Can Technology Destroy Relationships?

By Sheila Anne Feeney
amNewYork, New York

Technology, Which allows us to find prospective romantic partners with greater ease than ever before — is, increasingly, the cause of conflict and break-ups.

“We met on social media and social media broke us up,” said Oscar Pelaez, 24, a sales manager who had a three-and-a-half year relationship with a man who, he complained, prioritized internet communication over communication with him.

After meeting on MySpace as teenagers, Pelaez, who lives in Washington Heights, grew more attached to his boyfriend as his boyfriend “grew more and more attached to his Blackberry,” checking it obsessively through meals and conversations, updating his Tumblr posts and posting pictures on Instagram “every two to three minutes.

“I found out about issues we were having on Facebook instead of him telling me,” said Pelaez. “It was comical. I finally blew up and said, ‘how can I compete with the internet? I felt inferior. I was jealous of a computer!”

About 80% of people born between 1980 and 1999 sleep with their phones, according to a study in November 2012 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

A survey of women in December commissioned by Huffington Post and Real Simple found that 48% said they would rather go a month without sex than a month without their phone.

Increasingly, what’s disrupting the relationship is not another person, but a seductive cell, leading some wags to suggest we cut out the middleman and just date our phones.

That concept was brought to the screen with great success recently in “Her,” Spike Jonze’s new movie that depicts a man falling in love with a Siri-like operating system.

The problem is likely to worsen as smart phone acceptance swells.

While only 56% of Americans have a smart phone, according to 2013 Pew Research Center data, 88% of 18-29 year olds cop to having one.

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