Poly and dating in the digital age
This thread by starrynite101 about dating and particularly this quote about restlessness and waiting for texts
Ok, so I'm old... when I was dating in my twenties, you met someone, you liked each other, then after a date you would maybe call (the home phone!) get an answering machine, leave a message, and then you would leave the house and go about your business and not until you got home at night, would you know if your love interest had returned your call. How peaceful that was! You could bask a little in the afterglow of a nice date. You cold muse a little and wonder how the other person experienced it.
(and yes I do remember some days when I did not want to leave the house for fear of missing that long awaited call :) - but more often than not, you just lived your life until the next possibility for checking in)
There was NO frantic checking of email or texts during all times of the day and night. Hence, there was a lot less restlessness when there was no immediate reply to a phone call.
For people like me, who have anxiety issues, insecurity and jealousy issues, etc, I sometimes think that these numerous possibillities for connecting are more a curse than a blessing. Don't get me wrong.. I love texting my BF good night. I love the detailed email exchange between me and my lovers. I love sending my husband nothing but a litle smilie to let him know I'm thinking about him when he's having a hard day at work.
I sometimes feel the constant communication prevents me from just living my life, my own life. Yesterday I was anxious because I had sent my BF a poem for his birthday and he did not reply immediately. As I was standing in line at the supermarket, checking my phone to see if h had replied, all of a sudden it hit me: how many minutes, hours have I lost these past couple of years when I was actively poly-dating... because instead of living in the moment, I was WAITING for something?
recently I've been experimenting with switching of my phone and closing the email program om my computer for a couple of hours each day. Not until I did this, did I realize how completely addicted I am to being in constant contact with everything and everybody. I know it's a subject much talked about in many circles, but I was just curious about other people's thoughts with regard to poly dating. How do you deal with the inevitable restlessness this brings? or are you someone who only sees the joys and benefits from lots of digital communication, especially when dealing with multiple partners?
great thread ...very interesting ideas. Ive had simliar thoughts and reaction in professional life. About a yr ago I moved to go back to voice to voice.....conversations...hearing the tones... Bottomline I don't text ...drives my kids nuts....they text me I call back.
I was thinking along similar lines.
I don't like my cel phone. I ignore it. I hate texting. I only turn it on when I need to get a call from DH or we go somewhere that being split up and regroup-y happens and phone makes it easier to locate each other. (ex: theme park, renn faire)
He also keeps his cel phone use to a minimum -- mainly to reach me.
Internet and my adult dating life? Kinda grew together so while some aspects of it would have helped a LOT (ex: skype) than the more limited technologies available at the time with long distance relationships, I didn't really worry about it. We were young and broke student/entry level work age people in the 20's.
Internet access was not as widespread, and who had the money to cough up long distance phone bills? I enjoyed emails and weekend/night long distance calls when the rates were cheaper, and snail mail. For me actually -- the slower pace helped me ease into some of my relationships better.
I still do not worry about it, and I think anyone dating me would have to accept that I'm pretty firm about not having the digital leash called a "cel phone." Call my land line all you want but I'm not a texting queen.
I don't watch TV, and live a quiet life. Internet is probably the one thing I do too much because I love to read and it makes it easy to find new things to read.
I do check email often, but I don't much sweat it if it takes a week to get back to me. It does not have to be instant.
A friend of mine is younger and keeps having rship probs because they keep TEXTING each other when the conversation really ought to be in face time. It's fine to text "Where do you want to go to dinner?" but I feel like "Where do you want to go in this relationship?" needs to be face time. Or at least phone so you get tone of voice information. But best in face time.
They end up frustrated and getting into needless arguments because of the medium they are trying to conduct heavy conversation in.
And to be honest, I feel like they are disrespecting their own relationship. Text to schedule the heavy talk for Friday at 2 PM -- fine. But have the actual conversation as "live" as possible -- face time or at least phone.
Isn't the relationship worth the extra effort to intentionally clear a block of time to be in conversation with INTENT? Rather than impulse?
So weird to me.
Very good food for thought
I wish you had replied to my thread the other day. This makes such a good point, about the wasted time and energy of not being in the moment. I'm not sure exactly how I'll resolve it.. maybe no dating texts? I'm new to all of this and figuring out my stuff, and honestly I need to nip this in the bud. I will not spend hours and days needlessly obsessing like I have been. My phone is such a temptation that I need to find a way to deal with it. Maybe no phone at work? Maybe no texts from dates? Maybe planning times when we will talk or text? I'm not sure, but I'm glad I was reading other threads and found this one. Thanks for posting it.
I totally hear ya!
We don't have tv, my internet is limited to this site, fb, email and my school site. THAT is too much.
My phone is very limited. I primarily have it so the kids can reach me.
But-we have a rule, if its family time or date time-all electronics off. Period.
It makes a HUGE difference.
