? Do you tell your current partner about this? What if that person is still single?"
    "Over the Internet (chats, MSN, etc) people can edit their words and seem much more perfect than they really are in real life. Simple written words from someone of the past (or someone new) can suddenly have a strategic importance in your life which can be harmful. And you damn well know that cheating on a partner is easy in this day and age."

    I had experienced it. Just last night I found out that my bf is chatting with this random girl he knew ages back in Facebook and she inviting him to her birthday party?
    And they continue to have a nice conversation after the 'invitation'.

    What guys want is their privacy...but I think their privacy for guys are overated...privacy and freedom for guys are just excuses for them to cheat and socialise with other girls.Then after that, they will pick up a big fuss, that we don't trust them at all.
    But just how can we trust?

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  4. Anonymous2:35 pm

    anon 2:24 - sounds like you have trust issues in your relationship. Perhaps you should chat these over with your bf instead of telling the world online (which strikes me as making a similar mistake to your bf).

    Also, don't use your problems in life as a basis to critise the whole male gender.

    "but I think their privacy for guys are overated"

    Who are you to say that? What would you have done? A law banning privacy for men???

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  5. Think this just means that relationships that make it in this age are so much stronger! :)

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  6. Also, agree with anon 2:35. I don't think that guys want privacy just to cheat. You have trust issues, definately :)

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  7. Anonymous3:49 pm

    the internet is a tool. it allows you to do this things it doesn't force you too. Just like sleeping with a hooker, you pay for it and you get it, the hooker doesn't force you too even if she looks like a million dollars. If a man or a women looks for these things it means they are unhappy with their situation. Or they feel the need for adventure, don't blame the tool blame the user. On another note, i am married and i am happy. i am surround by married people or people who are in relationships who are happy as well. Its not a perfect world, there is no perfection and that is what makes it great. I have said it before if you keep moving from a to b to c within weeks of breaking up you will never find a spot that you are happy with cause in your mind there is always that door that says escape. Things get tough escape.

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  8. willy wonka4:05 pm

    Great post Holly , very thoughtful and provocative - I think the main point she makes is true that the internet contributes to throw away relationships and temptation , which didn't happen many years ago - if you have a row with your partner and suddenly an old g/f pops up on facebook saying she's having rough time in her relationship too its tempting to meet her for a coffee, see how she's doing and then ... .In the old days your past tended to disappear , now it never does .
    its the same with internet dating never give anything a good go , a couple of dates , move on , never settle , the next one might be better ...
    its a minefield ...relationships in the internet age are like trying to diet in a chocolate factory , not everyone gets tempted , but some just can't resist trying :-)

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  9. Anonymous5:02 pm

    Yes, i really don't think you should blame the tool. Just the user. I am also surrounded by friends with good, lasting relationships that have a solid foundation. Don't think the internet will get in the way.

    Think you need to look at the problem at the root. if you/ your friends are in a good relaitonship with a good man, then all the temptation in the world shouldn't affect it.

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  10. agree agree agree.

    even though the internet is after all, just a tool. It is this tool that serves as an AID to more things possible.

    i myself have realised this a loong time back. people are so distracted these days. No one is focused anymore. Mobile phones, internet, msn, facebook etc..

    i do wish i was born 2 decades ago too.

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  11. Tiger7:57 pm

    Hey Holly,

    I have the same thoughts as you – Would be happier if I were born a few generations earlier, things weren’t that complicated yet simple and pure bliss/love. In this 21st century, IMO, it’s hard to find a true, lasting love.

    There are both advantages and disadvantages in everything in this world, we have to take the advantages and leave the disadvantages in anything we come across. The same way, we have to do for internet too.

    I would say internet is the biggest matchmaker and heartbreaker in the history of human-kind.

    The Internet makes it easier to cheat or be unfaithful. It opens up a much wider world to people without leaving their comfort zone. A person who wouldn't necessarily be cruising a bar looking for conversation or company might not feel the same way about cruising a chat room. Also the Internet gives people anonymity that may lead them to do things they wouldn't ordinarily do and may lead an innocent flirtation deeper before they realize a line has been crossed. Some people may also feel that online relationships are not "real" and therefore don't count as infidelity while they do in fact take a toll on their relationships. That being said that I think someone who is morally set on monogamy won't be strayed by the Internet. People are starting to think, consciously or subconsciously that almost anything is OK if it's what they want/need and they have little to no empathy anymore. It's a fast food, instant gratification life these days and many people have a "in it for me" attitude and no real role models for putting in the hard work of making a relationship work.

