07 Feb Do you love your smartphone more than your partner?
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- Do you love your smartphone more than your partner?
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As Valentine’s Day approaches we’re asking the tricky question “Do you love your smartphone more than your partner?” Are you making them feel like the third wheel in your relationship with your compulsive checking habits? It can be incredibly easy to do, and we have written about the dangers many times before: so here are the signs to watch out for!
Do you ‘phub’ them?
We are all aware of how phubbing (snubbing those around us by looking at our phone instead of engaging) can make people feel. We know how it feels when it happens to us (spoiler alert: not great) and many of us in recent years have taken to leaving our phone in a bag, or turning off notifications in order to fully commit time and energy to those we are with. Ironically it is when we are with our closest loved ones that we feel the least inclined to follow this rule. Perhaps it is because we see them all the time, perhaps it is because they know how vital that work email is, or perhaps we just don’t notice ourselves doing it. This has led to an epidemic of phubbing on unprecedented levels with more than 17% of people in a recent study admitted to phubbing those around them over four times a day. If you fall into that camp: beware!
Is your phone in your bedroom?
Another tell-tale sign that you may be prioritising your smartphone over your relationship is the physical spaces you allow it in. Are you, for example, winding down in the evenings by lying next to your partner on your phone: ignoring them? 40% of Americans take their phones to bed, so if you do too, you are not alone. But next time, remember how you feel when you want to talk with your loved one, listen to music together or just leave the space open for time together and you were shut down by them focussing solely on their phone. Maybe leave it outside the room tonight to give it a go?
When was the last time you had a phone free meal?
Similarly to the physical boundary of keeping your phone out of the bedroom, think about the boundaries you have around time such as meals. When you eat a quick breakfast or even leisurely dinner with your partner are you engaging with them? Or are you both sat together on your phones? Over 75% of Brits use their phones whilst eating, so again you are not in the minority but that doesn’t mean this is the healthiest practice for maintaining a solid relationship.
Are you intentional about your relationship?
Leading on from the last two: when you are using your phone with your partner present the most important question is whether you are using it intentionally. On average we check our phone every 12 minutes, often unconsciously. We can turn that off to a degree when spending time with those we don’t see often, and when we take part in planned activities. But, if you love your smartphone a bit too much, how often are you managing that level of concentration at home with your partner? Unfortunately in the age of smartphones we can’t simply relax into easy habits of communication: we must remember to intentionally make space and time for our partners without the distraction of screens. 70% of people have reported that smartphones regularly interfere with their relationships after all.
Has it come up before?
The last and most obvious clue that you love your smartphone more than your partner is if this is an issue in your relationship. Do you have conflict in the evenings, or at mealtimes over one of you focussing too much on your phone? Has it been mentioned by friends and family? Are you known as the one who can’t get off their phone? If that is the case then it’s time to make a change.
For more about how you can improve your relationships by getting a handle on your tech habits – pick up a copy of our new book: My Brain Has Too Many Tabs Open. Available to order here.