Technology has, in many ways, improved our love lives beyond our wildest imaginings. There are vibrators that plug into USB ports that memorize sequences and the way you like it. There is vibrating underwear that your lover can manipulate from afar. Of course, that's not all.
Internet dating is now so mainstream that what was once stigmatized as being for losers who couldn't find love without help is now pretty normal. And yet even with all these improvements to our love lives and prospects, the truth is not everyone is handling technology in the right way when it comes to love.
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Last week when I was out on date night with my husband, we saw tables and tables of couples, each of whom were on their smartphones. Were they texting each other? Probably not. What does that mean for those couples? What kind of etiquette should people practice when it comes to technology and romance? We asked experts and came up with five technology love commandments. Think of it as love etiquette for the Internet age. And make sure you follow it.
1.) Thou shalt move fast. When it comes to dating -- and online dating especially -- speed is of the essence. The Internet moves at an incredibly rapid pace and the fact is, if you snooze, you lose.
"Quality men aren't going to wait around on a dating site to message you 15 times before getting your number," says Brenden Dilley, relationship coach and author of Still Breathin': The Wisdom & Teachings of a Perfectly Flawed Man. "If you're interested, go for it! Don't want to give out your number to strangers? No problem! Google Voice offers free phone numbers. Set one up and get in the game!"
2.) Thou shalt leave your phone in your purse. I don't get the couples who are on their phones whenever they are out. And this goes for married couples as well as dating couples. Both my husband and I are guilty of this and we BOTH need to stop. If it matters in the beginning, it matters later, too.
"If you're texting while on a date with me ... we're on our last date together," says Dilley.
Dr. Tina Tessina, a psychotherapist and the author of Money, Sex, and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, agrees: "Texting might be accepted today, but it's still rude and says to your date that whatever the text is about is more important than he is. Don't do it."
3.) Thou shalt not overuse emoticons. We ALL know these are cheesy, but we can't help ourselves :) See! It's so easy. In all seriousness, emoticons are a dealbreaker for some men and women. With good reason.
"If you're making a joke that could be mistaken, an emoticon is useful, but using them too much makes you look immature and silly," says Dr. Tessina. "If you're going to text him, make sure you spell things correctly (you don't want to look stupid) and are being appropriate. Accepted abbreviations like 'LOL' are OK, but don't overdo them. Some texts can become incomprehensible, and you want to communicate."
4.) Thou shalt google before a date. It might seem like a crazy notion, but the fact is googling before a date CAN be really smart -- no matter what they say on How I Met Your Mother. Think about it: There is a way to know SO much about your date that he can't control BEFORE you go out. You can walk into your date already ahead of the game. It's just smart!
"Find out what you can, but don't become a stalker," says Dr. Tessina. "If things are going well, you can confess you googled him and what made a good impression on you. Definitely don't accuse him of anything or criticize anything you found."
5.) Thou shalt not text after a good date. Call me old-fashioned, but no. Just don't. Here's why: No matter what, you look desperate. I am sorry to say it, but it's true. If he likes you, he will text. Experts agree.
"Texting is a lazy form of communication and should be infrequent in the beginning of a relationship, says Michelle Frankel of NYCity Matchmaking and Consulting. The man should reach out to the woman if he is interested in pursuing her. Texting first pretty much says: I am waiting for you to ask me out again. It completely eliminates the 'chase and anticipation,' which is healthy for new relationships."
And we didn't even get into sexting ... It's a personal decision. Unless you are under 18. In which case, just don't. Do not. You've been warned.
One bonus warning on Facebook: Be CAREFUL who you friend, says Stef Safran, a dating expert in Chicago. "Don't become Facebook friends right away with someone you are dating," she says. "Make sure you are moving forward in the relationship because friending is easy, defriending is hard." And that's pretty much wise in more ways than Facebook. Keep your tech light until it's time to move to the next level.
What are your rules for technology when it comes to dating/love?
Images ©iStock.com/onurdongel and ©iStock.com/JulNichols
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