Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar to you? You are constantly having to ask your partner to repeat snippets of conversation because you’ve been too distracted by your phone? You’re in the middle of watching a movie, then just as the action reaches an important point, a friend calls and instead of putting the chat off until later, you hit the ‘pause’ button and answer. Or how about that candlelit meal your partner was so looking forward to, only for the evening to be interrupted by a string of texts, emails, and Facebook messages?
Sure, there are many ways of taking advantage of technology, from mobile banking to your favorite matchmaking service. But being overly-reliant on your smartphone is something you really need to pay attention to. It could completely ruin your relationship in so many ways.
Lack of attention
The bottom line is this. If you are paying so much attention to that little screen in the palm of your hand, to the extent your partner feels they are being ignored, you need to curb your smartphone use. Seriously. How would you feel if the situation was reversed and you were the one who was always having to repeat yourself; or worse still, being asked to keep quiet for a while as they tapped out their reply to some random text message?
In the majority of cases, focusing on social media or emails can be dismissed as a bad habit, but it might be taken as an indication of something much deeper. Your partner might well become suspicious your lack of interest is covering up your dissatisfaction with the relationship. While you might consider it harmless you can’t resist being drawn into a Twitter thread, your partner might well assume something far worse, such as you’ve met someone else. What if they decided to make a pre-emptive strike and finish things? Perhaps your nose will still be buried in the screen when the door slams shut as they depart.
The constant demand
Obviously, there will be occasions where you would prefer ready access to your smartphone. But unless you’re expecting an important work-related call or news about someone who is in hospital, there’s really no need to keep your phone by your bed. And certainly avoid keeping it within easy reach while you’re driving. There are even hot debates about whether a hands-free conversation is just as distracting to a driver, so the most recommended course of action would be to ignore your phone while you’re on the road. If you are anticipating important news, pull into the side at a safe parking place.
Neither should being a passenger give you carte blanche to spend your journey intent on your smartphone. Aside from having to content with road conditions or examples of bad driving, the one thing guaranteed to really annoy the person behind the wheel is when their companion is zoned out, fingers furiously tapping away as they seem to be doing everything in their power to avoid conversation.
The phone replaces intimacy
Many people automatically fire off texts rather than actually conversing with a partner or friends. It’s convenient to touch base with a few platitudes but this can come across as impersonal. There’s nothing wrong with sending messages to a loved one written in short-hand, containing a smiling face with heart eyes. But if this is your default form of communication, the longer-term impact will be to erode the sense of intimacy you once enjoyed in your relationship. Text now again by all means, but also take the time to actually articulate your feelings. You’ll never ruin your relationship by whispering sweet nothings!