Changing Relationships in a Technology-Saturated World

Married couples struggle every day with balancing work and family life, making tough financial decisions, and sharing child-rearing responsibilities. At times, juggling it all can seem impossible and the overwhelming stress leads some couples to contemplate divorce.

Now, add to the mix the effects that the Internet and social media have on the way we interact with each other and how relationships are formed and maintained. These effects that the Internet and social media have had on our relationships are now being studied by researchers. In some studies they are seen as a vehicle that fosters relationships and brings couples closer together, while in others they are seen as major factors that contribute to the disintegration of marriages. Who is correct?

According to a study conducted by Dr. Bernie Hogan of the Oxford Internet Institute, too much social media activity may actually cause damage to relationships. The study tested the theory of “media multiplexity.” Media multiplexity is the ability to communicate through multiple communications channels. The theory suggests that there is an obvious connection between the number of media channels we use to communicate, how often we use them, and how strong our relationships are as a result.

More than 24,000 married couples participated in the research. They used 10 media channels. The findings suggest that those couples using more media did not have any greater relationship satisfaction, and in some instances actually had less satisfaction. The conclusion drawn is that there may be some kind of limit on the number of communications channels we can tolerate using before they start to cause problems to the relationship.

In another report published by The Pew Research Internet Project, the researchers looked at how couples in committed relationships use technology in their everyday lives and also how couples feel technology has added to or taken away from a sense of intimacy or closeness with their partner.

According to the report, technology plays a very significant role in the lives of couples. Among those who are married or in a committed relationship:

What Is the overall impact of technology on long term relationships?

Is technology a positive force?

Is technology a negative force?

Overall Conclusions

Most couples say that the Internet has had no real impact on their relationship. However, for those who did say there was an impact, that impact is overwhelmingly positive.

For younger adults and those in relatively new relationships, technology can be a source of frustration and distraction despite the fact that it also provides them new avenues for intimacy.


If you have any questions about any family law matters, please do not hesitate to contact our Wheaton family law attorneys today.