As we have mentioned previously on The Gottman Relationship Blog, Dr. John Gottman’s groundbreaking research with couples has allowed us at The Gottman Institute to apply his work to a much broader spectrum of human relationships. Today, we are excited to announce a brand-new series that will focus on the role that technology plays in our most intimate relationships. Without further ado, we bring you Relationships in The Digital Age: The Gottman Perspective. 

We have been receiving messages of the following sort for quite some time: 

I was wondering if The Gottman Institute does anything for the younger generation. I am not married, but it’s my understanding that your teachings apply to all couples, so I’ve been diligently taking notes and lecturing my own parents and friends on how to be a better relationship partner.

With so many readers asking us to share our wisdom with the younger generation, we are happy to oblige! Starting today, The Gottman Relationship Blog will seek to tackle some concerns that Generation Y-ers face in the relationship sphere. 

We will seek to expose, analyze, and develop strategies for countering the difficulties of communication and connection that technology brings into our lives by applying The Gottman Method.*

In this new series, we mean to help all readers, regardless of relationship status or age, to navigate a new virtual landscape whose endlessly changing terrain guarantees a constant influx of new challenges.

Communicating through these new media can be just as complex as communicating in real life, or even more so.

We will work to develop an awareness of how networking technology can be used to help, not hinder, the strength and intensity of your relationships by showing you how to apply The Gottman Method to your virtual interactions.

We will teach you how the tools that you have learned from following our blog, reading Dr. Gottman’s books, and attending workshops may be applied in a completely different context. While many of the techniques and strategies for maintaining healthy relationships translate intuitively and directly from offline to online, crucial differences between the dynamics of face-to-face and cyberspace interaction require specific adaptation and deeper thought.

The Gottman Method will be our guide as we consider an array of topics, covering media from instant messaging (text messages and online chat) to social networking sites, answering the questions that we suspect are most relevant to you:

  • What do I do if my partner doesn’t respond to my text messages?
  • How long is reasonable to wait for a response to a text message?
  • How can I decrease the likelihood of misunderstandings in virtual communication with my partner?
  • What kinds of conversations are okay to have online?
  • When is it necessary to move a conversation offline?
  • How can the text medium be used to support intimacy?
  • How can my partner and I improve our ability to connect in cyberspace?
  • What should we do if conflict arises?
  • How can we talk about perpetual problems we experience in online interaction?
  • How can I keep my relationship healthy in the face of the pressures that have developed in the social networking revolution?
  • How can I keep myself and my partner sane, protecting our connection when the use of technology in communication is often unavoidable?

What are the problems that arise when you use technology to communicate with your partner? How can these problems be addressed? Tune in to The Gottman Blog to find out!

*DISCLAIMER: Dr. John Gottman has spent the past 40 years researching relationships, primarily focusing on married couples. He has also studied families, parents, and children. He has not performed research on the effects of technology on relationships. To appeal to relationships in the digital age, particularly the younger generation, we will be putting his proven findings on intimate relationships in conversation with journal and news articles from the fields of technology and social behavior.

More in The Digital Age
Relationships in The Digital Age: The Gottman Perspective

Ellie Lisitsa is a staff writer at The Gottman Institute and a regular contributor to The Gottman Relationship Blog. Ellie is pursuing her B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis on Cognitive Dissonance at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.