By Melissa Tierney

There’s no denying we are a society addicted to technology.  While this fact may not necessarily be a bad thing when it comes to your day-to-day life, our technological habits may be making it impossible to form ‘real’ relationships with the targets of our affection.  It seems that the days of in-person or over-the-phone conversations are gone, and instead we are left with e-mail, texting, or social networking sites as the normal way of communicating, normally in 140 characters or less.  So although technology may make it easier to meet someone, does it really help nurture a relationship?

1. Tuning Out the World Around You: It’s become a part of life to have our Blackberry stuck to our ear whether we are at work, running errands or even out with friends, but what does this say about us?  Experts agree, when people are glued to their phones it’s a sign that they aren’t open to meeting new people.  This is the complete opposite message you want to be sending if you are indeed “on the market.”  If you seem preoccupied and uninterested, no one is going to approach you in order to get to know you, let alone ask you out.  Whether you’re out alone or with your friends, take some helpful advice and put the phone down – you never know who may be watching you, waiting to make his or her move.

2. More Likely to Cheat:Studies have proven that people who are addicted to technology and social networking are more likely to cheat.  Since they are constantly ‘meeting’ new people every day, and communicating with them via the Internet, it is more likely to turn a friendly conversation into flirting.  The worst part of this is that others don’t even consider what they are doing as ‘cheating’ or ‘flirting’.  By being able to meet someone with the click of a mouse, it makes people appreciate less what they already have.

3. Cyberstalking: With sites like Facebook, Twitter and Four Square, people are now able to track down their partner’s whereabouts without being caught.  By engaging in this kind of behavior, you can ruin an existing or new relationship.  When you cyber-stalk your honey, you’re going to over-analyze everything they do:  who they are talking to; who they have pictures with; and where they are going.   This may indicate a trust issue in the relationship.  While you may be tempted to cyber-stalk your beau, don’t do it –  it will cause nothing, but problems.

4. Not Paying Attention: How annoying is it to go on a date with someone who won’t turn their phone off and focus his attention on you?  Just because you have your phone with you, that doesn’t mean you should be responding to a text, e-mail, or call.  When you’re on a date, you should be focusing your attention on the other person and what he or she is saying.  How are you supposed to get to know someone who you might possibly have a future with if you can’t even focus and pay attention in the present?

5. It’s Not Official Until It’s On the Internet: Apparently relationships are no longer ‘official’ until they’re spread all over the internet, which makes many people feel uncomfortable.  So it begs the question – is it necessary to plaster your relationship status all over Facebook?  On the one hand, some believe that unless you have something to hide, you and your beau should both change your relationship status on Facebook as well as indicate who you are in a relationship with to show you are both ‘off limits’.  Conversely, others believe that your ‘status’ shouldn’t be broadcast on a website and that it isn’t anyone else’s business.  Either way, 5 years ago this situation wasn’t something we had to deal with and it’s another reason why technology may be ruining your dating life.

What other examples can you think of that demonstrate technology is taking a toll on your dating life? Share your thoughts below!