There's no denying that technology can be wonderful. With smartphones and tablets, we can access a world of information at almost anytime. We can keep in touch with distant loved ones, and share our lives in an instant with those we hold dear. But what happens when it intrudes upon your relationship?
Many women in particular are reporting that their relationship is suffering from the recently coined term, technoference. So how can you know if technonology is ruining your relationship and what can you do about it?
Here are three signs technoference is hurting your love life, and some tips for how to revamp your relationship with technology:
1. You can't remember the last time you and your partner had a meaningful conversation.
Technoference is defined as interruptions or distractions stemming from the use of technology devices such as phones, tablets, television or computers. I've read about how many couples that favor their devices over real time conversations, and find that their relationships may suffer over time, as well as their overall life satisfaction. Partners often conclude that when it feels like technological devices are being prioritized over real conversation, the commitment to the relationship is weaker.
Making time to be together without technology present is one way to make sure that you don’t experience technoference. If you must have a phone nearby in case of child emergencies or other events, then make sure your phone is on silent. Make a pact that the phone will only be answered if one or two relevant and specific people make contact. Besides, you can leave all other text messages, emails or phone calls for later or the following day. Sure, you might always be reachable ... but there's no need for you to always be available to answer your phone calls, emails and texts.
2. You tend to favor screen time over sexy time.
It’s often much easier to remain glued to a screen than make the effort to connect sometimes, particularly when life is busy and you’re seeking distraction. Couples who have avoided the dreaded impact of technoference tend to have strong boundaries around where and when smartphones and other technological devices may be used. Ensuring that you have free time together when intimate connection may usually occur is important to maintain your sexual connection and enjoy time together.
One way of determining boundaries around technology is quite literal, and very practical as a result: try picking certain locations where you refrain from technology — for example, in the bedroom.
By deciding that phones, tablets and laptops don’t enter the boudoir can increase intimacy and improve sleep. Making the bedroom a technology free space allows each of you to look up and really see your partner whilst hopefully engaging in meaningful conversation and physical connection.
3. You and/or your partner often struggle to resist checking the phone.
If you notice that you or your partner are simply unable to leave your phone or other techno-device alone, then it could be important to have a dedicated discussion about technoference. If you worry about how much time you or your partner spends on social media or other distracting technological pastimes, then talking about it could make a difference.
Simply initiating the conversation, while also owning your own part in the dynamic, creates a space for honesty. Explaining how it feels for your when your partner chooses to devote him/herself to technology over real quality time will allow them to understand your feelings better. And by expressing yourself in the context of a dialogue, you're being proactive by encouraging a space for negotiation. Then, try ending the conversation by making mutual commitments regarding how much you use technology when together and keep talking about your progress.
Let’s be honest, most of us spend more time on technology than we would like to admit. But by being open and honest about it, then you can start to change how you use technology. Setting firm boundaries and creating honest conversations is an important way to navigate your individual needs and requirements around taking time away from your screens.
Setting techno-free spaces and times might be all it takes for each of you to finally look up from your device and make some much-needed eye contact. Who knows what you might see when you really look at your partner once again?