That means that if I'm on a date with either of my guys-phones are off limits *we do keep one ON for emergency calls regarding the kids*
Also, if DH is on a date with someone else-his phone is ON-but I DO NOT CALL OR TEXT unless its an absolute EMERGENCY (and I do mean HOSPITAL emergency-not "i'm freaking out").
This has come up with us recently because I am pretty much INSISTING that Dude gets a cell phone.
We don't have a landline. I have to have my cell phone with me at all times for work. Dude and MrS pretty much share MrS's phone - whomever is leaving the house takes it with them (mainly because we are in the midst of car issues - so at any point they could need to be "rescued" by whomever has the other car - happened to me last week).
BUT that means that if me and one other person are out of the house the person at home is NOT AVAILABLE to me if I need them or they need one of us. (I get around this, a bit, by sending emails from my phone to the "stranded-at-home" person - but since NONE of us checks email regularly this is unsatisfactory, the "at home" person can actually send texts via the internet but neither of them has ever done it - I'm not sure they know how).
Don't get me wrong - I don't need to actually be in contact with them that frequently. I tend to send a text when I am coming home (i.e. "Need me to pick up anything?") or if I am going to be delayed ("Eat without me, don't know when I will be home.") I call at lunch and talk to whomever answers for a few minutes to touch base for the plans for the rest of the day. BUT knowing that one of them is "unreachable" drives me nuts...(OCD much?)
I told Dude that he doesn't actually need to give the number to anyone (he can give MrS's # and they can leave a message as they have been doing) - and, if he needs me to, I will promise to never call him unless it is a true emergency...but just knowing I could get in touch if I needed to (and that everyone could call for help if they needed to) would make me feel better.
When I was in my most obsessive phase, the thing that worked for me was to 'allow' myself 3 times a day to check email, texts etc. I have to admit I broke my own rule a number of times, but still those hours of not checking were often very peaceful.
I also made a point not to reply to emails or texts immediately. Because, it feels so much better to be the one still having an email to write, than to be the one waiting for a reply :)
I would have the email fully composed in my head (I'm a writer and love to spend lots of time working on what I want to say) but not actually write it or send it. This gave me extra hours of not obsessing. It sounds pretty desperate I know but there have been times when I really needed to trick myself with these desperate measures.
I also decided to not become facebook friends with anyone in my poly circle (lovers, metamours). It would be too stressful for me to see what they are up to even if its meaningless.
Of course it all comes down to faith and trust. If you have faith in your connection with your lover, it won't bother you when he takes a day to reply to your email. But when you are just starting in the relationship, there are no foundations of faith and trust yet, and you are an easy victim of the restlessness bug....
I am old enough to remember when I wrote letters and mailed them to boyfriends, and had to wait at least a few days to get a response. In 1990, I carried on a long-distance relationship for over a year with someone who lived in another country, and we did it completely via the mails, and not a single phone call.
I don't have a smartphone. I like it that way, as I never liked the idea of all my emails following me around, and texts are quite enough to deal with. A few years ago, I started using a Filofax again, after my Palm Pilot died of "Sudden USB Death Syndrome." Hey, if I drop my Filofax, I don't have to worry about damaging the data inside it, since it's all in pencil and pen. :D
I give out a Google Voice number which forwards to my cellphone (and no one has my real cellphone number). I can choose to have calls and texts to Google Voice forwarded to my phone. If I turn off the forwarding of calls, it goes to Google's voicemail and sends me an email notification. If I turn the texts off, the texts just go to my Google Voice account and I need to login online to see them and reply. So, I can have freedom from any potential barrage of messages, and I often choose to do that.
And right now, because I am broke, my cable/Internet has been suspended, so I have to go to a place like Starbuck's to get wi-fi and be online. I go home and have no tv and no internet, so I have begun listening to the radio again. Real radio signals, not internet radio, complete with constant adjustments to the tuner to get it in the right place for best reception. I can't rewind a DVR to hear again what was said, which means I have to pay attention.
I always say, technology is supposed to make our lives easier, not more complicated. If technology winds up stressing us out more, get rid of it. There are many advantages to an analog approach to some things.
It's a treat when my boyfriend calls me. It doesn't happen often. He's strictly electronic with me. Alot of it is a privacy thing, no real private time or place to talk during his day/evening. And he hates talking on the phone.
Between dates we always text or email. And that can cause issues - tone translation being the most common. (Was she mad? Was he joking? What's taking so long to respond, I needed an answer!)
But, on the other hand, I also now have a record of all the beautiful words , thoughts and sentiments that we have exchanged over the past couple of years. Occasionally I'll go back and read the extra special Saved messages and they warm my heart. As Cindie said, it's like the old days, writing love letters to each other, saving them indefinitely as keepsakes. :D
And, it can be fun to exchange the naughty texts, notes, pics. It sets the mood for the next date; our replies to each other are priceless!!! :D:D:D
One of my most awesome friendships is almost 100% carried out by mail. :) She is anti-internet and hates to talk on the phone. :)
So we write and mail letters back and forth. :)
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