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Modern romance: Is technology a friend in your love life?

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Cosumnes River College student Joseph Espinoza wakes up every morning to a text from his girlfriend, then rolls out of bed and checks his Facebook feed for any exciting news from his friends.

The 18-year-old psychology major sees that his friend changed his relationship status to “in a relationship”, and it’s accompanied by many comments and likes. Now that the relationship is Facebook official, the romance can begin.

In the days of Facebook, Twitter and cell phones, the way people conduct in romances has changed. Love letters have become text messages, and valentines cards have become ecards.

“I don’t think romance has changed,” Espinoza said. “It’s just different, it is so easy to sit behind a computer or a phone and express your feelings nowadays.”

Espinoza said he didn’t meet his girlfriend on Facebook, but admits it was easier to flirt and communicate at any time.

“A lot of our getting-to know-each-other conversations took place through text,” he said.

“I was also able to plan dates and hangouts a lot easier through text and Facebook.”

Communications professor Colette Harris-Mathews agreed that while the definition of romance hasn’t changed, the way people engage in it has.

“The way people engage in interpersonal relationships has changed based on social media and how people construct a relationship,” she said. “But the definition of romance or a particular type of love has not changed.”

Although Espinoza said romance hasn’t changed, the way we communicate is not romantic.

“I’m a bit of a Casanova, I enjoy hand written letters, poems and giving flowers,” Espinoza said.

Some students haven’t had as much luck as others.

“When someone breaks up with you through text, it hurts more than face-to-face, it feels like a lack of respect,” said 19-year-old business major Rickey Banks.

Harris-Mathews said that relationships have changed now that technology is available to us.

“You can meet someone over the Internet or you can tweet someone, you can create a whole persona,” she said. “You can meet someone over Twitter, you’ve never seen them, you don’t know them.It’s the type of persona someone’s created that attracts you.”

Communicating through the Internet or text can be more stressful than face-to-face interaction, said Harris-Mathews.

According to Match.com, 1-in-5 relationships start online, and that number is still growing.

“I have lots of friends that met their girlfriend or boyfriend through social media,” Espinoza said. “I won’t comment on how they are doing, but let’s just say that they didn’t quite live up to their Facebook biography.”

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Modern romance: Is technology a friend in your love life?