Are you constantly on the phone? You may be harming your relationship

It’s well known how important mobile phones are in our everyday lives. Mobiles, which started to aid communication, have now, with the advent of social media and internet, become an inseparable part of people’s lives. A study, titled Three’s Company: Lovers, Friends and Devices came out last month. It was conducted to understand the behaviour of people and revealed that the rampant use of phones is affecting relationships.
As much as 57% said that they had to compete with their partner’s smartphone to get their attention on a first date. Sixty per cent of the people who participated in the study said that their partners paid more attention to their smartphones while on a date. The practice is so widespread that in 2012, an advertising agency came up with the term Phubbing, which means getting distracted by your cellphone while in the company of another person.

Phone versus you
Relationship expert Vishnu Modi says that most people do this unintentionally. He says, “People are addicted to their phones these days. So, even if you are not with your partner, say may be at work or shopping, you are constantly checking for updates. Be it a new text message, WhatsApp message or a social media post. So, when you are with your partner, you continue doing what you are used to. You don’t do it intentionally and you don’t realise it because, no one complains.” But, it could be intentional too. Adds Modi, “At times, people lose interest in a a partner. So, a smartphone, which is a window to the world, is the next option no matter where you are. It’s important that a person identifies this kind of behaviour before it’s too late.”
Giving more attention to your phone when you are on a date, takes smartphone addiction to a different level. And, even if your partner is not complaining, you should be aware that this will affect him or her in some way in the long term.

Modi says that in extreme cases this can also lead to a break-up. He says, “Imagine, your partner is telling you something important and you are looking at your phone all the time. If this happens regularly, your partner will surely feel that she or he isn’t important. And if you are chatting with someone else on your mobile, while on a date, you are making a grave mistake.”

Set your priorities right
On the other hand, the person who is suffering can also come up with a solution, if they feel neglected by their partner. Clinical psychologist Tanushree Bhargava says that rather than convincing your partner, identifying the problem, should be a concern. She says, “A frank discussion with your partner about why spending quality time together, should be your priority. But, if your partner’s behaviour doesn’t change even post this, then it’s a red flag indicating reduced interest in the relationship.”
If you are destroying your relationship because of your addiction to your smartphone, the onus lies on you to save it. Psychiatrist Nazeen Ladak, says, “One should ask oneself as to what is important, the smartphone or your partner. Of course, today everything is technology driven and phones are important, but one should take a pause and reconsider if what you are doing is right.”

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