Is phone addiction destroying your relationship? How to overcome it?

By Prapoorna M

Last Updated: November 12, 2022

Are you the one who is available primarily online rather than offline? Do you see life as a bunch of busy days? Does the time without the internet or smartphone seem so stupid to you? Then you are undoubtedly under the trap of the internet. Many call this mobile addiction. Though you are not one of a kind, if you suffer because of your spouse or partner, you know what we are talking about! Yes, the effect of phone addiction on relationships. Is phone addiction destroying your relationship? Thinking about how to overcome it? Here it is.

Is this Dependence?

The arrival of smartphones has increased internet usage, while the trendy apps made people glued to them. While internet usage is more on smartphones, a dependence has developed, understood as smartphone addiction. This increased habit or addiction is actually towards the internet. We depend on the internet for everything; hence, it is “Internet dependence.” We depend on the internet from our professional needs to our personal and emotional needs.

A girl checking her Facebook account
A girl checking her Facebook account

A Smartphone works anywhere as long as the radio waves reach them. You get them if you are at the dining table, in the bathroom, in the bedroom, in the classroom, or in the office, literally anywhere! They allow us to do different activities at various places, whether appropriate or inappropriate, such as playing games at the work desk, messaging in a movie theatre, and listening to music in the classroom. This means it is difficult for people around them to understand how they use their smartphones. This device is gradually occupying a prime place in our daily lives.

The continual usage of a mobile phone for a certain period, checking the notifications for a single beep, and prioritizing these little devils over daily life activities can be understood as mobile/smartphone addiction. It is a common scenario these days to see people connect online rather than smiling at each other face to face. You might have observed that people on the streets who used to wish earlier are even busy burying their heads in their phones. People hardly notice a smile, while being active online. However, directly or indirectly, they are conveying their priorities with actions.

Phubbing

Many of them, cannot leave their mobile phones during a conversation or even use the device during a joint conversation. It is Phubbing. Phubbing is a term obtained by combining the words “Phone” and “Snub.” It indicates a kind of clinging to the phone, not paying undivided attention while being with some other person. Phubbing makes the other understand that the person is only half-listening.

Rahul and Priya discuss how to celebrate their daughter’s birthday. As Priya proposes her idea of celebration, Rahul turns to his phone as immediately as it beeps. In less than a minute, he gets a message from a colleague. He just sees it and thinks of replying to it. Though Priya tries to ignore this, she clearly understands that he didn’t listen completely to her. When questioned, Rahul tries to confront, repeating the same lines as Priya told with a few mistakes. Basically, he demands that he’s with her. In this conversation, the joy of doing something for the kid, the excitement of planning a wonderful day, or the happiness of gifting a memorable day to their child simply disappears.

Wondering if this is done intentionally. Well, it depends on how you take it!

How does this habit affect you?

The habit of phubbing, smartphone addiction or internet dependence, you say, certainly has a severe effect on different aspects of our life. Here are the top ones.

Effect on Cognition

Our cognitive abilities are highly affected by our internet dependence. The focus on what we speak, hear, or do gets diverted with a single beep. Also, with the habit of mindlessly scrolling through different posts, we are practising the art of shifting focus with each passing minute. Some people might claim it as a great quality, referring to Multitasking. But, on a practical note, you are dividing your attention. You can do multiple works when you practice as a habit. But, focusing on a thing can be done only one at a time.

Are you prioritizing phone over relationship?
Are you prioritizing phone over relationship?

Effect on Relationships

We are becoming less and less practiced in consciously concentrating on someone else. Even when our partner or spouse is trying to have a conversation, though we are physically present, there’s no point. The partner is not present during a conversation and is constantly busy with his smartphone instead of talking. This “Body present-mind absent” attitude is highly hazardous to relationships in the long term. Because of this attitude, the emotional connection between partners is missing. Intimacy, closeness, sharing of thoughts, having a good conversation, and making beautiful memories would seem like a distant dream. In such situations, when this habit is prolonged for a certain period, the cracks in the relationship will get so wider that they hardly come together.

Effect on Personality

But why does anyone wants to spoil their relationship? No, of course. They would not be aware of it before it happened. Phubbing works like a slow poison for relationships. The habit of being constantly available online is the root of this issue. Being available all the time is more a sign of slavery than importance. This kind of behavior greatly impacts the person’s personality, and it changes accordingly. It means the thought of being available always changes into a habit, and it affects a person’s personality, making him an indirect slave.

Psychological Effect

Being constantly available digitally and networking via social media, such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and others, can damage our relationships and lead to psychological problems.

Along with the known harmful effects of more screen time, radiation, and the risk of addiction, increased usage of smartphones leads to other mental disorders, such as depression and developmental disorders. The release of a neurochemical, dopamine, is controlled highly with the usage of these smartphones. Dopamine which gives pleasure, could lead to depression, when released in irrational amounts. In addition, depression could trigger when we go through posts portraying happiness by our friends and family. It is because of the comparison that we do unconsciously.

A worried man speaking over the phone
A worried man speaking over the phone

Studies say that chronic feelings of loneliness emerge because of this habit. You might have observed that people who use cell phones can easily get emotionally disturbed. They get bored and sometimes can’t empathize too. Increased internet usage affects creativity, influences thought processes reduces gratitude and expression and increases dependability in people. Even the regular sleep pattern of people is also getting affected, leading to an imbalance in our body’s Circadian rhythms. When children are addicted to this at a young age, this habit leads to speech problems, developmental delays, and even Autism spectrum disorder.

Tips on how to save your relationship

Do you have a feeling that the smartphone is his priority? Do you think he is Phubbing or suffers from smartphone addiction? Then following these steps will help you gain peace.

  • Promise that you will be away from gadgets this weekend and give 100% attention to each other.
  • Make sure to follow certain cell phone-free zones like the bedroom and the bathroom.
  • Avoid using mobile phones while having food and have family time at the dining table.
  • Make your bedroom a strictly private zone where only love, fun, and warmth are allowed, but no gadgets.
  • Have clear time slots for the internet and follow accordingly to answer WhatsApp messages and emails and check social media.
  • Do you think you should talk about this with him? If you think cellphone is slowly occupying a major place in between you, yes, you must! Keep aside your inhibitions and open up today!

Love could be so beautiful if it were not for our smartphones. Let us love our family, friends, and fellow beings. No gone days are ever going to come back in our life. So, it is important to regulate the usage of smartphones as immediately as possible. If you’re looking for professional help, we are glad to help you. Book a consultation today for a better tomorrow.