Smartphones have opened up a whole new handheld world. We have immediate access to an endless array of information, as well as distractions in the forms of apps, games, social media, and the internet at large. This type of technology has undoubtedly improved our lives in many ways. However, it’s increasingly becoming a problem in relationships and marriages, and it’s worth taking a look at the why and how to see what’s going on.
While smartphones, by design, can improve communication in many ways-think about how easy it is to call or text your spouse, video chat them when you’re away, email them, and more-they can also hinder communication in a relationship. When one or both parties is always looking at their phone instead of conversing with who’s in front of them, that’s a problem.
Or you get someone who’s always half in and half out in terms of their attention, and are distracted with what they’re actually doing and who they’re actually with. This downturn in communication also reduces the quality time you have with your significant other, and could continue to spiral in a negative direction.
Then there’s the world of social media, which is increasingly being recognized as unhealthy or counterproductive across a whole spectrum of areas, whether the emotional health of children and teenagers or in facilitating the spread of toxic or false information. With marriages and relationships, the issue with social media may be in our tendency to compare ourselves to the lives of others. Maybe another couple is always posting the vacation photo in the exotic locale, or has the home or lifestyle of your dreams, or whatever the case may be.
All this really does though is make you feel worse about yourself or your own circumstances. It also isn’t reality. What we see on social media is just a glimpse of another person, typically designed to show them at their best, and not their full everyday lives.
Another area to consider is dating apps. One party in a relationship perhaps wouldn’t so easily dare to go to a bar and try to pick someone up, but instead would take the risk of dabbling on their smartphones. Even if the intention is only in “looking at what’s out there,” or trying to receive compliments or positive attention, that’s clearly still a problem. And it’s a slippery slope which could get quickly out of control, too. Additionally, keep in mind that communications from dating apps are discoverable in divorce cases and you may be compelled to produce those communications to the other party.
There are clearly many issues with smartphones and the way they impact our lives in terms of our marriages and relationships. If you feel like you’ve experienced this yourself, then you’re far from alone. Perhaps it’s something you can talk about with your partner, with your phones both out of sight, of course.