You see them everywhere. People out on dates, looking at their phone screens rather than each other. You see couples not talking because one of them is doing email while they are out and about. The pesky smart phone has even crept into my home to my dismay and is having an effect (see My Husband’s New Bad Habit.)
The world of technology has changed a lot in this last generation, and many lament that smart phones and tablets and their tendency to infiltrate every second of our waking lives have ruined the sanctity of intimate relationships.
And it’s true, in many ways gadgets like smart phones and tablets that are always connected to the world “out there” can easily get in the way of intimacy and conversation. They can distract during times when you’d do better to spend time communicating with the person you love (or hope to love if only he would get his nose out of the phone screen).
Having a phone that is constantly letting you know when you have a work email, when someone has commented on your Facebook post, or sending you a message can often make you feel a slave to technology rather than a living breathing human with a choice to unwind and switch off and just be with someone.
You are still the boss over your gadgets and you can decide when to switch them off or put them on silent mode.
Many couples put the phone out of reach during times when they want to be together. There’s no reason why you should be constantly on call for work 24 x 7 (and if there is, it’s time to rethink your career plans if you ever want to be in a relationship that works). You can make times when you take a few minutes to check mail, respond to messages, or check your social profiles. Once the time is over, put your gadgets away and focus on your relationship.
Although they can be a distraction, you can also use smart phones to enhance intimacy in a close relationship.
Use them to stay in touch while you’re apart by sending messages, voice messages, or photos during the day.
If either of you has to travel or you can’t be together or a few days, you can use Skype and other apps to stay in touch, talk, and keep close. Long-distance relationships have, in many ways, become easier to maintain thanks to smart phones and the ability to stay in touch.
There have always been distractions getting in the way of couples staying close. You can’t just blame the phone because in the past there were hobbies that took all our time, guys (usually it was the guys) spending all day at the golf course or any of us getting drawn into work more than was good for our relationships.
In the end, if you want intimacy, if you want a strong relationship, you’ll have to do your part to create it and nurture it and not blame outside influences.
Whatever your opinion is of technology and smart phones, they’re here to stay and it’s up to you how you deal with them. Use them to good effect to send messages and stay in touch with those you want to get closer to. And set boundaries about using phones when you are with someone.
Limit your own use so that you focus more on him and less on what’s going on “out there”. And if you see he is distracted by a phone, make sure he knows that you object and won’t put up with such rudeness and lack of consideration. (I am still fighting that battle but I AM fighting!) Don’t allow technology to take over your life.
Over to you: Is technology ruining relationships these days in your view? Have you noticed technology having an effect on your own relationship or dating life? Please share in the comments below
Scheduling time to be off grid is important in all facets of life.
Fred Mcmurray recently posted…How coffee saved this worker’s unemployment claim
So true Fred – not just for relationships.
Ana recently posted…Quick Relationship Tip: Get Enough Sleep
Hi Ana, we are too quick and eager to blame our gadgets when it is really the users. The gadgets are inert things. It is us who is in control. Technology helped my partner keep in touch when we were living on different continents – he in Africa, me in America. Now that we are in the same place, we take turns falling asleep watching movies on TV. 🙂
Lily Leung recently posted…LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE
Thanks for sharing Lily. I think we can all control what happens individually. The only worrying thing is what becomes acceptable behavior in society, and therefore it becomes more difficult to achieve a balance at home. Difficult, but not impossible.
Ana recently posted…10 Bad Times To Talk To Your Guy
Hi Ana. Your post is relevant for all relationships! I took a decision in early 2009 to disconnect my Blackberry service because I could see the signs of internet addiction and the jump from the dining table to find out who had posted what on Facebook or getting up at 1 am in the morning because a device which was meant to keep me in touch with the world had done a ping. I’ve done the same with my Smartphone and yes, it has made me a better family member who is attentive to her loved ones. By reciprocity, when my family sees me working on the computer, they know I am not to be disturbed.
Yet I see friends and other relatives who will sit down with you for a meal to catch up after a long time and the first thing they do when the dish is served is post a photo on Instagram or Facebook or keep checking their messages when others are sharing an alleged deep level conversation. Not very respectful of the other person. I have a rule for myself – if I am out and I see a call or message, I only respond if it is from my family or someone who I know is meant to contact me. I also let the meeting companion know that in such event, I will have to take the call. It’s all about courtesy and showing respect for others.
Vatsala Shukla recently posted…How to contain damage when your email gets hacked
Thank you for your very thoughtful comment and sharing your experience Vatsala. These are great rules to live by. I have a friend who does that exact same thing as your friends and relatives. When we are out for coffee in a group, she never stops looking at her cellphone and takes calls/answers messages etc. I haven’t said anything yet, but it’s so annoying, I’m sure it won’t be long!
Ana recently posted…How To Get Your Bedroom Back From Your Kids
So is my life affected by my wife being addicted to smartphone. But I have a feeling that my battle is lost already. Whenever we watch film she’s always on her phone. She puts it down for 5 minutes and comes back to it. Or sometimes she “watches” film with nose in her smartphone. When I mention something or stop the film she gets aggresive and is saying that she can multitask. That’s just one example of many. I’m fed up.
I think this is a type of addiction, so difficut to give up. Every message is a shot of dopamine. Have you tried going out on dates so that you talk more? I have to get my husband away from the TV in the same way Ana x
Ana recently posted…Should You Use Mobile Dating Apps?