Sunday, 11 September 2011

a deep emotional...i mean ...wireless...connection

Back in Victorian, when a couple got to know each other, it was via formal invitations and planned visits.  It was supervised, it was in public places and there wasn't a whole lot of physical contact.  They wrote letters - with a pen and paper!  It wasn't unheard of to not see or hear from each other for a week or more at a time.

When my parents met it wasn't that much different.  People met at dances.  They spent time in a big circle of friends.  They may have phoned each other occasionally but largely their time together was planned in advance, intentionally and there was a sense of anticipation between meetings, which usually only lasted a few hours.

When I met my husband we spent most of the first two years we were together living in different countries.  We wrote letters, we had long phone calls.  We carefully planned time together.  When we were together it was for chunks of time - a long weekend, a week.  In the meantime we got on with our lives - jobs, friends, hobbies.

Now technology  has become almost a  third person in a relationship.  The Internet and cellphones came along.  Then instant messaging and video calls on skype.  Facebook.  Hands-free car kits.  Wireless broadband.

I'm not entirely convinced it's a good thing.

Yes, it's lovely to receive a random ''i'm thinking of you'' text or message.  There's excitement in being able to chat long into the night by phone, or pseudo face to face on skype.  It sure makes it easy to be spontaneous - I'm in town! let's meet in 10 minutes!

Add in the 'weekend date''- it's not uncommon for a new couple to spend Friday to Sunday together, where once it would have just been a Saturday night dinner.  Obviously the old taboos/restrictions of no sex are rather less in force these days so this is far more acceptable and realistic but it's changed the way we do relationships.  I recently read that one can reasonably expect to get lucky on the third date.  

And now, if a day goes by without contact it feels like an eternity.  Where once upon a time a week would have been considered a reasonable stretch between conversations, now there's an expectation of a daily text, or email, or message.  There's no peace from it - there's no opportunity to build expectation and anticipation.

And the other downside is that all this contact can create a false sense of knowledge and security.  Of course we know each other - we skyped for four hours last night!    We had a WONDERFUL weekend at the beach - it's like having 3 months worth of dates in two days!

But my argument is this - whether it's a whole weekend, a hundred texts a day, or an all night phone call - to begin with, we are all showing our best sides.  It takes a long time to get to really know someone and whilst frequent and intense time can accelerate this, I don't think it is possible to truly know that person any faster.

Adding in sex, for all the marvellous pleasure it affords, too early, also can just give a false sense of knowing.  There's a reason it's called the cuddle hormone! I'm not saying to go there, or not go there, is right or wrong, just that it has the potential to change our perspective of someone.

It just feels like it's all going too fast to me.

I heard it described like this: You need to give me time to realise I miss you.

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