The Cub Reporter takes a look into relationships and how they are affected by today’s technology
As we move closer to Valentine’s day, it seems that everyone wants to talk about relationships.
You see couples all around the school, doing your normal run-of-the-mill modern relationship stuff, Snapchatting, FaceTiming, and texting each other. You look around and wonder, how have relationships changed from the past? How have they been affected by the digital age?
Freshman Noah Svaty is experiencing a relationship in the digital age first-hand. Svaty is dating freshman Ashlyn Spangenberg. Both live in Sterling and see each other almost all the time.
“We have known each other since fourth grade,” Svaty said. “We talked for a few months and then started dating about 8 months ago.”
A big thing in modern relationships is the use of technology to communicate with one another. Digital age relationships are much different than previous generations’ relationships.
Technology has become so advanced and so portable, that it is used for about everything, including relationships.
“We use technology when we’re not together a decent amount,” Svaty said. “We use Snapchat every day and also text fairly often.”
Many couples see technology as an essential part of their relationships.
“I would say that technology is important to our relationship, but we could definitely survive without it since we’re around each other so often,” Svaty said.
Since both attend SHS, they are around each other almost constantly in classes, lunch, and around the hallways.
“The best thing about seeing her everyday is the face to face connection,” Svaty said. “I feel like it’s more special to see the other person face to face than through a screen.”
With seeing each other constantly there are big benefits, but there are bound to be some downsides.
“We just get into a lot more arguments since we’re with each other so much,” Svaty said. “I think that people in long distance relationships don’t get themselves in as many little arguments like we do.”
It’s safe to say to say that relationships have changed through the years. A type of relationship that seems to have changed the most in the digital age is the long distance relationship.
Long distance relationships are much more common than they used to be. There are many students that are in a relationship with someone who lives far away.
Senior Jasmine Bates is currently in a relationship with current Kansas State University student Kevin Colle.
Colle is involved in the marching band at K-State, making him busy. This causes the two to not be able to see each other in person much during the school year.
“I had already known Kevin for years from scholar’s bowl, jazz band, and debate before we started dating,” Bates said.
It seemed unlikely at first, but the two have grown close in their relationship because of many similar interests.
“I thought I hated him at first because he seemed stuck up and he was good at everything,” Bates said. “I saw him at district choir and Natalie Schweizer told me that he was nice, so we started texting and then went on to start dating a few months later.”
Many people meet through school activities and since people can communicate much better at distance than they used to, relationships are then formed.
With the rise of social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and not to mention texting, people can now communicate with one another remarkably well at distance.
Senior Cooper Galyon is involved in a similar kind of relationship. Galyon is in a relationship with Claire Gardner. Gardner lives in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota called Wayzata. She is a junior at Heritage Christian Academy in Maple Grove, Minnesota.
The two have been dating for about six months.
“We met at a church camp five years ago in Wisconsin,” Galyon said. “Every year I went to camp I asked her out, and she always said no. Until this year when she said no, but then decided to say yes a day later.”
Wayzata is over 650 miles away from Sterling, presenting challenges for their relationship.
“Not being able to see her a whole lot is honestly very difficult,” Galyon said. “I just think that couples who see each other every day take what they have for granted.”
Finding time to see their significant other can be a struggle in long distance relationships.
“We try to see each other once about every month and a half,” Galyon said. “It really depends how long we are together for. Over break we saw each other for a week, but one time I drove to Minnesota to see her for twelve hours”
Bates is in a similar situation. During the school year, she doesn’t get the opportunity to see her boyfriend too often.
“It’s hard when I don’t see him for like three weeks at a time,” Bates said. “I feel like it just makes time go by slower when we don’t see each other often enough.”
With technology so common in our everyday lives, it’s fair to ask if teens would rather text or FaceTime than see their significant other in person.
“I would definitely rather see her in person than on the phone screen,” Galyon said. “That’s the whole reason I make so big of an effort to see her every month. If I couldn’t see her in person, I would choose to FaceTime her over other ways of communicating,”
Bates has a similar opinion to Galyon on this issue.
“I would rather see him in person because text never conveys what you really want to say,” Bates said.
Bates’ relationship has not always been long distance, making it different than Galyon’s.
“We saw each other almost every day in the summer, but since school started we haven’t been around each other as much,” Bates said. “About three or four days a month is how much we’ve seen each other while school is going on.”
With long distance relationships, there is a big focus on trust. It is seen as essential to make the relationship work. If you trust the other person, it can make a long distance relationship much easier.
“Trust and loyalty mean so much more in a long distance relationship than a relationship where you see that person every day,” Galyon said.
Trust issues can break a relationship apart and these issues are amplified by distance.
“Some people have trust issues when involved in a long distance relationship, but I don’t really have them,” Bates said. “I think it’s because we had already been dating for seven months before he went to college. Whenever we call each other, it’s not like ‘what are you doing?!’ because we trust each other and know what the other is doing.”
Communication is key in any relationship, but even more in long distance relationships. Today’s technology helps people communicate through many platforms.
Both Bates and Galyon use FaceTime to stay in touch when they are away from their significant other. This is true for many teenagers, as FaceTime has become a very popular communication tool.
“She and I have FaceTimed about every night for three or fours years now,” Galyon said. “There have been times where we wouldn’t as much, but there was never too long of a gap between calls.”
Many couples try to get on a nightly FaceTime schedule.
“FaceTime calls were a really big thing for us during the first semester,” Bates said. “We would usually call from nine to ten at night, and that would be how we talked.”
Long-distance relationships are made much easier today than they were even twenty or thirty years ago. People in long-distance relationships back then did not have the platforms we use to stay in touch. The main way people could communicate would be phone calls.
“I think that now that I know how to use it, technology has become essential to our relationship,” Galyon said. “I think that if I had it pulled from me now, a relationship like would be made very hard, but not impossible. It would definitely not be as strong, but there are ways we could make it work.”
Bates also explained what it would be like without today’s technology.
“We first started talking using Instagram, so it would have been difficult to ever get in contact with him if we didn’t have the technology we have now,” Bates said, “I think I would be feeling a lot more disconnect throughout the first semester of the school year if we couldn’t message each other.”
Galyon believes that he and Gardner’s relationship would be able to survive without today’s technology.
“If our relationship started off without today’s technology, it would definitely be harder than it is now,” Galyon said. “As crazy as it seems, I think that we could write letters and be okay as long as we still got to visit each other every month. Because I’ve discovered that not a whole lot changes in a month.”
Bates tells us what it would be like without technology such as smartphones in her relationship.
“If we had just phone calls, I think that we could still stay pretty close,” Bates said. “If we only had letters to communicate with, it would definitely be different, but I wouldn’t say having our relationship would be impossible.”