You probably have your phone near you right now. Is it in your hand as you read this? Is it on the table next to you or on the seat in the car while you drive? We have all become so ‘close’ with our phones. This ‘relationship’ can be a very intimate one where you may bring your phone into the bathroom with you and many people actually sleep with their phones (although I don’t recommend this). Today’s cell phones can actually be perceived as a threat to a relationship.
Many couples that I see in my office often argue about how much time each partner spends on their phone. The smartphone has been both helpful and hurtful to many relationships. By spending time on your phone looking at what your friends are doing (on social media), it can give your spouse the message that they are less important. One of the best things you can do for your relationship is to make eye contact and truly focus on your spouse/significant other. Before you decide if your phone or your partner’s phone has helped or hurt your relationship, let’s take a look at what feelings lie beneath the phone conversations …
If you and your spouse are in the car and you are driving and s/he is on the phone in the passenger seat, how does that make you feel? Do you feel alone? Resentful? Or maybe you are content and not bothered at all by it? Many people feel ignored when their spouse is on their phone instead of talking with them; whether or not they are on social media, answering emails or even working.
Here are some comments I hear clients say about their own phones or their partner’s phones:
“I left the house without my phone this morning and feel lost.”
“She’s always on her phone.”
“He’s always on his phone.”
“He never lets me look at his phone.”
“She won’t give me the password to her phone.”
If you or your significant other has uttered any of these words, you are not alone! So what can
you do about this?
Choose to put the phone down when you are with your partner; for at least a specific amount of time where you can give your undivided attention.
Turn off your phone after a certain hour.
Remind your partner you want your relationship to be a priority and make that happen. By spending too much time on your phone while your significant other is present is disrespectful to him or her.
Communicate clearly about your feelings-don’t use words like ‘always’ and ‘never’. Be clear about what role you both want your phones to play in your relationship.
Today’s smart phones make our lives much easier in many ways but like anything, too much of a good thing can create challenges.
I am going to turn my phone off now … right after I check Facebook … just for a couple of minutes. 🙂