Posted on 01/11/2019

Which will fail first - your current phone or your relationship?

Which will fail first - your current phone or your relationship?

Did you know that the average person spends over four hours on their phone on a daily basis? That’s at least one-sixth of someone’s day spent buried or mindlessly scrolling through feeds when it can be devoted to doing something productive like nurturing our relationships. It’s ironic— the thing that’s supposed to help us communicate with people is actually what’s destroying our ability to make authentic connections.

The colloquial term is ‘phubbing’ which is when a person snubs another in place of looking at their phone. Psychology Today cited studies on how ‘phubbing’ leads to dissatisfied couples which deeply affects a person’s overall satisfaction with life. Partners who are heavily dependent on electronic devices tend to be more distracted and aloof. As a result, the partners who have been ‘phubbed’ increase their gadget use mainly for two reasons: to feel included and to numb the pain of neglect.

A study by Facebook affirms what most of us already knew: too much consumption of social media is bad for us. Most, if not all, of social media is curated and what we see is already a polished version of someone’s life. This can be deeply damaging to one’s self-esteem, which can create a ripple effect in our relationships with others. Imagine being out on a date with a person who constantly compares themselves with people on their screen. It can be difficult for both parties to handle that kind of negativity and self-deprecation which will only lead to failure in a relationship.

There are many other ways that electronic devices such as phones and computers profoundly affect the way we connect with other people. Professor and author of Reclaiming Conversation Sherry Turkle, talked extensively about social interaction in an era governed by technology. In an interview, she mentioned the presence of a phone in a conversation actually diminishes the quality and level of connection with another person. We talk about trivial things and feel less empathic because of our divided attention. When we talk to another person electronically, it’s much more difficult to convey emotion which can lead to miscommunication. A simple misspelled word has been the cause of countless fights with many couples.

Yet, we cannot deny the fact that technology also makes our lives better in so many ways. Without our phones, navigation, especially on unfamiliar roads, may become challenging. Gadgets and apps have automated daily processes such as banking and paying our bills. We also have various uses of technology for leisure and entertainment. Coral News talked about how gadgets are always improving the sports and fitness industry by ensuring safety, boosting athletic performance and enhancing fans’ experience of their favorite sports, among others. Drones, VR, and tracking technologies are just some of the innovations that make these possible. Which means communication is instant and more efficient with technology.

However, when two people mindlessly use their devices, the end result is a couple that barely speak to each other. You might recall from a previous post on The National Registry of Marriage Friendly Therapists that a lack of intimacy and communication sets up a relationship to fail, which can happen if we’re too dependent on our gadgets. With technology, especially in the context of romantic relationships, it really all boils down to responsible usage so we can continue to get to know our partner through the time-tested method of face-to-face interaction.

Article specially written for marriagefriendlytherapists.com

Sophia Alicia

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