Hello?? Can you hear me? I’ve been wondering… why the heck you won’t put down your phone and LISTEN TO ME?!?!?
Ever been in that conversation? You’re talking about something important, or nothing interesting at all, and your partner is glued to their phone/ipad/laptop/netlfix/iphone/fitbit???
Pssst, come here. Can I make a top secret relationship coach admission to you? I’m the one in my partnership busy facebooking as if it’s life itself, while my partner is talking!
I have even heard myself say, in my best teenage angst voice, ‘WHHHHHHHAATTT? I’m busy here!!!’
Hi there, my name is Jessica Elizabeth, and apparently, I’m a newsfeed update addict! YIKES!
Yup. I do it too. We all do. Everywhere we turn the soft glow of our screens, sing it’s siren song.
In my defense, (or at least the one I offer up to my partner) I’m perfectly capable of doing two things at once! Yeah! Except, the evidence seems to prove, I miss at least 50% of what he is saying to me. Womp. Womp.
And. My partner hates it. He really, really, hates it.
Whenever we opt out of real conversation AND eye contact with your partner, our connection suffers. We are no longer being present and available to engagement , and love. I have heard some pretty disturbing quotes from partners on the other end of this tech obsession; and the overarching, repetitive message “WHAT’S HAPPENING ON [social media, email, television, the internet] IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ME!”.
Sounds dramatic. But OUR actions are indeed sending that very clear message.
Do you need a tech detox in your relationship? Take the test and find out!
Here is a fun way to score yourself on just how well you might be doing AND/OR just how much technology you might need to put down in order to connect with your partner.
Bedroom Tech Dinner Tech Tech 2 Tune out
Hi Pat, I’ll take ‘Bedroom Tech’ for 300 please!
Bedroom Tech, for 300;
Television in the bedroom? Oh come on, this culprit has been around for years. Television in the bedroom is responsible for more missed conversations AND sex opportunities since 1988.
Do you have a TV in the bedroom? (add 50 points)
Are you watching it till you are ready to sleep? (+100 points)
Are you and your partner at least cuddling watching it TOGETHER as an act of some ‘end of day respite’ solidarity? ( deduct 100 points from total score)
Quick Fix = If you are still rocking that 80’s look, it’s time to dump it. Or at the very least put in a no TV for the last 30 minutes before lights out. Create some space for a bit of couple time. Catch up, cuddle, or hey, maybe even light a candle or two….
Social media before bed? Oh yes indeed, I went there. Are you on your phone or tablet liking, loving, emojing and commenting till the very last moment, before turning over and calling it a night?
Not only have scientific studies shown over and over that the light of our screens is extremely detrimental to our sleep patterns, it sure isn’t good on the relationship either. Oh, I know, your bedroom at the end of the night, once the kids are all tucked away, is your ONLY chance to be alone and catch up on these things. You are not alone, doll. Your partner needs some attention and so do you. + I saw you posted, like, 10 times today! Busted.
Are you tweeting, FBing, instagramming till the lights go out? (+100 points)
Are you doing it even after the lights go out? (+ 50 points)
Quick Fix = set up all your chargers out of the bedroom or across the room, this way it’s not there next to your bedside, singing its sweet siren song of pings and beeping news feed alerts.
DINNER TECH, for 300;
I’ll have a steak, medium rare w/ social media sauce + some work emails on the side please.
I see pics posted every day on instagram, facebook, etc... where groups of friends are out to dinner, and everyone is glued to their phone instead of talking. And we have all seen couples out at dinner, not talking to each other, but instead on their phones swiping, messaging….
Dinner out with your partner, is a wonderful time to have the fun chats. What I mean by that, public places are never the best venue for deep conversations laced with all that needs to change in your relationship. HOWEVER they are amazing opportunities to talk about what films you want to go see and why, what happened during your day, share a political rant and generally unplug from it all, just the two of you.
If it’s more than the two of you, i.e. family dinners, with every moment you shoot off that next email, or escape into the virtual reality that is Instagram… you lose. We can’t rewind time; be present, engage and enjoy those dinners, one day those cute kids might well be sullen teenagers complete with one word grunted answers. Make it last.
Are you ‘that couple’ who spends more than 30% of dinner using your phone? (Add 300 points)
Quick fix = A baby step, set a time limit of 10 minutes to catch up on what you need to on all things interwebs, when you first sit down. Epic step, silence your phone, and keep it off the table and stored away on in your pocket or bag. If you can’t see it or hear it, you won’t be tempted to pick it up.
Tech 2 Tune Out, for 300;
This category is for those of us who actively utilize our phones as an escape mechanism.
If we feel a bit socially awkward at an event, if the conversation with our partner shifts to a topic we are not comfortable with, if we are so stressed out in general… our phones have become our doorway to somewhere else, fast. Not sure if you are that guy/gal? Practice some mindfulness over the next week and take note of how often, when and why you pull out your phone when with other people.
If you are doing this when the tough topics come up between you and your partner as an act of avoidance or disengagement… I probably don’t have to tell you, that by doing that, your partner is only getting more frustrated and angry, which means the tension level you seek to avoid... is just building as a result. It’s also high time you got real with why these conversations are triggering you to find an escape route.
Do you us technology to TUNE OUT? (Add 300 points)
Quick fix – Resist, resist, resist. This detox is going to hit you in all the feels but it’s so necessary. If you find yourself picking it up, put it back down, fast. One client of mine, silently repeats to herself “Tune in, be present” as a mantra to get her through it. Find a phrase/mantra you can use to curb the cravings, and ditch this particular social crutch.
So, in this game, the highest score… makes you the biggest connection loser. DOH!
How did you score?
Where can you tweak your tech use to create more space, time and connection with your partner and improve your relationships, starting today?