Does Your Partner Care More About Their Phone Than You?

Relationship Advice: Is Social Media Wrecking Your Relationship?

With so many entertaining options in the palm of your hand, how can your partner possibly compete?

The rise of smart phones and an abundance of social media networks have made it easier to connect with people from around the world. You can keep closer contact with your siblings or even with strangers with whom you share common interests. Suddenly you don't have to depend on the people in close proximity to you for socializing! At any moment you can text, update your status on Facebook, look at secrets on Whisper, check your favorite celebrities tweets, and much, much more. With so many entertaining options literally in the palm of your hand, how can your relationship possibly compete?

More and more couples are coming to me complaining that social media, texting, and smart phones are wreaking havoc on their relationships

Here are a few of the most common complaints:

  • "She posted embarrassing pictures of herself/me/our dog on Facebook!"
  • "She complained about our relationship on Twitter. Now all of my friends know about it!"
  • "She's always looking at her cell phone during dinner. It really bothers me that she won't put it down and talk to me!"
  • "She always takes calls from her friend X, even during our intimate time together. I feel like she cares more about her than me!"
  • "I found out about her diagnosis/job loss/disappointment on Facebook! Why didn't she tell me first before sharing it with the whole world?!"
  • "She's friends with her ex on Facebook. They still post on each other's walls and constantly comment on each other's statuses. She interacts with him more than she does with me. It's embarrassing and I'm worried something else is going on between them."

How to Avoid a Social Media Divorce

Social media is a powerful tool to connect people, but it can also drive wedges between yourself and your significant other.  If you haven't run into one of the complaints I shared above in your own relationship, you're lucky. In this modern age, most couples will deal with one or more issues relating to social media and smart phone use at some point. The key to dealing with these issues is to both take preventative measures and to have open, honest communication about it when issues come up.

To prevent issues, start by having a conversation with your significant other about what is okay and not okay to post on social media. Ask her if it's okay to post photos, videos, tag her in posts, or discuss your relationship. Discuss limits like getting her approval before posting pictures or tagging her in a post about your sex life. It's likely that one of you has more boundaries than the other does about which parts of your private life you want shared on social media. To avoid hurting your significant other or losing her trust, respect her boundaries. The health of your relationship is more important than posting photos of her taking tequila shots on your night out without kids.

While you're discussing what's okay to share on social media, talk about when using cell phones and social media is off limits. Do you want the phone off at the dinner table? Do you want her to limit the number of Instagram photos she takes during date night? How long after sex do you want her to wait before checking her missed texts? Having this discussion BEFORE issues arise is much easier because you're not feeling upset during the conversation. 

So…what do I do if it IS a problem?

Do you have one of the "common complaints?" Is social media and cell phone use already a problem in your relationship? 

Regardless of which issue is causing problems, the first thing you need to do is take a few minutes (and a few deep breaths if you're feeling upset) and pinpoint the exact problem. Do you feel ignored, rejected, or disconnected from her? Are you jealous of her relationships with other people? Are you embarrassed or hurt by the things she's sharing? 

Once you've pinpointed the problem, ask yourself what you would like her to do. What specific action would make the issue better? For example, if you feel ignored when she uses her phone during dinner, ask for a break from cell phone use during dinner. Of course if you ask her to put down her cell phone, you need to do that too!

Now sit down with her when you're calm, have a clear view of the issue, and a proposed solution. Talk to her calmly using "I feel" statements and avoid being judgmental or confrontational. Work as a team to create a better relationship together. Once you've explained how you feel and given her space to share too, suggest your proposed solution. Ask for her input and see if you can come to an agreement on how to resolve the issue. 

Technology is great,  just…

We're in a really unique period in history where we can connect to more people than ever before. It's pretty incredible how easy it has become to talk to people all over the world and share ideas. We just have to remember that the important connections to foster in our lives are the people who mean the most to use—our significant others. So take the time to unplug from social media, turn off your smart phone and spend some quality time with your special someone!

This article was originally published at Lesbian Love Guru. Reprinted with permission from the author.