Technology takes a lot of heat for isolating people from each other. We’ve all seen those couples ostensibly eating dinner together in a restaurant but staring at their phones. And we’ve all groaned in pity.
But technology — when used right — can also bring you closer to the people you love. In fact, it can be one of the better tools in your romance toolbox. Valentine’s Day is a great time to start using it.
Sexting: Not just for teens
This one might seem obvious, but if you aren’t using texting to add spice to your relationship, you’re missing out. It’s not difficult — in fact, it’s lots of fun. And you don’t have to get embarrassingly raunchy. Just start flirting early in the day via text, then say something daring, build up to something hot, throw in some X’s and O’s, and then make a date to meet for dinner. I guarantee a fun evening. Just make sure you’re using the right app: You want a decent set of emoticons, the ability to keep texting when you’re on Wi-Fi, and some way to be sure you don’t inadvertently text something spicy to the boss. Try: WhatsApp, TextraSM, or another; there are lots to choose from.
Location, location, location
Location-aware apps like Life360 are sold as ways to keep tabs on the kids. But they can do wonders for your relationship, too. Thinking about her? Looking at an icon of where she is in the real world is surprisingly romantic. Tell her you looked, ask what she’s doing, or just say hi. The trust required to give someone else this kind of always-on location awareness will bring you closer. If you spend a lot of time apart, you’ll love being able to reach through the ether and connect. And it saves you from having to ask, “What time will you be home?”: You can have the app alert you when she leaves work.
A wearable connection
If you have a smartwatch or other wearable that buzzes when you get a text, tap that technology to heat things up. Set up a buzz that tells you it’s him texting — and tell him you did. Now he can text you some X’s and O’s just to make that thing buzz and let you know he’s thinking of you. Maybe you can even learn a little Morse code so he can let you know exactly what he’s thinking. No one else will notice. You don’t even have to look at your phone. (See also “Sexting Is Not Just for Teens” above; these are excellent used together.) Don’t have a smartwatch? Try the Ditto ($40). It’s a tiny wearable you can clip to a belt or shirt, and it’s designed to buzz only when the people you deem important call or text. It’s perfect for this.
If your kids yell at you to “get a room!” every time you start getting a little frisky at home, do it. You don’t have to plan a big vacation — or plan at all — to sneak off alone together. Just call the sitter and hit the HotelTonight app on your phone. It will find you discounted rates on hotels near you. Pick one you like, book it from the app, and get in the car. Then order room service and stay in.
A modern mix tape
Remember how sweet it was to make a mix tape for your girl — or to get one from her? It’s even easier now. Use Google Play, Rhapsody, or another streaming music site to create a romantic list of songs and send her the link. Or just text one song that expresses your feelings. She can listen to it by simply clicking the link. Filling her brain with the song that makes you think of her? Priceless.
If you are apart — even just because you are both at work — it’s fun to check in via Skype, FaceTime, or Snapchat instead of sending a text. Say something sweet or sexy or just reassure your sweetie that he or she is gorgeous. Just don’t talk about your to-do list or the boneheaded move your boss pulled. Take a few minutes to be silly, flirty, funny, or sappy in the middle of the day. It will make you both feel better.
Is your bedroom lighting creating the right ambience? If not, install some smart light bulbs — such as Ilumi or Philips Hue — so you can dial up lighting that’s perfect for romance (as well as for waking up and other moods) from your phone. Or just mount some standard holiday lights along the walls or around the furniture, then plug them into a smart plug that will let you control them from your phone or put them on a schedule. After all, romantic lighting should be the default setting for your bedroom.
When not out finding great deals, Christina Tynan-Wood can be found here on Twitter.