February 11, 2014 1:12 pm

Internet use may be helping or hindering your love life

“This is Your Out,” is a Waterloo, Ont., startup that aims to save people from embarrassing and awkward social situations with the press of a button.

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TORONTO – Between online dating and social media, the Internet has become a strong presence in the love lives of many.

But new research shows that 27 per cent of adults who are in a committed relationship say the web has impacted their relationship – most in a positive way.

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According to a new Pew Research Center study, 21 per cent of committed adults felt closer to their partner thanks to exchanges they had online. Nine per cent even said they used the web to resolve an argument that they were having trouble fixing in person.

READ MORE: Love is in the air and on the web

But our devices can also bring tension into our relationships.

Eight per cent of couples admitted they had gotten into an argument over the amount of time their partner was spending online.

And couples may want to consider having a device-free Valentine’s Day to prevent an argument: one in four couples said they have felt that their partner was distracted by their smartphone while spending time together.

The Pew Research study also found that many couples share online lives.

According to the study, 27 per cent of couples have a joint email address and over 60 per cent of people share their passwords to social media sites or email accounts with their beau.

“Long partnered couples are more likely to say they share email accounts and social media profiles,” said Amanda Lenhart, lead author of the Pew Research report.

“It’s about timing – in many cases these couples were together when they first started using the technology and began using it as a unit, while those who have been in a relationship for a shorter period of time were still independent actors when they first set up their account.”

Younger couples are more likely to be affected to their partner’s web habits

Couples aged 18 to 29 are more likely to report that the Internet and devices have had an impact on their relationship, with 21 per cent reporting it has a major impact.

It seems that more young couples are easily distracted by their devices as well – 42 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds reported they felt their partner ignored them to play with their smartphone while they were together.

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Eighteen per cent of couples in that age group said they argued about the amount of time their partner spent online.

But oddly enough, the devices that are causing fights in these relationships seemed to bring many couples closer together.

Forty-one per cent of younger couples said they felt closer to their significant other thanks to online or text conversations.

“For younger adults and those in newer relationships, tools such as cellphones and social media were there at the beginning and play a greater role today for good and ill,” said Lenhart.

© 2014 Shaw Media

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