Technology can draw couples closer and cause relationships to short circuit.

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There’s an intruder in my marital bed. Bright, colorful, seductive and easy to cradle, it is capturing my husband’s attention at night. And I’ve had enough.

The interloper is my husband’s iPad, a purchase I objected to strenuously. After a long day of squinting at my work desktop, my home desktop, my laptop and my cellphone, I am happy to unleash my eyeballs and retire to the quiet, still pages of an old-fashioned book. The iPad, with its cheerful icons and insistent gleam, invariably tugs my gaze away from my own reading material, an inescapable distraction. I can’t read next to it. My husband loves it.

Our tussle over e-reader versus “dead wood” (as technophiles would cruelly have it) isn’t the only device-based disagreement wedging itself between otherwise harmonious relationships. Recently, in an effort to troubleshoot a glitch on my iPhone, I asked a colleague for help. “I’ve thought about getting an iPhone,” she said wistfully. “But my husband is very anti-Apple. He doesn’t want any of their products in the house.”

Next to these kinds of disputes, political discord a la Mary Matalin-James Carville feels very 1994.

In one relationship, the man may insist on a Kindle while his wife may use a Nook. For other couples, it’s the persistent BlackBerry or iPhone divide or the old PC versus Mac debate. One partner uses a Zune rather than the near-ubiquitous iPod. Others argue the relative appeal of tablets over laptops.

Technology can draw couples closer. How adorable one pair might look marveling at items in the Apple store together! How lovely to trade books on the Kindle. Isn’t it darling the way they exchange videos of the children on their smartphones? So cute (or nauseating) when couples tweet back and forth or flirt on their partner’s Facebook wall.

But not all couples get along technologically. “My boyfriend, Bill, thinks my cellphone is ridiculous,” said Amy Robinson, 28, who still uses a 1990s-era Nokia. “He makes fun of me all the time: ‘Why do you still have that phone? What’s wrong with you?’ “

Bill Rice, 30, who works at a tech startup, was among the first people to get a Motorola Xoom. When the 4G Android was announced, he counted down the days to its release.

As compatible as a couple may be as friends, lovers and domestic partners, technological incompatibility can be infuriating. Because while couples love each other, they also adore their gadgets. Studies have demonstrated that people develop something akin to love for their cellphones, for example. One study found that young Australians believed “their cellphones were part of them.” In another study, only 1 percent of U.S. college students said that were they to lose their cellphone they “would try to live without one.” The introduction of Siri will probably only exacerbate the already documented tendency to anthropomorphize our clever little electronic companions.

Melody Chalaban, 35, an iPhone user and public relations manager at a software company, and Michael Swain, 35, Android owner and architect, illustrated the Save the Date for their October wedding with the image of an Android robot tossing an Apple logo high into the air. (Which person, if either, emerged the winner is open to interpretation.)

Even those who cannot tell a Birkin from a Bottega Veneta can become fervent about their chosen brand of contraption and fierce when challenged on its merits. For many, their personal chunk of Corning Gorilla Glass and polycarbonate becomes symbolic, a kind of character flag that identifies the owner as iconoclast, Luddite, techie or mechanically indifferent aesthete.

And a couple’s electronic identities don’t always match. “I hate both her iPads and her Kindle Fire,” Charles Ardai, 42, a managing director at D.E. Shaw Group and publisher of Hard Case Crime books, said of the tablet collection his wife, Naomi Novik, 38, owns. “I have an atavistic loathing of books that are not paper and ink.”

These differences, Ardai said, go deeper than a surface I-like-this-gizmo-better-than-that-one feeling. “Naomi is the ultimate early adopter because she’s fundamentally an optimist,” he said. “And I’m fundamentally a pessimist, which is why I write dark, brooding fiction and have quaint technological notions.” (Novik, for her part, specializes in science fiction and fantasy.)

It is interesting to note that gender disparities in gadget choices are not significant. A number of studies through the mid-2000s found that women are more attached to their cellphones than men are, though that tendency could change now that smartphones (with their capacity for gaming, stock price tracking and Internet dawdling) are taking over.

According to a November 2011 Internet survey of 1,300 online Americans by InsightExpress, a digital marketing research firm based in Stamford, Conn., iPad ownership skews male (11 percent of men online have one compared with 5 percent of women online). Men are also somewhat more likely to own a smartphone, 42 percent to 37 percent. When it comes to brands, however, while some research indicates that men tend to buy Androids and women, iPhones, other data show smartphone varieties equally popular among men and women.

This overall demographic harmony doesn’t make an individual case of techno-disjunction sting any less. Bill Douglas, 39, a social media consultant, felt betrayed when his wife, Bis Misra, a 37-year-old doctor, switched to the iPhone. “We got our first Droids together,” he said.

Regret? Or aggravation? Rich Hemlich, a 47-year-old marketing director for an auction website, said his girlfriend’s iPhone affinity drives him nuts. “She continually swears up and down that she’s not an Apple elitist but then lights up whenever anybody asks what kind of phone she has,” Hemlich, a committed Droid Razr owner, said.

He tried to persuade her, to “upgrade” but said: “That’s where we start getting into a battle. She keeps saying she’ll switch to an Android when her contract runs up, but then re-up the contract.” With everything else, “she’s completely straight with me.”

Whatever they say about respecting each other’s preferences, for many couples, conversion is the true goal. Deborah Sweeney, 37, a small-business owner from Calabasas, Calif., was a longtime BlackBerry proponent. “For the last seven years, my husband tried to get me to switch to an iPhone,” she said. “He constantly told me I was crazy.” When BlackBerry had a service failure this fall, he gloated, “See?” He finally persuaded her to swap phones in November.

“I honestly had feelings of withdrawal and remorse,” Sweeney said of the changeover. “It’s like your baby.”

Ideally, the converted acknowledge the error in their former ways. Jenna Chavez-Laszakovits, 25, a technical consultant in San Antonio, is a PC-Nook-LG kind of woman. Her husband, Eric Laszakovits, 31, is a Mac-Kindle-iPhone kind of man. For Christmas last year, he gave her an iPod. “It was a little overwhelming, to be honest,” she said. “But he’s a big proponent and wanted to share his love of Apple products. I guess the best outlet was Christmas.”

Laszakovits said: “Once she had it, she enjoyed it. The battery dies every day because she uses it so much,” a point his wife concedes.

But for many couples, efforts to win a mate over electronically only end in frustration. Emma Moore, 36, who owns a software company, bought a Nook for her boyfriend, Jim, shortly after they started dating. He has yet to turn it on. “It would make his life so much easier,” she said. “Instead, he lugs four newspapers to Peet’s every morning. It’s been quite a challenge for both of us.”

“One day, I think he will understand what I’m trying to do for him,” Moore said.

Ah, yes, one day, someday … he will change … by which time, the technology (if not the relationship) will have moved on.