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Love in the Time of Caller ID

When we’re always in touch but never in reach, can true love blossom?

That's All She Wrote continued...

The cold, impersonal nature of such rejection can magnify the very real pain felt by the one who is jilted, but also, surprisingly by the one who does the jilting. In a study of the mental and physical health effects of unrequited love, Roy F. Baumeister, PhD, and colleagues in the department of psychology at Florida State University reported that romantic rejection is "a symbolic evaluation of one's deficient worth -- in other words, a humiliating blow to one's self-esteem."

In contrast, rejecters feels guilty, especially if they feel at fault for having led the others on or given them false hope.

"But even rejecters who did not lead the other on may still feel distressed about inflicting pain, thus creating the seeming paradox of feeling guilty despite self-perceived moral innocence," the researchers found.

Feelings of worthlessness and guilt may also be symptoms of clinical depression. And in fact, break-ups may lead to an episode of major depression, which can be triggered by such major life events as interpersonal disputes, role transitions (when the lover is no longer part of a couple), and by interpersonal deficits, leading to social isolation or feelings of being deprived.

Not Tonight, Honey

Technology makes our lives easier, agrees O'Neill from the Menninger Clinic. But he also worries that loss of face-to-face and hand-to-hand contact can drain the essential human element from day-to-day dealings.

"I think when you start talking about text messaging, emailing, answering the phone, spending the time online, then I'm starting to think about how does that interfere with some of the basic human connections? Being able to look somebody in the eye and talk about love, and fear, and anger -- all the wonderful things but also all the necessary things that can be uncomfortable."

O'Neill says that for many people workplace technology has spread like a fungus, extending its reaches into the home and other once-private spaces.

"When someone gets up in the morning, they may check their email first thing in the morning, and then they jump in their car and talk on their cell phone or check messages all the way to work," he says. "Then they work all day and on the way home they're talking on the phone and checking messages again. So there really isn't that time anymore to unwind and prepare, and whether they're workaholics or not, more and more people are at risk for just getting exhausted."

O'Neill cites the following warning signs that technology may be coming between you and your loved ones:

  • You spend more time on email or returning phone calls than in activities with family of friends.
  • You're late for appointments or engagements because you got caught up in texting, surfing, or talking on the phone.
  • You text, send email, or leave voicemail when face-to face interactions would be more appropriate.
  • Your family and friends ask you to stop, but you can't, and you get irritated when others complain about your use of technology.
Next Article:

What physical changes do you experience when in love?