Laptops in bed and cyber widows

and who said romance was deadFrom the Daily Mail 11/07/11:

    • “How men use technology to avoid intimacy in relationships”

Ah, there you go. Thanks for that bullet point, Daily Mail. When I read that, I thought this article was going to be about chaps heading into Ann Summers and coming out with something expensive which vibrates to avoid having to suffer the pains of sex any longer. Turns out your article had so much more in store.

My dislike for the Daily Mail aside, this is all very relevant stuff – particularly for under-pressure lawyers who rarely seem to be able to discern where the working day starts and ends. A lot of us are becoming surgically attached to our email (I know I am) and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I also know (more or less) where to draw the line. And if I misjudge it, my girlfriend soon tells me – one way or another.

There’s nothing wrong with breaking out the laptop and checking emails after work, but everyone needs to know when enough is enough. Surely it’s not that difficult?

Some evenings, we’d barely say more than a few words to each other,’ says Victoria, 38, a full-time mother.

‘When Craig came home at night, he’d have something to eat, then he’d open up his laptop to respond to work emails.

I still think this ‘technology-is-killing-my-relationship’ stuff is an utter fallacy. Technology use and spending quality time together needn’t be mutually exclusive. It’s down to users taking responsibility for your own conduct and not using modern communications as a pretext for why an ailing relationship is on shaky ground.

But hey – at least the Daily Mail got to fill up some column inches with this tripe. In between the bikini shots of whatever c-list trailer trash their photographers could snap, of course.

‘His virtual self became more important than his real self. We didn’t row about it — I’d try to make conversation, get no response and give up.

Maybe you’re just a boring conversationalist with nothing interesting to say, Vicky? Or perhaps you should have pinged him an email.

It wasn’t that we weren’t getting on. We just stopped communicating. Then, one evening, he sent an email to me that was meant for a colleague. It wasn’t racy or intimate, but it was flirty and jokey.

Oooh – flirty and jokey. The best kind then!

‘I felt sick to my stomach.

Oh, Christ... here we go...

He told me there was nothing in it. I believed him, but I realised he had more intimacy with this woman than he did with me.

I think that rather depends on your definition of intimacy. But still.

‘These days, people are on their mobiles at dinner; they spend hours on the computer or watching TV; and they are more connected to their Facebook friends than to the person they promised to love and cherish until death do them part.

I don’t use my mobile at dinner - that’s just rude. Plus it might get greasy in the process. But we do usually watch TV, stream something or are held up in separate rooms sulking after an argument. I thought that was just modern co-habiting bliss?

Facebook is cited in one in five divorces, according to lawyers, while a survey by website Divorce Online found that the phrase ‘mobile phone’ occurred in one in eight divorces citing unreasonable behaviour.

Yes, but that’s usually because the aggrieved partner has threatened to wedge it up their former lover’s a*s for cheating on them.

And let’s face facts: you can’t blame phone manufacturers adding cameras to their phones for your partner’s wandering eye. It’s the damn fault of the mobile network operators who make it so easy to send that snap of your naughty bits to a colleague for kinky thrills in a matter of seconds. Trying to do the same with Polaroids just wasn’t the same.

‘Technology is interrupting our relationships and allowing us to avoid each other. It has become a way of avoiding real relationships and intimacy.

Oh please! Technology can bring people together just as much as it can drive them apart. It’s how it’s used that matters. And this isn’t anything new; I’m sure television was looked upon as destroying the quiet tranquillity of family life when it first hit the big time. The fact that your hubby would rather exchange dirty emails with a colleague about how he’s going to ravage her over the boardroom table next week instead keeping up the pretence that your sham of a marriage is working, doesn’t mean that technology is to blame.

Maybe it’s time to start looking closer to home for the cause of your problems.

Just a thought.


  1. Well, I suppose it doesn't matter whether technology is to blame - so long as those marriages keep breaking down!

  2. Very true, John! God forbid anything should interrupt the revenue stream for divorce lawyers! :-)

  3. I had a girlfriend that used to get in a strop if i so much looked at my laptop...needless to say she got the boot :p

  4. Bruce Schneier tells people that if you see it in the news you don't have to worry about it, although he's usually talking about terrorism. A similar rule applies to the Daily Mail.

    I disagree that "His virtual self became more important than his real self." because, at the end of the day, this was his work email he was doing. He's not off playing Second Life, he's working. She should say "his job became more important than his wife/girlfriend/partner" and that's much more common.

    BTW, I can't imagine how awkward it would be to be in a room with someone for an evening and only say a few words to them.

  5. Ollie - oh that's harsh... your poor ex.

    Stephen - excellent... glad we share similar views on the Daily Mail.

    And yes, I think Vicky was just a bit self-centred. Maybe she should've suggested that her hubby dictates the content of the work emails whilst she types it. They would be getting some 'together time', she'd be making herself useful rather than sulking in the corner and he gets his work done. Everyone's a winner!
    (And, yes, I'd say the same thing if the roles were reversed - I'm no sexist... honest!) :-)

  6. The other upside of having one person dictate the email and the other person type it is that you'd very quickly get bored of doing it and it'd make one person typing into a computer a lot more bearable.


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