- Distracting You from Being with Your Partner
I know personally how difficult it is for couples to plan a date night. Work schedules, kids, and stresses of life are all pulling us in a million different directions. Then, once every two weeks or so we get that precious 2 hours just to go out, get dinner, and be able to focus on each other and our relationship.
We sit down, order, try to talk to each other for a few minutes and before you know it, we are checking our phones. Nooooooooo! Looking around the restaurant I see that every one else is on their phones as well instead of connecting with whatever human beings they are sharing a meal with.
- Missing Important Moments to Connect
Around 10% of people report that they have checked their phones during sex. We are so plugged into the digital world that we can’t unplug even for the most intimate situations with our partner. 72% of people report needing their phone to be at least 5 feet away from them at all times.
For my wife and I, we have gotten into a bad habit of using our phones before we fall asleep. We lay next to each other in bed, staring at our phones, completely in our own worlds, missing this important opportunity to connect with each other.
I just heard a podcast where someone mentioned that he and his wife have a little table outside of their bedroom where they leave their phones before going to bed. My wife and I have been talking about how this “no phones in the bedroom” rule might be workable in our life.
- Feeling Distracted All the Time
There are numerous studies exploring how this world of screens we now live in has led to all kinds of attention issues for people. We are all less able to focus our attention on anything. This can be particularly harmful when we can’t even focus on the people we are closest to in our life.
We might have a couple of hours a day at home together after work, but how much of that are we actually “together?” Instead of focusing our attention on our partner, relationships, or family we are unable to unplug ourselves from the illusion of connection we feel with the outside world.
It is nice to think that there is someone, somewhere out there who wants to communicate with us. Unfortunately, this is usually just a distraction from the meaningful relationships we have right in front of us that will provide more lasting happiness in our lives.
- Facebook/Instagram/Twitter Can Be a Source of Jealousy and Anxiety
“Who is this new guy you just friended on facebook?” “Why did you say Happy Birthday to that guy?” “Did you used to be in a relationship with this person?”
These are just a few examples of questions that might come from your partner exploring your facebook connections, particularly if he is prone to anxiety. All of the information we can gather about partners on social media sites creates a multitude of reasons to feel jealous and anxious even if there is no justification for it. Those relationships on social media make us feel good, but they aren’t nearly as important as our relationship with our partner and family.
Conclusion: There is No Substitute for Face to Face Contact
I recently downloaded an app called bitmoji. It allows you to create a character that resembles you. You can use it to text pictures of that character with certain messages like “OMG” or “I love you” to other people. This has been a fun way for me to stay connected to my wife throughout the workday and I definitely encourage texts and emojis in general, but it is important to remember that this is definitely not the same as time that is spent together with our partners.
No matter how busy you might be make sure to carve out this time to put your phones away and just be with each other. You don’t even have to create pressure to talk.
Shane Birkel is a therapist in Dover, NH working with Individuals and Couples from all over the Seacoast of New Hampshire. Shane specializes in working with people on their relationships.