Everyone’s approach to dating is a little bit different — depending on background and what you’re looking for in a partner — but the premise is similar for many of us. You have to put yourself out there so that you can find someone who naturally clicks with you. Someone who will stick by your side through the ups and the downs and be your best friend. Someone who knows what makes you tick and helps you become a better version of yourself.
That’s not an impossible dream, but the road to making that dream come true can become difficult to navigate. Not only will your expectations and confidence in dating rise and fall with time, but nowadays you’ll also have to learn about the pros and cons of technology. Plenty of dating occurs online now, especially through smartphone apps. And since almost everyone is reliant on their phone to help them live their day to day lives, phones have a big presence on the dating scene too.
While smartphone technology has introduced a lot of great things to dating — like video chatting and mobile communication through voice and text — it has also created a new level of anxiety that I often feel trapped in. Phones can essentially make any modern-day dating experience an anxiety-filled living hell.
The Pressure for Constant Communication
When you have a cell phone, there’s an unspoken rule that you need to be ready for any texts or calls that may come in. At times, this might be easy. But sometimes, you just need to unplug from everything. Even if you’re only putting your phone down for a half hour, there’s a lot of anxiety and guilt that can come along with that.
The person you’re dating might become suspicious that you’re not doing what you say you are or that you might not want to talk to them. While that could also say a lot about their insecurities, it’s important to understand that we’ve been conditioned into these ways of thinking since we were young, so you can’t always blame someone for playing into that culture.
There are lots of ways that a slow or late response can be taken the wrong way, which falls more on the person reading into your silence than you. Sometimes you’re busy, and sometimes you just don’t want to have your phone in your hand. You don’t owe anyone instant and constant communication. To try to start a relationship off right when things get serious, talk about the dos and don’ts of texting so that you can both get a vibe about how you’ll be communicating with one another.
Tracking Each Other’s Every Move
Some people wind up in abusive or possessive relationships and struggle with finding a way to leave them. When you’re in love with someone, it’s easy to push aside their abuse because when they’re nice, life is fine. But people with abusive tendencies are starting to learn how to use cell phones to keep track of their partners at all times.
The Anxiety Starts Early
Cell phones are much more common now than they were even just 10 years ago, which means teenagers are facing the anxiety that comes along with cell phones and dating. In 2007, a study was done that reported that teenage digital dating abuse was a serious problem, with abusers using cell phones to control their partners without parental knowledge. Secret texts or hidden messages on social media accounts introduce teenagers to a dangerous world that they seemingly can’t escape.
The list could go on and on. There are ways you can be stalked and harassed on social media by a date that didn’t work out and took it personally. Passive aggressive post-liking or retweeting can also floor the pedal on dating anxiety. Cell phones can be used for just as much bad as good, which everyone should be aware of while navigating the dating scene. Keep tabs on how you feel and what makes you feel that way. The cause of your romantic anxieties could potentially be relieved by just making a decision with your partner to go off the grid for a little while.
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