By Jeremy C. Owens
San Jose Mercury News.
SAN JOSE, Calif.
When you gaze into your partner’s eyes on Valentine’s Day, will they be lit by the warm glow of a candle or the artificial light of a smartphone screen?
While technology has made meeting potential partners and communicating with loved ones easier, mobile gadgets and social networks can distract and cause rifts, especially for high-tech workers who feel the need to be constantly connected to their jobs to ensure everyone else doesn’t lose their favorite service.
“Technology can certainly lead to a lot of distractions, especially in Silicon Valley,” said Amy Andersen, founder and CEO of Linx Dating, a matchmaking service with many clients in the high-tech sector.
The key to avoiding such problems, experts say, is open communication between couples, with special focus on areas that could cause tension. To foster that communication, we developed four rules that couples can follow or at least discuss to keep gadgets and online profiles from interfering with a special relationship.
“The real key is being able to have the conversation and, even if you feel differently about how you use technology, working it through just like you would work through any other conflict,” said Santa Clara couples and marriage therapist Sheila Kreifels, who counsels clients to establish boundaries for technology.
Consider these rules for beginning to establish those boundaries, even though Kreifels acknowledges, “It’s a tough conversation for many couples.”
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Social media has become one of the biggest danger zones for prospective paramours, with many couples’ first major discussion about a committed relationship centered on changing their Facebook relationship status.
“In the last few years, different media platforms on the Internet built up different cultures,” noted Robert Weiss, a licensed clinical social worker who has written books on technology‘s effect on relationships including the freshly released “Always Turned On: Sex Addiction in the Digital Age.” “Something that I would absolutely post in an IM just to my partner I absolutely would not put up on their timeline.”