How To Stop Technology & Social Media From Ruining Your Relationship


Boundaries are healthy — especially when it comes to technology.

Technology can enrich our lives in many wonderful, unforeseen ways. We can communicate around the globe faster than ever, have information at the touch of a button, and never be far from being able to reach out to someone anytime you want or need it. We can even order food, clothes, and even taxis from our phones.

There's something special about always having a mini-computer near you whenever you need it.

But according to therapist Jill Kahn and psychologist Stan Tatkin in the YourTango Experts video above, those same amazing technological advances are causing some totally awful issues in relationships like we’ve never seen before. Some couples even say that social media is ruining their relationships. And it all comes down to a matter of availability.

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For most couples, technology and internet access are positive things, says Tatkin. Texting and social media can allow couples to talk during the day, share moments together even when they’re apart, and yes, even be used for some “simmering” sexting moments to help re-ignite their sex lives. You can share inside jokes, text when something or someone is bothering you, or even shoot your partner a quick “I love you” message to let them know you’re thinking about them.

So just how could that same technology and social media be ruining your relationship?

One of the biggest concerns for many couples is the “ease of access” for spouses or partners to cheat on them through social media messaging, like Facebook. In fact, simply having constant access to the internet can actually be getting in the way of your time together and causing huge disruptions in the quality of time that you’re spending together, too.

One spouse might be trying to have a conversation, while the other is enraptured with an app on their phone. This is a simple example of how we can become distracted by technology and ignore the person we're with IRL.

Not only can these behaviors interrupt your quality time and make your partner feel second to your cell phone, it can develop into an even bigger problem down the line 

Of course, the deepest fear for most couples when it comes to the inter-connectivity of smartphones and messaging services is the ability — or availability — for cheating to occur.

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Because that same connective technology can be used to connect with other people in inappropriate ways, like an old high school flame reaching out after a divorce, or an office colleague you find attractive. And it could start off innocently enough, but these relationships — and the hiding and suspicion that comes with them — can become a negative drain on your relationship.

So what can you do to protect your relationship from the dangers of technology creeping in?

Total transparency, say both Kahn and Tatkin. Both of you should make time to be in your “couple bubble,” Kahn says. This “bubble” is the time, attention, love, and effort you bring into the relationship in regards to each other. And anything that is diverting away from this place of trust and honesty is something that needs to be cut from your life.

That includes spending too much time texting while you're supposed to be spending time with your spouse, or talking to someone inappropriate or in a boundary-crossing way.

Technology is amazing, but we all need to set boundaries to make sure that it's not being abused and causing damage to your relationship.


So if you fear that phones, computers, or any other forms of technology are interfering with your relationship, it’s time to reevaluate those outside sources, set boundaries, and maintain honest, open communication with your partner.

And you’re using that technology, make sure you're using it for the right reasons: to make your relationship stronger than ever.

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Jill Kahn is a licensed marriage and family therapist and licensed professional counselor in Sandpoint, Idaho. She also uses EDMR therapy to help patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If you have any questions about your relationship issues or would like to reach out to her for any other reason, you can contact her here.