“We are allowing technology to kill our relationships because we tend to give our phone more attention than we do our partner.” – Unknown
The above quote pretty much sums up this article in a nutshell – technology has taken over our lives, and not in a good way. Sure, technology has its benefits, giving rise to advancements in medicine and machinery, but it doesn’t do much good for humanity when it comes to smartphones. We have become utterly addicted to our mobile devices, and you don’t need any studies to prove this statement. Just look around you – you’ll likely see most people glued to their phone no matter where you go.
When it comes to relationships, this addiction has disastrous consequences. In the U.S., the average smartphone user spends 2 hours and 37 minutes on his phone per day, according to research from Statista. In Brazil, the average is nearly 5 hours! What does this mean? Basically, our phones have become a permanent extension of our hands, and we don’t pay much attention to the actual world around us. We have substituted virtual reality for reality, and it turns out that switching back and forth between the two worlds doesn’t come so easily.
Many people report that their relationships have suffered due to overuse of technology, and this doesn’t really come as a surprise when people seem to spend every second of free time on their phones.
In this article, we’ll go over the exact implications that technology has on relationships.
Here are 5 ways technology can hurt your relationships, according to science:
1. It takes you away from the present moment
How many times have you been engaged in a conversation with your partner, only to see them pull out their smartphone in the middle of it? They probably don’t do this on purpose, but it can make you think that your conversation isn’t as important as whatever they’re looking at on their phone. The more this happens, the less satisfied you’re likely to be in your relationship, because your partner’s attention is divided between you and their phone. In fact, in a study published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, researchers found that 70 percent of women said that smartphones interfered with their relationship.
Eye contact and active listening are very important components of communication, both of which are compromised when smartphones come into the picture. Intimate relationships require trust and communication, and you can’t build on these when you or your partner decides to scroll through Facebook while having a conversation. It’s downright rude to stare at your phone while your partner is talking to you, because this tells them that what they have to say doesn’t matter.
2. Technology ruins quality time together
Most people today don’t have a lot of free time already, but when we spend an average of 2 hours and 37 minutes on our smartphones per day, that leaves practically nothing left for real relaxation. Not to mention, the same study that found 70% of women had “technoference” in their relationships also discovered that 62% of women said technology interfered with leisure time with their partner.
The more we let technology interrupt our lives, the more our relationships will suffer. For example, when couples go out on dates now, they seem to spend more time checking their phones than talking with their partner. This creates dissatisfaction and loneliness in a relationship, and isn’t the whole point of a relationship to have someone to talk to and bond with?!
3. It creates resentment
As we’ve already said, being on your smartphone while spending time with your partner essentially checks you out of the real world. Your attention goes to the myriad of apps and notifications on your phone, creating a distraction from your real life. It might feel nice to escape the real world for a little while, but we have taken it overboard as a society. In relationships, resentment can easily build if one partner spends too much time on their phone, and this can ultimately lead to a breakup. How silly does it sound, anyway, that a little screen can sever the ties between two people. A small device that gives us a gateway to a virtual world can literally cause someone we love in the real world to fade away.
4. Technology can make you move too fast
Maybe you met someone online and realized that they live far away from you. After talking for a few weeks or months, you decide to move in with them or invite them to move in with you. Then, you have an epiphany and realize that you never really knew them at all, and that they have become a completely different person. By not allowing the relationship to unfold and taking time to get to know one another, you can get into relationships with the wrong people. Moving in with someone or even just moving to the city or state where they live is a huge deal, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
5. It can lead to depression
We could write a whole book on the link between technology and depression, but for now, we’ll just summarize it as best we can. How does the use of technology cause depression? For one, the blue light emitted from smartphones can interrupt our circadian rhythm, leading to sleep problems, which can result in a depressed mood. For another, smartphones make us isolated, which creates feelings of depression. Furthermore, when your partner continually chooses their phone over you, it can make you feel unloved and neglected, which can cause depression. All of these factors are interconnected, and when combined, it can create severe mental health problems.
Smartphone technology has exploded in the past decade, and we’ve had to try to adjust to how it impacts our daily lives. Most people say they can’t live without their smartphone, and you certainly don’t have to. It’s how you use the technology that truly matters. As long as you set limits on your use of smartphones, give your full attention to your partner when they’re talking to you, and make sure you have a real life outside of your phone, it shouldn’t become an issue.