Imagine this … you’re both home after a day at work … the kids are off doing something productive … you’ve finally got some quiet time to yourself … you’re snuggling into the sofa to watch your favorite show … when the text chime of your cell phone goes off … what do you do?
Or you’re cuddled in and look over to see your spouse scrolling through his or her e-mails or favorite social media websites … how do you feel?
Hopefully these moments create a dilemma for you! Do you want to communicate to your spouse that he/she is the most important thing on your mind right now … or do you want to say that who, or whatever, is on the other end of your phone is?
While we love being connected … we need to realize that being available 24/7 creates an intrusion into our personal lives and romantic relationships.
Research has given this condition a name … it is called “technoference;” and it exists whenever technology interferes with personal face to face relationships. Meddling cellphones are rapidly becoming a major source of marital dissatisfaction.
The unhappiness grows when spouses feel rejected by the priority of their partner’s phone activity. The results of all of those “little intrusions” are hurt feelings, low self-esteem, resentment and ultimately anger. Some spouses in this study fell into depression.
So what do we need to do?
- As a couple sit down and ask yourself how are we experiencing “technoference”? How is technology getting in the way of our relationship? Be open and honest …
- Develop some realistic expectations. We’ll turn our phones to silent at an agreed upon time and set them in a designated spot. We can check them during a commercial …or every 60 minutes.
- Establish tech boundaries. Identify technology free zones. You might agree to keep technology literally out of your bedroom … or turned off by a certain time. Meal times are a good time to enjoy some tech free time. You need to set the boundaries that will best meet your desires and needs.
Thwarting technoference is one area where you both want to stay connected.