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Even Geeks Need a Breather

All week, I've been burned out on technology. I haven't wanted to read e-mail, much less answer it. I haven't felt like logging into IM, despite the clients and friends who expect me to be there. I haven't even wanted to pick up my phone.

In my job, I can't boycott technology for a day, much less a week. I've been forcing myself to bang out e-mails and make the necessary phone calls.

But when I'm done working for the day, I've been flopping on my bed with a novel in hand and the phone turned off. No social e-mail or chatting -- there's not a keyboard in sight.

I even wrote this column the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper.

I'm sure this is familiar to you. If you're reading Wired News, it stands to reason that you spend a lot of time at the computer. All geeks burn out on tech once in a while, and even gamers need the occasional break from the controls. (Really.)

But how many couples confuse technology burnout with relationship burnout? You start projecting the anti-IM sentiment onto the person on the other end of the dialog. Or you resent the friend calling you when you suddenly can't stand the sound of the polyphonic ring tone you paid $2 for.

Maybe you're not tired of the other person, you're just tired of the computer, or the webcam, or the teledildonics, or the headset you use with your Skype account. Or all of the above.

Modern technology makes long-distance relationships viable in ways previous generations can only envy. And yet having the ability to communicate constantly leads to the expectation of constant communication.

If the flood of e-mail and text messages suddenly slows to a trickle, it's understandable that the other person will start to feel anxious and confused.

One friend, wise in the ways of long-distance love, says, "You can be in love with them and still just want to come home and watch TV. It's when they take it personally, as a rejection or a sign you don't want to be with them, that the trouble starts."

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