If your love life is feeling strained in the lead up to Valentine's Day, maybe it's time to reconsider your relationship...with your computer.
Using the PC is the third biggest source of stress in a relationship, beaten only by work-related issues and financial worries. When surveyed, 41 percent of U.S. adults who are married or in a relationship claim that time spent on the computer is a source of stress in their relationship, with 23 percent of couples believing that their partner devotes too much time to their PC.
Dr. John Gray, relationship expert and author of "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus," said of the findings: "A computer's performance can increase or lower stress in a relationship. We're living in a world where most people spend more time with a computer on a daily basis than they do with their spouse or significant other."
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Making matters worse is that computing performance itself is also becoming an issue. The nationwide survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Crucial.com also discovered that 27 percent of women admit that their computer has been a greater source of stress than their partner over the last six months. Additionally, 21 percent of couples claim that when their computer crashes, freezes, or does things too slowly, it creates more stress than an argument.
"These findings are fascinating because of the changing dynamic between people and their computers," added Dr. Gray. "I have a lot of couples coming to me about issues that cause tension in their relationships. Of course, finances and job stress are the usual suspects, but I am also hearing more concern about time spent on the computer."
However, that doesn't mean that couples can start blaming their computer as the source of all of their unhappiness: 58 percent of men and 64 percent of women accept that an argument is still more stressful than computer issues.
And, as crucial.com's Roddy McLean points out, it's comparatively easy to upgrade or correct a stressful computer: "Unlike our relationships with others, often times improving the relationship we have with our computers is as simple as restoring lost performance with a do-it-yourself memory upgrade."