    On the good side, internet is a tool - a source of information and entertainment.

    If people abuse it to the extent that it takes away from time spent nurturing their relationships, it's the *people's* fault - not the internet's fault.

    And of course, some of the material available on the internet is questionable - porno, chat rooms - These can ruin a relationship, too, when abused.

    People are responsible for their own actions and choices. Blaming bad choices and poor decisions on an inanimate thing is pretty silly.

    It's the fault of the abuser, internet is just the catalyst.

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  12. Tiger8:30 pm

    cont'd...

    Regarding the issue about "half a dozen girls on your Facebook requesting to be Mark's friend. "

    Not taking side, at least those "half a dozen girls" did that action after the split up, not when you are still with Mark.

    I had GF whom I known for 10 freaking years and tackled with the guy which I like (she knew it too) but she went out with him behind my back(she dated him). I had learnt a lesson from this experience - you can't judge a friendship/relationship by the years.

    What say you?

    I called her a s k a n k! :)

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  13. Anonymous11:38 pm

    I think in the olden days there was less cheating because people tend to make do with each other.

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  14. Temptation has been around since the time of Adam and Eve, who, if we are to believe are the big mommy and daddy of all mankind, then can you really blame us for being so darn weak? Our super-duper-great grandparents were in Eden for God's sake, and blew it because they couldn't resist a bloody apple.

    The internet makes it easier for sure to stray (and if I'm getting it right, I think that's the crux of Holly's point, yes?), but I think that's only relevant if one wants to stray in the first place. People have been cheating long before the internet came about, they just relied on other tools to attract the opposite (or in some cases, same) sex. Like hair gel. Where there's a will, there's a way, and if a person wants to cheat, he or she will find a way even without the internet.

    On a social note, people tend to say things are worse during their time. Our grandparents' time was worse than theirs, and our time is worse than our grandparents'. Yes, we do see more instances of divorce or failed relationships these days, but we can't simply compare the numbers to that of previous times, simply because the social situation are very different. Let's face it, it's a lot easier to divorce now, compared to back then when a woman perhaps was more willing to put up with her husband's infidelity for reasons such as shame, lack of education and financial stability, societal pressure, etc. I would bet my last dollar that infidelity was just as rampant back then, perhaps even at the little house on the prairie. The first porn video I watched was The Little Whorehouse on the Prarie. So see? They did have whorehouses on prairies too! And who do you think patronised those whorehouses? Good old Mr Ingall and friends I bet..

    Honestly, people cheat because they can. Girls and boys, happily attached or otherwise. Why? Because Adam couldn't keep his grubby fingers away from a darn apple (I bet it was one of those Royal Gala ones, cos they're scrumptious and yummy), and we're cursed for all our existence with the constant desire to want the forbidden fruit, even if means giving up that penthouse apartment in a prime, lush condo in the heart of the city called Eden. We're just eternally screwed that way.

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  15. Hey, its weird, but I think someone is pretending to be me on your tag board. Although, for what reason, i really don't know. I'm not the jess that wrote the mean things of you not being pretty. I think you're gorgeous!

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  16. Hey holly,
    i like reading your blog. Been reading for several mths, and its my first time commenting :)

    Honestly, i don't think the Internet is the blame for the failure of relationships. The Internet is neutral, i think it has got to do with the users, how they handle the Internet.

    If the person choose to google about his/her ex flame, or decide to keep in touch with them via social networking tools like facebook, then i would ask, what is his or her intention of doing so?

    I think everyone has to be responsible for their own actions. For eg, If i know acting in such ways will sabotage the relationship, i would think twice whether i really want to do it.

    I also agree that our past never go away, but like you said, they were the past. I guess we have to let go, and not let our past affect our perceptions of ourselves or others, and not let our past affect our decision. Yes, it's not easy. But that's the way to work things out, isn't it?

    If the partner want to get sway by the Internet, he/she will definitely be swayed.

    Looking forward to ur reply Holly :)

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  17. Anonymous4:54 pm

    @ Jess - you must be right, since you're the only person in the world called Jess.

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  18. wow.. this has stirred up a lively debate.

    thanks everyone for your really well thought out comments.

    I agree tht the Internet doesnt CAUSE ppl to stray. But what it does do is allow ppl tht u wldnt dream of contacting (because you're in a relationship) to contact you.

    Or for you when you're feeling down in your r'ship to be tempted to click a key and up pops an old flame, no effort needed.

