I met my first boyfriend in a Sailor Moon chat room. For the uninitiated, Sailor Moon was a Japanese anime show that was “popular” in the late 1990s. My online alter ego, a character I named Hiko Aino (Japanese for “fire child of love”), was tall, graceful, and witty—everything that I, at the time, was decidedly not. After a few weeks of frequenting the chat room, I started a relationship with a guy whose online persona was a dog (yes, a dog, as in a canine…oh, the shame is endless). It’s probably worth mentioning I was thirteen at the time and wildly unpopular at school (given what I just shared, I can’t imagine why). But the chat room allowed me to reinvent myself, connect with others with similar interests, and—in short—escape the sad reality of middle school. And although the Sailor Moon chat room is probably long gone, other virtual worlds have sprung up in its wake. One such environment is the online community named Second Life.
Entries in technology (12)
John Mayer is apparently a trend-setter among celebrities. The singer/guitarist reportedly dumped Katy Perry by email and Jennifer Aniston with a text message (recommendation: if you are dating John Mayer, hide his iPhone). And Taylor Swift is said to have been the recipient of a break up voicemail (although not from Mr. Mayer). Is this form of calling it quits isolated to just our friends in the entertainment industry or is it common among the rest of us?
Have you ever been dumped over email? Would you text a (soon-to-be-former) partner to let them know it was over? heyyy we r over bye. Technology provides many options for communicating a desire to break up while allowing us to avoid the awkwardness of dumping someone face-to-face. But how often do people use technology to break up, and are some people more likely to do it than others (or be the recipient of it)?
If You’re In A Relationship, Is It OK To Browse Hookup Sites For “Innocent Flirting” And “Harmless” Fun?
BC submitted the following question:
Have you written much on gay hookup apps (Grindr, Scruff, etc)? I just had a lengthy discussion with my cousin on Facebook after posting my criticism of Dan Savage's latest Savage Love. In it, Savage wrote that a gay man can have a hookup app on his phone while in an exclusive relationship and just use it for chatting with friends and innocent flirting. Why would someone be active on a hookup app and, if confronted with a hot guy to hookup with, not actually hook up with them?
This is a great question! Although I am not aware of any studies specifically examining how use of hookup applications impacts people’s relationships, there is plenty of research to suggest that bringing these applications into a monogamous relationship could potentially lead to trouble down the road. Thus, I don’t fully agree with Savage’s take that engaging in such behavior is completely innocent.
Cell phones have revolutionized the ways we stay in touch. However, do our mobile phones affect our relationships, even when we’re not using them? Findings from two new studies suggest they do. Pairs of strangers discussed assigned topics in the presence or absence of a phone. Specifically, these “stranger-pairs” sat in a room with either a nondescript mobile phone or an old-fashioned pocket notebook placed unobtrusively on a desk to the side. The simple presence of a phone (vs. notepad) resulted in lower levels of closeness and relationship quality after their discussion. Further, when specifically asked to talk about a meaningful topic, the presence of a mobile phone also resulted in lower levels of trust and empathy. It’s possible that cell phones act as a reminder of people’s wider social networks, and the anticipation of a possible interruption (your best friend complaining about yet another awful blind date?) draws attention away from face-to-face conversations.
Przybylski, A. K. & Weinstein, N. (in press, 2012). Can you connect with me now? How the presence of mobile communication technology influences face-to-face conversation quality. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. doi: 10.1177/0265407512453827
You awaken with a startle, the clang of metal against metal resounding in your ears. To your left, someone’s scream of anguish is cut ominously short. To your right, a primal war cry, mixed with the menacing growls of large feral creatures, chills you to the bone. You bolt up from the couch in a panic, only to find that you’re not in danger after all, at least not of being gutted by a Death Knight. However, your gamer spouse, who is stabbing frantically at the keyboard, eyes glued to the battle unfolding on the computer screen, might be missing some vital limbs soon if you don’t both get some sleep.
Facebook gives its 800 million+ users the opportunity to interact and build connections with a variety of people. Given the nature of interactions on the site, including making comments or “liking” others’ posts, Facebook provides a unique forum for those seeking to improve friendships or enhance their self-esteem. As anyone who has used Facebook can tell you, many posts are of the “look at how awesome I am” variety. Clearly, Facebook provides an excellent social outlet for those with high self-esteem; but, it may be less beneficial for their less self-loving counterparts.
SofR contributor Dr. Patrick Markey talks about technology and relationships.
With the proliferation of smart phones, “sexting” is on the increase. Even Brett Farve (alledgedly) and the (former) mayor of Detroit have gotten caught up in the craze! But who is likely to sext with their partners? A new research paper examines sexting and its association with adult attachment.
In the movie The Social Network, maintaining “single” as his relationship status incited a jealous rage in Eduardo Saverin’s girlfriend. Even Jamie Lynn Sigler (aka Meadow Soprano) found herself feeling jealous on Entourage when her boyfriend Turtle added an attractive new “friend” to his Facebook page.
Our research on Facebook and relationships has found that Meadow Soprano and Eduardo’s girlfriend are not alone, there is a link between Facebook use and the experience of jealousy.
Are you itching to know when your friends' relationships crash and burn? Rather than waiting for them to tell you about it, a new Facebook app will notify you when they've become single. It's just what all you stalkers were waiting for.
Of course, you probably could have guessed that these relationships were doomed. There's research showing that friends are actually more accurate in predicting breakup than are the members of the relationship itself.1 Thats right-- friends seem to know best; even better than the couple. In addition, friends' approval for a relationship is as good of a predictor of breakup as is the satisfaction level of the people in the relationship.2 So if you want to know if a relationship will break up, it's just as useful to know what the friends think about the relationship as it is to ask the couple members if they are happy in their relationship.