Imagine this…you’re both home after a day at work, the kids are off doing something productive. You finally got some quiet time to yourselves. 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 imagine this…While you’re cuddled up together, you see your spouse scrolling through their emails or favorite social media websites. How do you feel? Hopefully these moments create a little dilemma for you. Do you want to communicate to your spouse that he or she is the most important thing on your mind right now? Or do you want to say that whoever or whatever is on the other end of your phone is most important? While we all 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’s called Techno-Ference, and it exists whenever technology interferes with a personal face to face relationship. Yes, meddling cell phones are rapidly becoming a major source of marital dissatisfaction. That unhappiness grows when spouses feel rejected by the priority of their partner’s phone activity. The results of all those little intrusions are hurt feelings, low self-esteem, resentment and ultimately anger. Some spouses in the study even experienced depression. So what do we do?
Well, first, sit down as a couple and ask yourself, how are we experiencing techno-ference? How is technology getting in the way of our relationships and be open and be honest?
Second, develop some realistic expectations. Agree to turn your phones to silent and set them in a designated spot. Then let yourselves check them during the commercial breaks or every 60 minutes.
Finally, establish some tech boundaries. Identify technology free zones in your house. You might agree that keeping technology literally out of your bedroom is a good thing. Or maybe you want to have it turned off by a certain time. Mealtimes are a great way to enjoy some tech free time. You need to set the boundaries that are going to work best to meet your desires and needs. Thwarting techno-ference is one area where you both want to stay connected.