    If it weren't this easy.. then maybe less ppl wld give in to such temptation.

    but yes.. it still boils down to the individual and will power. Though it gets pretty hard to resist when the carrot keeps dangling in front of you nose. :)

    And yes... those who said tht even back in our parents/grandparents time.. there prob was just as much cheating going on... just lesser divorces. I guess when you want to cheat .. you'll find a way to cheat.

    but having teh internet making cheating all the more easier now, doesn't help!

    :)

    --- hey to Jess, no worries, I know it's not you

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  19. Anon 4:54, only said that because this person repeated my comment in the tag box as part of their comment. I did my checks ok!

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  20. samuel6:06 pm

    great post there jolly. u def say my piece too! *sigh*

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  21. Insightful post Holly. I agree in the sense that the internet made it easier to be tempted, but look at it from another angle, consider the internet cheating a warning before an actual cheating in real life comes your way. =)

    Besides, I have heard stories of the internet bringing a couple together. So honestly, i think the internet is merely a tool and should not be blamed for the decline of relationships, ultimately, its the users behind the monitors.

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  22. I beg to differ for this blog post, if things meant to happen between relationships, they would happen with/without the internet.

    true enough, it open a whole new realm of possibilities and temptations. however, if a relationship in itself is not stable enough, why blame the outside factors for 'destroying' it?

    if a relationship is strong enough, not even internet can be a factor to cause 'destruction' to it.

    and whereas on another hand, if relationship is already not strong, and people already wanted to cheat, other places like their surrounding friends, workplace or even church can be a factor to it. no? :)

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  23. Anonymous8:26 pm

    Dear holly,

    I have a date who told me he likes me alot and so do i. We had sex .
    I asked him whether he wants me as his gf. He kept quiet. I stop delving after several times as i could see he refuse to come out with an answer.

    Apparently, to all of our friends we seems like a loving couple.We do everything together. Infact, im not even his gf. When it comes to dispute, he will always use the term "friends" as a way to resolve.
    One thing im very sure about that he s not seeing other girls as we see each other almost everyday even if don't he will let me know who does he hang out with. We kept everything open to each other.

    It has been for years and I am still feeling uncertain.I dislike the feeling of waiting. Shall i continue this doubtful relationship or to cease it?


    More than friend

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  24. years?!

    You see him almost every day. You both don't date other people. You have sex. You behave in a loving manner when out together.

    That to me is a relationship. And seems exclusive too.

    I don't understand why he kept quiet when you asked if u were his GF?!

    I would ask him about the status of the relationship. bring it up gently in conversation. And if he insists you are just friends.

    Then stop calling him all the time, don't report to him abt what you're doin and who you;'re out with. After all, you are just FRIENDS.

    If you feel like it. Date other men. Don't have to do it secretly behind his back. Just do it, and it's ok to mention it to him, since he's your friend.

    I think you have a commitment phobe on your hands. :(

    If things don't improve, you may not want to stick around.

    Everyone is worthy of commitment. You didn;t do anything to deserve being so insignificant to him.

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  25. Anonymous10:05 pm

    To More than friend,

    Sorry to sound harsh , i would say you are his "f _ _ k " buddy.(*cough*)

    Yeah! That's the term for your situation.

    He likes you, have sex with you, do thing together, he is not dating anyone, let you know who he hang out with...etc

    been there,done that!

    :)

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  26. Anonymous10:15 pm

    or you can call it " friends with benefit"

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  27. Anonymous10:29 pm

    Sorry to use that "WORD" in your blog, Holly.

    If you know what I meant.

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  28. Anonymous2:46 pm

    i just broke up with my bf for almost a month and since then, he did added a few new gals on his FB too. I did asked if he got to know new gals recently and he told me ya, from FB. Asked if he went to know them himelf, replied was no which when i asked if they came to know him, he didn't reply. I felt quite hurtful as it was only a few days after we broke up. I should say that the internet has made r/s more vulnerable.

    Ppl get to know so much things abt ppl u know or don't know indirectly. Ppl add strangers out of nowhere maybe just because they want their friends list to look 'beautiful in numbers'? And once ur status become single, exs who are hoping to get back to the guy will come knocking on the door. Which my bf's ex has been knocking aggressively.

    So this internet thingy, good or bad? It's just the way ppl wanna use it.

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  29. Anonymous8:44 pm

    I agree with you totally! I feel exactly the same way u did. I hope those dating websites or even FB would just vanish :( technology destroy relationship and romanticism.

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