Is your phone affecting your relationship?

Photography Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash

If you’re feeling like intimacy is lacking in your relationship, it may be because you’re unknowingly in a three-way relationship with your phone. Dom Bowden’s new wellness podcast Wellbeings explains why mobile phone addictions drive a wedge between couples, and how to break up with this toxic third party.

If you’re looking for ways to incorporate easy to implement (and easy to maintain) wellness practices into your life, look no further than the newest podcast on the block, Wellbeings.

Former TV personality Dominic Bowden has spent the last few years off the cameras, exploring principles of the body and mind to discern what really works when it comes to the science of feeling good.

On this week’s episode, Dom spoke to author of How To Break Up With Your Phone Catherine Price in a quest to find out just how detrimental your relationship with your phone can be, and how to take back control.

Whether you’re actively aware of it or not, since the conception of the smartphone, our lives have changed in almost every way.

The digital revolution brought with it a wave of obstacles that our pre-smartphone selves couldn’t have ever begun to imagine, one of them is how to incorporate these devices into a healthy relationship.

Technology undoubtedly enriches our lives in many ways, but at what cost?

In the relationship scenario, it might be that your sex-life is at a standstill because you spend your evenings scrolling social media, or a breakup… via text.

According to the Pew Research Centre, 25 per cent of adult internet users report that the internet has had a negative impact on their relationship in one way or another.

Here are some simplified Dos and Don’ts for couples trying to mitigate the impact in their relationship.


Handle conflict online

Conflicts will naturally arise in any relationship, and in order to overcome them, couples must learn to manage them face to face. It’s undoubtedly harder, but it’s also undoubtedly better in the long run.

The main reason being that it allows for each person to interpret nonverbal cues, leaving less room for misinterpretation.

If you’re starting to feel as though your online conversations with your partner are becoming tense – try to continue the conversion offline.

Mistake ease for empathy

Empathy is an essential skill for human interaction, particularly in a relationship. The issue arises when the ease of joy, enthusiasm and sorrow are all boiled-down to a simple ‘like’ button, or crying emoji.

These simple fixes do not, and will not be able to match up to actually celebrating or grieving with your partner.

Make sure you’re both still practicing the art of empathy with consistency over time, and make sure it’s face-to-face.


Use technology to feel closer

It’s not all doom and gloom, 21 per cent of the couples in the Pew Research study reported that they actually felt closer to their partners due to online conversations.

In these cases, they have learned to use their devices to turn toward each other, rather than turn away.

This is an important skill to master in any successful relationship, it’s a way to bridge separation caused by the work day or long-distance.

This might be in the form of a simple text message during a key moment, or sharing funny content in a way that provokes a shared laugh.

Partner against the device

In this day and age, there are a million things all clamouring for our attention.

Your phone, your laptop, your TV,  are all designed to isolate you from your surroundings – and your partner.

In this regard, these devices stack up to being the enemy in your relationship.

There’s a tonne of research to suggest that relationships thrive and prosper when you’re surrounded by friends and family, and it also shows the same when they identify a common enemy.

In this context, consider the phone the enemy, and recognising that they are a barrier to intimacy is half the battle.

Together, decide on times when the phone needs to be left out of the equation, maybe at bedtime, or during meals together – and then gently signal when these rules are being violated.

These may seem like small things, but when couples learn to put technology aside and partner against the common enemy together, they’ll reclaim the kind of relationship where communication and intimacy come first.

To learn more about the science of feeling good and to keep up with all the Wellbeings interviews, click here.

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