#TechSex: Jealousy and Surveillance

I have never been a fan of science fiction. Its too out there and definitely scary.  I find reality fascinating enough. Working with the unexpectedness of people’s behaviour , especially in their intimate relationships, is chilling – and thrilling. However  technology grabbed my attention. This  #tech world has always felt surreal , too immediate and at times , too unbelievable.  Its like living in a  full time science fiction world. Not quite Black Mirror – yet:)

Im not alone in my love of #tech. 52% of American adults surveyed say #tech has a positive impact on their lives. They say it provides them a network of information and easy accessible global communication . Naysayers argue that #tech is bad as it leads to a breakdown in communication and face to face interactions. Being a non binary person, I say integrate your digilife into your Real Life. However we have a Real Life  challenge.

As we move into  Virtual Reality as the next phase of our digilives,  we remain humans , not robots, with human emotions.  Emotions such as jealousy. One cannot escape this one . And it seems if you have it In Real Life, oh boy, you’re in trouble in the #tech world.

How about doing a quick self test:

  1. Rate your self esteem from 1 – 5 (5 being highest and 1 lowest)
  2. Rate your jealousy in personal relationships from 1-5 (5 being highest and 1 lowest)
  3. Rate how well you manage conflict with your partner from 1-5 (5 being highest and 1 lowest)
  4. Rate your FaceBook jealousy from 1-5 (5 being highest and 1 lowest)
  5. State if FaceBook has been positive or negative to your interpersonal relationships.
  6. Give reasons for your response.

At the end of June 2017 Facebook had more than 2 billion users. Facebook has been identified with positive aspects of people’s lives. It is said to satisfy interpersonal intimacy, social integration and satisfaction with life. It is also associated with negative factors. Jealousy, with women reporting higher levels, increased conflicts, loss of privacy, contributing to divorce, physical abuse and even crimes of passion .

And what do we humans do when we feel jealous? Your tendency to mate guard increases. Your need to protect a  threatened valuable resource , namely your partner, is heightened. Before #tech, chastity belts for women, patriarchy, financial abuse  ( and other forms of abuse) were used to contain and control   what you felt was your  personal property.  Jealousy is difficult to define , complex and difficult to know when it is acceptable or out of control.  It has been associated with low self esteem . It is also aligned with greater number of conflicts in a relationship. Couples who struggle with jealousy cannot  fight healthily. They turn to violent conflict strategies.

How to exert the same  control over  feelings of  jealousy in this age of #tech?

We use sophisticated forms of surveillance.

Geez, with #tech there is just nowhere to hide. FaceBook is a jealous bomb waiting to explode.  Facebook increases the amount of information people get from their partners. Photos, likes, friends, videos reveal way too much of your fantasies , cravings and skelms. A couple spent an entire therapy session agonising over why he did not protect her when his son did not tag her , the stepmother, in a family photo. Another couple spent the hour dissecting smiles, winks, emoticons she had placed on one of his friend’s FB page.

Viewing each other’s FB page as a daily ritual is a form of socially accepted control or supervision over your partner. Avoiding conversation with your partner , its way easier to turn to his/her FNB page to check his/her status at that moment.

Data from 3 Spanish – speaking countries were recruited. The goal of the study was to examine the factors associated with Facebook jealousy. The findings indicate that the propensity to experience romantic jealousy and low self esteem are the most important factors associated with Facebook jealousy. Low ability to negotiate and find solutions during conflicts and being more dominant are predictors of Facebook jealousy. People who are verbally aggressive , and fight to win show more Facebook jealousy while people who compromise in conflict show less Facebook jealousy.

#Tech surveillance is highly advanced . If you’re a jealous person, or had previous infidelity issues,#tech will bring out the surveillance maniac  in you.  6 billion text message are sent every day in the United States. Deleting messages are as easy as sending them. Apps are specifically designed to delete messages. The temptation to surveil one’s partner is huge. And many people believe they are entitled to do just this. According to one study one out of every three couples have at least one partner who monitored the other partner’s behaviour using some kind of #tech tool.

The problem with surveillance is that it turns you into a RoboCop. It never allows trust to be rebuilt as even if there is absence of  evidence does not mean that there is evidence of absence. And then you enter a Black Mirror world in which you are consumed with the world of #tech, believe the monsters you dream about and feel whenever you look at  your partner,  are real, and forget how to connect In RealLife.

Solutions to Facebook jealousy:

  1. If you have low self esteem, you should not be in a relationship that feels in any way unbalanced , over powering and where your voice is shut down
  2. Discuss feelings of jealousy when you are both rational .
  3. Discuss Facebook sharing – privacy is important , so is sharing friends
  4. Placing boundaries around surveillance is vital
  5. Manage conflict in healthy manner. Get therapy to assist with this.

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