Does Modern Technology Make Separation Easier… or Harder?

a pause button
Image by wendEwho! Thompson / CC BY

I’ve spent the past few months separated from my nesting partner as he’s relocated to take a new job in Texas, and I’ve been staying mostly in Ohio to sell our old house and wrap up loose ends (traveling occasionally to Texas to help him with logistics).

And while it’s only temporary, how temporary it will be has been up in the air for weeks, depending on factors we can’t control, like what happens with real estate buyers, whether or not a bank finally sends me a car title after repeated followup, etc.

And even temporary separation, when you’re living in an empty house that strangers shuffle in and out of judging… well, it’s tough.

In some ways, technology is helpful. We can do video chats. Text each other quick live updates throughout our days. Send each other silly memes instantly.

But I often find myself wondering if it doesn’t make the separation harder.

I can remember having long-distance relationships back in the 90s when it cost $10 to talk to someone on the phone for a half hour long distance with a phone card. So the occasional call was a real event. Savored.

The rest of the time, you wrote some handwritten letters back and forth. Ones that you would read over and over again.

And other than that, you were shit out of luck. You just had to do without them and look forward to the next time you saw them. Because long distance phone bills could get out of hand. The entire household only had so many shared hours of Internet per month. And email wasn’t really a thing most people had (let alone social media or texts).

So you missed them. Lord, you did. But you got used to not talking to them really at all. Just enough to make plans to meet up again.

And until that happened, your brain basically hit pause. Until we meet again.

Shrinking Someone Down Instead of Truly Living Without Them

I’m finding that’s not the case in 2019. Instead, I find myself worried about how many texts I’m sending. Making promises to myself that I won’t send another before he texts back — and then breaking it.

Noting the times that he sends a lot of texts and the times that he seems to be silent and taking that personally.

When I have no idea what else is going on in his life.

The whole time, I find myself becoming more and more desperate, alone, and afraid. Because he’s still there in my life, he’s just shrunken down to a size where I find myself wondering if my memories of when we’re together are faulty.

With modern technology, we haven’t hit pause, we’ve turned down the volume.

I can’t figure out if technology makes separation easier… or harder?

Maybe it’s just a different kind of difficult.

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Books by Page Turner:

Dealing with Difficult Metamours

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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