20 Oct Member Letter: “My Phone Was Destroying My Relationship”
There’s always a moment of panic when I know that I’ve been caught not listening to someone. I should be paying attention but instead I’ve been playing around on my phone. It’s a bad habit these days and one that we use when we’re bored and even when we’re not. My phone seems to constantly beckon for my attention. With its flashing little lights and discreet rumble in my pocket, it’s hard to not reach for my phone.
Even when I know there’s no message there I still feel the need to check my phone because maybe there could be a message I missed. Maybe if I check it often enough I’ll be able to pull even more of that feeling of being instantly connected to someone.
I’ve been thinking lately about how much I use my phone and saw a call for anonymous submissions. Maybe this is a confession? Does this count as a confession?
It doesn’t have any of the sexy details that a confession should have but I guess I’ve sinned in my relationships.
There is a smartphone problem and I know that I’m not the only one that has it. If you’re on the bus, then fine. Use your smartphone to your heart’s content but this is when I’m supposed to be listening to people. This is when I’m in meetings at work and when I’m supposed to find myself at rapt attention. We are bombarded constantly by stimulation and now I almost feel lost when the stimulation isn’t there.
Smartphones are amazing. I love smartphones but I find that it’s causing problems. Not just with my husband but with my boyfriend too.
I’ve had to stop and take a look at my relationships. There are other problems than just the phone, but not being present can signal a bigger issue. If I’m always looking for some kind of instant gratification then I’m not paying enough attention to what or who is right in front of me.
The more I think about it the more I start to get worried. Is my smartphone making me more stressed? Is it making me less connected rather than more connected? Is it bad that I would rather spend time texting multiple people than actually spending time face to face with someone?
All signs point to yes and I just wish that I could get all of the benefits of smartphones without any of the negatives. That’s not how life works but I can wish it anyway.
Everything that I’ve wanted can be found in a combination of having a husband and a boyfriend. My husband knows that I’m seeing someone on the side and we’ve talked about it. For us Ashley Madison was a saving grace. When our marriage was losing its spark we turned to each other and decided that having an open marriage was the best way for us to stay together, open and honest instead of having an affair. It was one of those ideas that shouldn’t have worked but it’s been helping so far.
So why am I still so connected to my smartphone if I’m happy in my relationships?
It has become a safety blanket for me. I can look at my smartphone to let someone know that I’m not interested when they approach me on the subway. I can stay in touch with my friends no matter what time of the day it is. I can never be bored. The downside? My husband gets neglected at the dinner table when my phone inevitably buzzes. My boyfriend is annoyed when I tell him “I just need to send this one last message.” I know it bothers them, and it would probably bother me too, but it’s such an addiction for me.
This is the power of the smartphone, but if it’s damaging my relationships, then I need to take a step back to look at my habits. Tossing the smartphone away isn’t an option. Just like laptops and the internet, smartphones are a part of our lives for better or worse.
But my phone was destroying my relationship.
I just need to pay more attention and be more mindful. In any kind of relationship, a little attention can make people feel good.
It’s time to put the phone away.
**Some personal information has been edited to protect the writer’s privacy.