Dating: Is the Web getting in the way of love?

"Is technology ruining your relationships?" asked Jess Carbino in HuffingtonPost.com. "Honestly? Yes," I thought. Apparently a study by my favorite research group, the Pew Research Center, has found that gadgets have “a pronounced effect” on dating and relationships. "Surprise, surprise" I thought. Here's the latest as seen in my favorite magazine The Week.

Almost one fifth of young people say they have argued with partners about how much time they spend online, compared with just 8 percent of older adults. Yet many young adults also find that technology provides “a forum to resolve conflicts.” Having “grown up revealing more about themselves in an online forum,” Millennials feel more at home with the medium.

But even some grown-up couples say tech can improve their relationships, said Sharon Gaudin in ComputerWorld.com. Overall, about 27 percent of the people surveyed said technology had an impact on their relationships, with most rating the impact as positive. “It gives people the ability to communicate in more and different ways,” said Dan Olds, an analyst with the Gabriel Consulting Group. “Text messages make it easy to toss out those quick ‘I’m thinking about you’’’ or “‘I’m still mad about last night’ messages.’’ One out of four couples said they felt closer to their partner because of texts or online messages, and 9 percent have resolved disputes online or by text message when they were having trouble discussing it in person.

Certainly, “hyperconnectivity is a double-edged sword,” said Eliana Dockterman in Time.com. “Young couples are operating in a competitive, geographically diffuse job market” that can separate them by continents. At first glance, that might make our connectedness seem like a good thing. But researchers have found that “the positive aspects of long-distance all seem to be based on how little couples see one another.” All that Skyping could just be “sabotaging your long-term relationship.” So as socializing online becomes easier, “consider the value of space.”

For singles, though, the web has been a real boon, said Julia Wood in CNBC.com. “With so many fish in the sea, more singles are heading online to find their soul mate.” A survey by Match.com found that 31 percent of respondents said they met their last date online, compared with 33 percent who met dates through friends and or at work. That doesn’t mean online dating is without its own challenges: There are now so many dating sites and apps that “choosing one is almost as difficult as finding someone who matches your standards.”

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