Smartphones and how we use them is a common problem in relationships, and it doesn’t seem to be going away. In fact, in 2010 Mashable reported that 10% of people under the age of 25 think texting is okay during sex. In 2013, Bost Inno found a study where that number had jumped to 20%. Now, I can’t attest to how these two surveys compare to each other but I think we see the trend.
You aren’t alone in this feeling, in the same study 12% of people in 2013 felt a smartphone was interfering in their relationship.
Modern technology is, well, modern. We haven’t exactly figured out what it means for us yet—what’s acceptable and simple multi-tasking vs. what’s down right rude. It’s kind of hard to marry our parents’ expectations on etiquette with the kind of lifestyle they couldn’t have possibly have fathomed. Luckily enough, though the way we communicate looks different today what we are communicating and our feelings in relationships haven’t all changed that much.
Why does it bother you? Do you feel ignored, left out, or do you just think it’s rude?
The first step anytime there is a conflict in a relationship is to look at yourself. What is really bothering you? Then ask, why is this really bothering you? In the case of the phone, is it the amount of time he’s using it (too many hours)? Is it the specific times he’s doing it (at dinner or during sex)? Or is it what he’s doing (group text, Instagram, Angry Birds)?
Why does it bother you? Do you feel ignored, left out, or do you just think it’s rude? Then ask yourself how you want to see this resolved.
This is essential because it takes away a layer of emotion so when you talk to your fiancé you aren’t acting strictly on hurt feelings or emotions. “Put the phone away! You’re always on the phone you never talk to me anymore!” is going to have a much different outcome than, “You know what… I understand you use the phone a lot for work emails, but when you do it at dinner it makes me feel like I’m eating alone. I know you don’t do it on purpose, but can we try a No Phone at the Table Rule?”
See the difference?
The truth is that smartphones aren’t going anywhere soon. And the more technology companies vie for our attention, the more attractive and embedded in our lifestyle they’ll become. You have to make peace with this fact, but your relationship doesn’t have to suffer.
Be open and honest about what you’re feeling and the specific changes you’d like to see. And lastly, be willing to compromise. That’s what relationships are about, right?
Brittany grew up in Connecticut but has lived all over the country, including Maryland, New York, and Arizona before settling in Los Angeles in the fall of 2012. She completed her undergraduate program from Arizona State University in Political Science with a minor in psychology and received her Master’s in Social Work from University of Southern California.
A lover of love, Brittany created a concierge business in 2014 centered around helping relationships thrive by providing gift reminders and date ideas for busy couples. Upon finishing her masters, she has shifted her focus to a more clinical approach, helping couples overcome obstacles without losing themselves or each other, and working with executives and brands on developing mindfulness, leadership skills, problem solving skills.