Screens are basically there to distract us and scrolling through someone’s vacation photos or playing a quick round of Wordscapes can be a pleasant distraction from discussing soccer schedules or waiting to pick up kids. But if your partner is constantly ignoring you for their phone - which is known as phubbing - it can be a relationship killer. Like any couples’ issue, it’s important to not let it fester or it’ll get worse. So how do you address your partner’s phone use? PsychotherapistStephanie Wijkstromsuggests not being critical to start with and then trying these tips.
- Try different ways to get your partner’s attention- Before you start talking, try to signal that you have something to say with a touch to their shoulder or a tap on the counter to get them out of the zone.
- Be honest about how it makes you feel- Feeling like you’re always second to your partner’s social media or email may make you feel like throwing their phone against the wall, and while that may be satisfying for a second, a better move would be telling them how it really makes you feel.
- Come up with a plan of action- But be realistic, you’re not really going to declare the house a phone-free zone. Small steps are key here, like making meal time a screen-free time.
- Be realistic- If you’re on-call or take late emails, it may not work for your bedroom to be a phone-free zone, but you can still create barriers, like putting it an arm’s reach away with volume up.
- Set aside an hour of IRL face time per week- Dedicate some time for eye contact and deep conversations with the one you love, whenever you guys can make it happen in your schedule.
- If all else fails, try couples therapy- If everything you try falls flat, you may need some professional guidance. At this point, your partner will understand what an issue their phone use is becoming and the outside help could give some much-needed perspective.