News / USA

Love in Digital Age Offers Opportunity, Dangers

Digital connections can make - and break - relationships

Social media can make it easier to form romantic connections but there's also a down side.
Social media can make it easier to form romantic connections but there's also a down side.
Faiza Elmasry

In today’s fast-paced world there are more ways to communicate than ever - e-mail, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter and other types of social media. Relationship experts say such connections can help fuel passion and have already changed the way people date and fall in love. Yet, technology can cause people to fall out of love, too.

Game changer

Digital connections have changed the dating game. As two young, single women from New York City, that's something Olivia Baniuszewicz  and Debra Goldstein learned firsthand.

"First of all we’re flirting more openly, a lot more often," says Baniuszewicz . "Things like your phone for texting, or even just the Internet on your phone just helping you plan a perfect night out."

"So we decided we needed to figure out the world of texting and we wrote a book about how to navigate through this new love connection," says Goldstein.

'Flirtexting: How to Text Your Way into His Heart' explores how texting has changed the dating scene.
'Flirtexting: How to Text Your Way into His Heart' explores how texting has changed the dating scene.

The two women named their book, "Flirtexting: How to Text Your Way into His Heart." During the course of their research, they interviewed dozens of people to find out what they thought about flirt-texting.

"It’s become like a convenient way for people to connect through busy, fast-paced lives," says Baniuszewicz. "Also, it eliminates the shyness factor. It makes us a lot more open to saying things that we normally wouldn’t in person."

Goldstein agrees. "It’s really cool. If you are in a long distance relationship, for I actually was, it really, really helps to stay connected."

Relationship expert David Coleman, who's known as the Dating Doctor, agrees - to a point.

"Still with things like Skype or I-chat and texting and phones - just all the things that are available - long distance relationships often don’t succeed," he says. "We really miss the other person’s presence. Up to a point, sure, I can see the other person on the screen, they can see me. We can keep a bit of our passion alive, but at some point in time, if we can’t be in each other’s physical presence, the pain of being in a long-distance relationship will finally outweigh the benefits of being in it."


Coleman says technology has revolutionized the way people meet and date.

"You can Google someone, you can go on Facebook, you can go on LinkedIn, you can go on Twitter, you can find out so much about these people before you even say ‘Hello,’" he says. "There should never again be a ‘blind date’, unless someone has completely voided their life of any social media."

That’s why, Coleman says, people should be careful about the image they create for themselves online.

"If you go to most of younger women’s websites on Facebook, you will see their profiles, they got some provocative things put up there. So you have to be a bit careful of the pictures that you’re putting up. Never ever give people your land address and things like that, because you just don’t know who is reading that profile."

Coleman notes that even the older generations are dating digitally and finding love on-line.

"Many of them are finding their ex-high school sweethearts on Facebook or someone they used to date years and years and years ago. And those couples are reconnecting and they are marrying. Now conversely, people are finding past love on Facebook and telling their current spouses, ‘I’m so sorry, I thought I’d never find this person again, but Facebook brought us back together. We had something special and we want to try to have it again.’ I have a friend who is a lawyer. He says in most of his divorce cases now, Facebook is being cited as a reason for that divorce."

Word of caution

Lovers, Coleman warns, should also realize that e-mails and text messages can be a double edged sword.

"Let’s say that I say, ‘I don’t think we should be together anymore. I’m breaking up with you,’ and I text that. The person who gets that text message can read that over and over and over again. And the more they read it, the madder they get. That’s what social media has done. And conversely it can be, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you’ and they can go back and read that 50 times, too. So it works both ways."

With that caution in mind, Flirtexting authors Goldstein and Baniuszewicz have come up with some digital love do’s and don’ts.

"If somebody sends you a text message, you don’t have to respond back right away," says Goldstein. "In fact, we interviewed a lot of guys and they say that response time says a lot about the girl. Also abbreviations, our motto is 'if you don’t want a date, abbreviate.' So we say, spell your words out. You have the time to create a message that says exactly what you want to say in that space. And just because it’s accessible it doesn’t mean you need to be doing it 24/7. You do not want to get a marathon texting situation."

Baniuszewicz adds,"Have a healthy balance between everything; texting, Facebook, Twitter. It's a way to enhance a connection throughout the day. You need to use everything in moderation."

And, they add, even though texting is more convenient, writing a love letter, or sending a poem with a card gives a modern relationship a special personal touch that a message on Facebook just can’t match.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs