Blackberries. iPhones. Androids. Whatever you call them. It’s those little devices that notify you about every single electronic communique related to yourself and your former Psych 101 classmate that you haven’t talked to in 5 years. The constant connection to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging, YouTube, ONLINE NHL HOCKEY POOLS is going to tear more millennial marriages apart than money disputes ever will. Mark my words.
Ol’ gramps and gran didn’t have to deal with this kind of beast. Back then, they only had to compete for their mate’s attention for a few hours on a Saturday night when Hockey Night in Canada was on the little fuzzy black and white TV. Now, not only do we spend hours a day in front of pristine HD television, but we text, surf the web and multi-task a whole other online life. All while sitting next to each other on the couch.
Personally, I try to be REALLY good about the amount of time I spend on my phone. Howie can attest (sometimes to his dismay, like when he’s trying to contact me) that I very infrequently check my phone while I’m interacting with other human beings. Maybe I’m old fashioned or maybe it’s the Speech Communication degree in me, but to me, there are few things less irritating than speaking to someone while they are carrying on an entirely different web-based interaction on their phones. I USED to be able to say the same thing about Howie, that is, until he joined an NHL online hockey pool.
Oh the online hockey pool. How you have stolen my husband away from me! It has become an unstoppable tick-like reaction. Every evening, almost every five minutes, he’s refreshing his blackberry to see the updated scores. Why he can’t just check once at the end of the night when all the games are over beats me. I made a little promise to myself that I would never use this blog as an outlet to vent about my husband. Looks like I’ll just have to make this one teensy exception.
Me: Howie, I just don’t understand why you can’t check once or twice at the end of the night.
Howie: Cheryl, it’s not a big deal. What does it matter if I’m sitting here checking scores while we are watching a show together. I (unlike you) can multi-task.
(It’s true I can’t multitask)
Me: Because when you check the scores it’s like you’re half here watching with me. You miss some of the jokes and you know how I like to laugh at TV jokes WITH people. It makes them more funny.
Howie: Cheryl if the worst thing your husband does is check hockey scores a little bit throughout the night then you have it pretty good. Some guys do way worse things. It’s not like I’m a drunk or cheat on you or something.
Me: Ah-HEM! That is such a lame argument. Just because there are worse things you could do doesn’t mean I should be thankful you do other things I don’t like.
Howie: Yes it does.
Me: Ok then by your logic that means you should be thankful I leave my toe nail clippings everywhere because at least I’m not a drug addict who runs a brothel.
Howie: Cheryl your toe nail clippings are gross. You shouldn’t leave them around. I don’t understand why you can’t just put them in a garbage can.
Me: A HAH! Exactly! I SHOULD put them in the garbage. Just like you SHOULD stop checking the scores all the time.
Monica: Cheryl, Howie is the best husband. You should stop being mad at him.*
Me: Don’t bring Monica into this Howie.
Thankfully, Howie has managed to cut back slightly on the amount of times he’s refreshing his scores. But I seriously think (and hope) we are not the only couple who faces the challenges of quality human time amidst an extremely instant-technology world. There are actual documentaries on MTV about couples trying to get over technology addictions because of the strain it places on the relationship.
When we were long-distance, instant messaging was a god-send. And because we didn’t actually have much face-to-face time it didn’t matter how often we were on our phones. But things are different now and I think establishing some ground rules would be a good idea. I’ve heard whisperings of couples who actually turn their phones off in the evening BEFORE bed time. How intriguing.
* Note to reader: Howie speaks for our dog, Monica. For full story on this phenomena click here.
Does modern technology negatively impact YOUR relationship in any way?