Love letters from Ana: Modern Marriage

It’s a frustration often tossed aside or underestimated. You just sat down to dinner and as you open your menu, your date goes into her purse and puts her phone on the table facing up. As you’re telling her what you’re thinking of ordering, her best friend quadruple texts her and you see her eyes dart from yours to her phone until they rest on her screen for a little while. You lose your train of thought—and she, thinking you finished your spiel, quickly picks up her phone, “Sorry, Amy is being so annoying right now…she likes this guy and…”

Your date is actually having a date with her cell phone. These instances are so common that our generation seems numb to them. It’s the reason why when you go home for summer vacation your parents scold you for using your phone too much. At family meals, movies and gatherings you’re constantly on your cell and this seems so normal because it’s a group activity in college. In fact, our relationship with our cell phones is probably the most consistent relationship we have at school.

Nowadays, it seems like the only thing we can for certain say, “I do” to is our cell phones. Have these devices that make everyday life so much easier, become the modern marriage? Are we more committed to our phones than each other? When did we stop looking up and start looking down?

I am going to be honest; I’ve often felt like an outsider to our generation, because one of my biggest pet peeves is when people are constantly on their phones. I understand that walking to class without being preoccupied with something other than your environment and the people around you can produce anxiety-ridden internal monologues: that’s the guy I hooked up with this weekend…There’s my freshman year roommate, what a jerk.

My issue is when texting, Facebook, and Instagram stalking go into overtime during meals, hangouts and parties. Why? Because why would you rather hangout with your Facebook account than the real people in front of you? Yeah, that cute girl from that party may be texting you nonstop, but your buddy’s trying to tell you about the first time he did a handle-split.

My point is life is happening all around us and we are missing it because we are in a serious relationship with our mobile device. Think about it, it goes everywhere with us—it’s at dinner with us every night, we go to bed with it, and most of us wake up to it—it even goes to the bathroom with us. I’m talking intimacy here people.

The other thing that cellphones are affecting is the way we communicate with our significant others. Why do we feel a need to be texting our boyfriends 24/7. Do we really think for that split second that he doesn’t answer he is either talking smack about us or cheating on us? No, he’s probably just ordering his carnitas bowl at Don Juan’s.

And beyond relationships, this constant texting between two people who just met or casually hooking up seems so cowardly in comparison to actually setting a time to see each other face-to-face. I think our parents’ generation had it right. Neither my mom nor my dad had a cell phone, so when they were dating my dad would call her at a certain time during the weekday. They would have the rest of their day devoted to their families or college work and maybe they’d meet up for dinner in the evening. They were not constantly digitally connected and it left room for suspense—the chase—and other components of their lives to take form.

What happened to these days? Among many things they made the man in the relationship step up to the plate and make the initiative to call or make a date because he could not get by with just sending texts every now and then. Additionally, because couples would call on each other from their home numbers families were more involved with the relationship. It was a more immersive things rather than private and confined to iMessage conversations.

While I wish I could change the way we communicate as a generation, I know it’s something that will get more prevalent as technology improves. I suppose I would feel irresponsible if I at least didn’t give a few tips to living a better life divorce (at least a trial separation) from your mobile device.

Here’s what I suggest: At dinner keep your phone in your bag, enjoy the life, the people and conversations happening all around you. Plug your phone in away from your bed. Not only have scientists said this helps sleep patterns, but it also gives you a chance to marinate with your thoughts rather than your Instagram feed before dozing off. If you’re dating someone establish what you think sufficient communication is. Maybe it’s a phone call a day rather than constant texting. Unless a party really sucks, keep your phone in your purse. Being on your phone at any social event comes off as cold and closed off.

Well, this is all I have for you all for now—just remember, in terms of this relationship, you wear the pants.

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