“Show up and choose to be present,
Pay attention to what has heart and meaning,
Tell the truth without blame or judgment, and
Be open, rather than attached to, the outcome.”
— Angeles Arrien
Intimate Relationships in the Digital Age
A study of mental and physical health, and life satisfaction, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2017 concluded “that although real-world social networks were positively associated with overall well-being”, social media use “was negatively associated with overall well-being”. With our face in our phone or tablet or smart watch or laptop, how present can we really be for our partner? To give someone our full attention we need to be present and undistracted.
Affairs, be they physical and/or emotional, are the archetypical triangling maneuver in which a third person is recruited to help calm a couple’s anxiety while at the same time guaranteeing that fundamental relationship problems will never be resolved. What if that ‘third person’ is not a person but a thing? What if the most common 21st century ‘ménage à trois’ is our ubiquitous affairs with technology?
The attachment injury and relational trauma of an affair forever changes the relationship. Now imagine if you and your partner are having 50 of these electronic affairs a day, with 50 different people, and often with groups of people seemingly changing protagonists at will. If we’re constantly twitting from one electronic affair to another it’s difficult if not impossible to create a secure bond and sense of connectedness.
When we have “conversations” with people who may not exist, when we “talk” with our thumbs rather than our voice, when the person across the table sees the back of our iPhone or is face down engaged with their screen, how much true sharing and emotional intimacy can there be?
While we used to say there are six people in the connubial bed, nowadays there can be hundreds, even thousands (how many contacts do you have in your iPhone?). Imagine the scene, making hot and heavy passionate love with your partner while on your night table sit your best friend, mother, dog sitter and boss while from the other side of the bed constantly intrude your partner’s sibling, gardener, oral surgeon and former partner.
How awake, alive and available can we be with several hundred of our closest friends listening to our every moan and watching our every gyration? Textus interruptus will ruin the best of orgasms.
The practice of Mindful Relationships can help you remind everyone, most importantly yourself, that for some strange and unusual reason, electronics don’t work in your bedroom.
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