Your phone may be having a negative impact on your relationship.
On a recent holiday to Canada, I visited the beautiful Whistler in British Columbia and decided to take the ‘peak-to-peak’ Gondola, which is the world’s longest free-span Gondola.
It was a spectacular ride with incredible scenery, but what I found shocking is there was a couple on the Gondola that both had their heads buried in their smartphones for the entire trip.
In fact, I didn’t see them look up once! Here we were surrounded some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, and this couple was missing it.
Sadly, this seems to be becoming the norm. Just walk past a cafe or restaurant to see couples, friends and family members with their heads in their smartphones, not conversing.
The downside of always being connected
There’s no doubt that technology has changed the way we relate today. Our smartphones have become an extension of our bodies. To leave home without yours can feel like you’ve left a limb at home for some people.
As much as technology and the Internet has changed our lives for the better, there can be a cost in your relationship when you are always connected online.
Some of these include:
- you’re not present with each other when sharing important moments
- you don’t have as much spontaneous fun in the moment
- your focus on capturing everything on your phone takes away from your memory of the event
- the quality of your relationship suffers from not ‘being’ with each other
- you can feel isolated and disconnected from your partner
- your Facebook and social media conversations become more important than speaking with your partner
You can probably think of many more, but you get the gist here.
What is a digital detox?
I recently came across the phrase ‘digital detox’ and thought what a great thing idea this was for people to do on a regular basis.
A digital detox is similar to any detox where you have a break from something and cleanse. The most common detox is an alcohol or drug detox where you abstain from the alcohol or drug to cleanse your body and return to a state of health.
The digital detox is about having a period of time where you don’t access the Internet, use technology or go online. This can be a predetermined time, such as a day, a night, a weekend, or longer.
On a smaller scale, some people are now all putting their smartphone on the table when they meet friends at a bar or pub and then have the rule that the first person to check their phone has to pick up the tab. A nice incentive for not being connected.
The idea is that you and your partner (although you can do it just on your own if you want and that still works well), will have a complete break from being online.
The easiest way to do this is to turn off your smartphone and put it in a drawer where you can’t access it.
I think to have a digital detox for a day on the weekend, or even the whole weekend can work very well. Then you need to decide with your partner what you want to do. Often having a fun joint activity can be a great way of moving your focus back onto each other and becoming ‘present’.
Check out the video below that went viral recently. It beautifully, and sadly showed how this is affecting the quality of our friendships and relationships.
Have you had a digital detox before? If so, how was it? Leave your comments below.
Do you need relationship help?
photo credit: `James Wheeler
Since 2003, Clinton Power has helped thousands of couples and individuals as a counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice in Sydney and online in Australia. Clinton regularly comments in the media on issues of relationships and has appeared on Channel 7, The Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC Radio. Clinton’s eBook, 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship is available through his website or Amazon. Click here to take Clinton’s relationship checkup quiz to find out how well you know your partner.