Your smart phone goes everywhere with you. It's in your back pocket, purse, and some women even resort to carrying them in their bras. This handy invention is great for grabbing directions, keeping in touch with family members, and taking work on the go with you.
Does you or your partner seem to be more interested in your cell phones than each other these days? If so, it may be time to start asking yourself “What is a healthy relationship?”
It's no secret that, even with the best intentions, we can all get a little distracted by our phones every once in a while. But, when this distraction happens while we're spending time with our spouses, it can create big problems in the relationship.
What happens when your smartphone starts interfering with your romantic relationship? Here are 4 ways your smartphone is interfering with your relationship and what you can do to save your romance.
1. Partner Neglect
Ignoring your spouse in favor of your cellphone has actually garnered its own term: “Phubbing”
In a Baylor University study of 308 adults, more than 45% admitted they felt like they were being phubbed by their partner.
This phenomenon has been shown to greatly decrease relationship satisfaction.
To back up this data, this Chinese study surveyed 243 married adults and found that ignoring a partner in favor of your phone may undermine relationship satisfaction and that “partner phubbing is a significant risk factor for depression among those married more than seven years.”
2. Interfering with your Sex Life
What is a healthy relationship? Many would answer it as one where partners make time for one another – which includes carving out time for physical intimacy. This is healthy for couples, as it promotes bonding, boosts trust, and lowers stress.
Research shows that the average person interacts with their phone on the average of 2,617 times per day. In comparison, how many times do you touch or caress your spouse during the day?
With 1 in 10 adults admitting to checking their phones during sex, there is no doubt that your smartphone is negatively affecting your sex life.
3. Too Much Temptation
Not only will the overuse of your smartphone lead to an emotional and physical disconnect with your romantic partner, but it can also lead to temptation on the world wide web.
The internet has made it laughably easy to cheat on one's spouse. Research by the Indian Journal of Psychiatry found that online infidelity is “perceived to be as traumatic as actual infidelity.”
According to Martin Law Firm, online infidelity is now so common that many divorce courts are actually allowing Facebook to be cited as a reason for separation. Online behavior can also be used as proof of lying, cheating, and other wrongdoings within the marriage.
4. Busting Down Communication
It is vital that you and your spouse are able to communicate openly and honestly with one another in order to find success in your relationship.
Studies show that the consistent use of social media lessens face-to-face interactions, even with your spouse, close friends, and family members. This can inhibit your communication skills with your spouse.
Research also indicates that those who spend more time on social media tend to have worse mental health conditions.
If you are consistently communicating with your spouse via text or internet chat, it is much easier to lose the tone and contest of your messages, which can lead to misunderstandings and arguments.
Save Your Relationship From your Smartphone in 4 Easy Steps
If you are in a loving relationship, odds are you don’t want to let your cell phone addiction ruin the wonderful partnership you’ve created.
Here are 4 easy ways that you can reign in your tech compulsions and learn once and for all what is a healthy relationship.
1. Schedule Tech-Free Time
Many couples find it beneficial to spend some “tech-free” time. This means no computers, no laptops, tablets, video games, television, or phones. Just pure and simple time with your spouse that's free of distractions.
Take an hour to be tech-free in the morning, before bed, after you get home from work, or during dinner. The length of your tech-free is up to you.
2. Acknowledge Valid Phone Use
If you are making a tech-free hour a regular rule in your relationship, it's important to set some rules.
One of these rules is the acknowledgment that not all phone use is bad.
Important calls and work or family obligations should also be taken into consideration when your spouse starts interacting with their phone.
But the bottom line is this: if you don't have a good reason for taking out your phone while you're with your spouse, don't do it.
3. Include Your Spouse
If you do use your phone in front of your partner, why not get them in on the action? Use it to play two-player games such as Draw Something, tag each other in funny posts on Instagram, or send romantic texts back and forth.
This way if you have to use your phone, at least you are using it as a way to connect with your spouse.
4. Focus on Quality Time Together
What is a healthy relationship?
It's one where partners spend quality time together on a regular basis. This is how you deepen your connection to one another. Research shows that couples who have a regularly scheduled date night are less likely to get divorced and experience a surge of relationship happiness.
However, if you're always on your phone, it isn't likely that you're getting that much-needed quality time with your spouse. So, ditch your phone and focus on your relationship!
What is a healthy relationship? Love and attention.
Cell phones are a wonder in technology that has the potential help us with work, love, social engagement, and not to mention protect us from harm.
But when your smartphone is coming in the way of your loving relationship, it's time to start rethinking how attached you are to the hunk of plastic in your pocket.
Sylvia Smith is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples in therapy. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is currently associated with Marriage.com, a reliable resource assisting millions of couples to resolve their marital issues. She holds a Master’s Degree in Arts (Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy).