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How to Stop Your Cell Phone from Ruining Your Relationship

Black couple using cell phones in bed

Black couple using cell phones in bed

So you’re trying to have a decent conversation with your partner. They seem attentive until a noise from that shiny, flat object goes off. They quickly glance at the object, chuckle a bit then begin using their thumb to briskly type. In a few seconds, your conversation is over. Your partner can’t help it —it’s kryptonite.

You complain but they insist that they are listening to your every word. Unfortunately, you’re competing with a cell phone and you’re losing.

In a study by Joseph Grenny, author of Crucial Conversations, 87 percent of the 2,025 people surveyed reported that electronic displays of insensitivity (EDIs) – the intrusive or inappropriate use of technology – is worse today than a year ago. And nine out of 10 people say that at least once a week, their friends or family stop paying attention to them in favor of something happening on their digital device.

Unfortunately, one in four people say that EDIs have caused a serious rift with a friend or family member but suffer silently. Don’t let your cell phone habits harm your relationship by incorporating the strategies below.

Create Boundaries

We want to feel connected to the world all the time, but while doing so, we’re missing out on key moments with our partners. Implementing a ‘no cell phone’ policy during dinner or conversations will enhance your communication as well as help you become a better listener. In a poll surveying 143 women conducted by Dr. Brandon McDaniel and Dr. Sarah Coyne, one-quarter of the respondents said their partner has been known to text during face-to-face conversations.

“This is likely a circular process that people become trapped in where allowing technology to interfere, even in small ways, in one’s relationship at least sometimes causes conflict, which can begin to slowly erode the quality of their relationship,” said Dr. McDaniel.

Schedule Specific Time for Your Cell Phone

Since there will be times when you have to use your cell phone to check work email or to peruse articles, carve out time specifically for your cell phone (after the kids are in bed and after you and your partner spend quality time together). Even go a step further and give yourself an allotted amount of time per cell phone usage.

Save Important Conversations for a Face-to-Face Interaction

Stop having serious conversations with your partner via text. Texting should be used for concise communication like loving, flirtatious messages to your partner and not used for long, in-depth ones. In his article, ‘Why You Shouldn’t Text Your Argument’, John M. Grohol, Psy.D. states that “…the miscommunication and assumptions about what is being said will just start to pile on top of each other, confusing the receiver and adding even more miscommunication and hurt feelings into the mix.”

Alyssa Rachelle has been married for two years. She lives in the Atlanta area with her husband, 4-month-old daughter and 9-year-old Cocker Spaniel.

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