Old-Fashioned Love

BY KIMBERLY JAHNS

My parents have been married a long time. I would specify a time limit, but my mother has bestowed the fear of God in me to mention anything that may even hint at her age. But trust me, it’s a pretty long time (add ten years to my age and that’s roughly how long).

My parents have, in my opinion, a very boring love story. They met each other at St. Norbert College through friends. And that’s pretty much it. The proposal wasn’t much of a surprise either, because they had already talked about marriage.

Romance has been built up in our society with roses, grand gestures and 24/7 attention. These are no longer the outliers but rather the new norm. The bar has been raised.

Cell phones, texting, Facebooking, emailing: none of these were available to my parents when they were dating. They tell me about phone calls they had. Nothing too substantial seemed to really come from calling but rather just being able to talk to each other. Living three hours away from each other, they also did not have easy access to simply hang out.

Compared to older generations, relationships happening in this generation are kind of obsessive. You could literally track your partner via their phone, know their every move, who they may be with, how long they spent there. This information seems like the work of a stalker, not a partner who cares about you.

I think we are flooded with too much information and, because we care about another person, we want to know as much as we can about them. Part of the adventure of a relationship is learning about the person. But if you can just look up all this information, why even bother? There is no mystery anymore.

As much as I love texting, being able to communicate with someone immediately can drive a person up the wall. I wish sometimes I could throw my phone into the river just to have an excuse to be cell-phone free. If you do not respond to a text within a few hours, people get upset and things snowball out of control. You end up having arguments over text. I want a moment to myself.

Even partners need time apart, especially technologically. As much as I enjoy communication, I almost wish relationships were similar to how they were back in my parents’ college years. Everything seemed less complicated and there were less ways to try and communicate with someone.

There is a quote from the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” that sums up relationships in our generation versus older generations’: “I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work so I called him at home and then he e-mailed me to my Blackberry and so I texted to his cell and then he e-mailed me to my home account and the whole thing just got out of control. And I miss the days when you had one phone number and one answering machine and that one answering machine has one cassette tape and that one cassette tape either had a message from a guy or it didn’t. And now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”

To my parents for creating a relationship in the land of the dinosaurs, you are stronger people than me. But for my generation, I would like to think we still have hope in our obsessive, information-hungry society. Cheers and good luck to keeping relationships strong in the land of the robots.

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