In today’s day and age, it’s almost as if we are all glued to our phones. If we’re not texting someone, we’re scrolling through social media reading articles (like this) or tagging people in memes, watching videos, binging Netflix, using new apps, downloading music, etc, etc, etc. Basically, we’re trapped in an alternate reality of smartphones where we can’t survive without them, or, so it seems. No matter who we’re with or where we are, we can’t help the “natural reaction” of checking out phones. But, in reality, it does negatively affect our relationships with others. If someone is taking time out of their day to see you and spend time with you – whether you’re out with them or home with them – it’s pretty damn rude to be scrolling the entire time, don’t you think?
In relationships, dozens of people have reported that cell phone use at home and in bed has negatively impacted their relationship and intimacy involved. In fact, couples are now breaking up because they no longer have intimate time, as everyone crawls into bed at night and immediately whips out their phone before they go to sleep. As well, discussions over dinner at the end of the day have reached an all-time-low for some, as people struggle to keep their digital world separate from their 3D world.
Recently, my boyfriend and I moved in together and, although we’re spending much more time together because we’re under one-roof all the time, we work completely separate jobs and some days, separate schedules. Sure, some would believe that living together makes everything more wonderful and beautiful in relationships – but in reality, sometimes it’s difficult to find that “us” time, that romantic time or even time to just chill out with each other. We’re both constantly doing other things – both of us are working full-time jobs and obtaining masters degrees. We both clean up and organize the house when we have time, we both have school work and actual work to do when we get home some days and, we both need to shower every once in a while (jokes). By the time we do get home or get into bed, we’re exhausted and worn out. Most of the time, we used to crawl into bed and sit on our phones, the TV aimlessly playing The Office or Parks and Rec in the background as neither of us actually watch it.
We never actually had a discussion of “keeping our phones in the other room when we get home” and it wasn’t something we planned as an experiment – it just kind of naturally happened. We both began to set aside time in our schedules every day when we got home (if we got home at normal hours) to have dinner together and then watch a show on Netflix or a movie together. Some nights, I get home from classes at 11 p.m. and other nights, my boyfriend gets home hella late from his classes, too. Those nights, we don’t really have a “plan” and just go with it. But, if we’re both off at night, we try to make time for “us.” And, naturally lately, we’ve been leaving our phones in the charger in the bedroom or in the living room and veg out on the couch with Netflix or Amazon Prime shows.
That’s right – we live without our phones – go figure!
The benefits of this have actually been pretty incredible. In the past, my boyfriend always complained when we’d watch a show and I’d have the urge to grab my phone and answer an email or a text. Other times, I’d be annoyed when he was reading an article while I had a movie on for us to watch. Both of us felt we were together – but, not really “together.” If your mind isn’t where you are, are you really there at all? (Someone find out).
Not being glued to our cell phones all of the time allowed us to be more active with each other and whatever we’re doing. At dinner, we actually have great conversations. During downtime, we’re playful and flirtatious, even if we’ve been together for over a year. We have discussions about plans for the week and we both don’t have to worry that the other person “wasn’t paying attention.” Romantically, it’s been mutually beneficial – we feel more attracted to each other because we’re more “in the moment” and “here” rather than scatter-brained somewhere else.
All in all, I’m happier in my relationship because I feel we’re both managing our time better when we’re not so trapped in the digital world. While neither of us realized we were doing it, we were helping out relationship progress and allowing us both to unwind, together. It’s pretty mutually beneficial.