Have you ever texted your fiancé while you were in different rooms only a few feet apart? Have you ever been anxious because it’s been more than five minutes since you sent a text and you still haven’t gotten a reply? Have you ever been frustrated because he’s more focused on checking the score of the game than listening to the question you’re asking or the story you’re telling? Have you ever commented on a couple at a restaurant that was more focused on Instagramming their meal and checking tweets than talking to each other—or have you been that couple? If so, you know firsthand how smartphones can start to take over your lives, as well as the negative impact they can have on a relationship.
Technology is both a blessing and a curse. Gone are the days of landlines and using maps for directions, and unlimited texting and apps can definitely make planning a wedding easier—but smartphones can also take a serious toll on what should be a personal, intimate relationship. We asked our experts to dole out some relationship advice on why smartphones (and the connectivity that comes with them) might be ruining your relationship, as well as how to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
Smartphones and social media promise instant connectivity, with texts coming through in the blink of an eye, email (and work!) always at your fingertips, and an endless stream of what your friends and acquaintances are up to. It’s enough to distract you from your own lives and lose track of what really matters. So much access to things other than what’s right in front of you means you’re probably missing a lot, and while it sounds like you’re more connected, you can’t get authenticity and intimacy through a screen. Nothing kills a romantic moment more than people pulling out their phone because they got a notification, and it can make you or your partner feel neglected if the other person is more focused on a screen than on the person he or she is marrying. So if you’re worried that smartphones might be getting in the way of your intimacy, here is some relationship advice on how to bring it back.
Forget texts and go back to the notes you used to pass in elementary school. Leave a sticky note on the fridge, tuck a note into your partner’s jacket pocket or bag, or slip a card under their pillow. Taking the time to actually write something down, whether it’s a love letter or a quick “See you at dinner!” adds a personal touch that you just can’t get from a DM.
Schedule Phone-Free Time
Decide on a time when you’ll both put your phones away (and even designate a spot, like a desk drawer, where they’ll be out of sight). Ban phones from the dinner table, or schedule some time every evening to simply talk to each other without any distractions. Go on a date and leave your phones in the car or in a coat pocket, whether it’s an activity or just going out for a drink. Having experiences where you’re 100 percent present will create shared memories and build a stronger bond. Do you need to have an important discussion, whether it’s about your wedding, family, money, or an issue you’re having in your relationship? Leave the phones in another room so you can give each other your undivided attention.
Get an Alarm Clock
Keep your phones (and the world they connect you to) out of the bedroom so you can focus on what should be happening there—whether that’s sleeping or something a bit more fun. An alarm clock will wake you up on time but also eliminates those late nights scrolling through Instagram or early-morning emailing, giving you extra time to pay attention to each other.