February 8, 2017

7 Sneaky Ways Screen Addiction is Damaging Your Relationship

Written by Rachel Eddins

couple on their phones, not talking to each other

Screen addiction isn’t anything unusual these days.

High-definition TVs, ever more powerful computers, smaller yet faster tablets, more realistic video games, and multifunctional phones have become an indispensable part of life for many.

More and more people take their phones or other mobile devices everywhere. They eat in front of the TV watching sports or repeatedly checking their phone during meal time to see how the Houston Astros are playing. And instead of talking with their spouse when they’re off work, they prefer engaging in social media activities, spending their evening exchanging messages with strangers.

What about you?

Could it be that one or both of you suffer from screen addiction?

Has technology intruded on your romantic relationship? Do you check your phone all the time? Take it everywhere – including to the bathroom, and to bed? Is sex off the agenda because you’re too distracted by your phone or hooked on a video game?

Sneaky Ways Screen Addiction Causes Damage to Relationships

Technology has evolved so rapidly in the past years, most of us are only barely aware of how it can damage our closest relationships in the most devious ways. Screen addiction is serious. 

1. It robs you of privacy and enjoying experiences together.

Togetherness doesn’t mean just sitting in the same room or watching the same screen. A constant digital presence takes away your privacy and the quality of the time you spend together. Additionally, it makes it difficult to wholeheartedly devote your attention to the present moment.

2. It interferes with creating and strengthening interpersonal bonds.

Touching, holding hands, looking into each other’s eyes, kissing, or hugging produces the bonding hormone oxytocin, which builds and strengthens romantic attachment. This hormone, however, cannot be generated electronically. It requires physical presence and contact.

What is your relationship attachment style? Take this quiz and find out.

3. It erodes heartfelt, face-to-face communication.

It’s impossible to have a sincere relationship or a deep and intimate conversation via texting or Facebook messages. Replacing heartfelt, face-to-face talks with shallow pursuits – communicating impersonal and superficial matters – makes conversations less meaningful and satisfying.

4. It can lead to conflict and misunderstandings.

When you communicate via text only, you miss conveying valuable information about your emotions, like those contained in your tone of voice, facial expressions, touch, or body language. You lose a vital part of how humans communicate, which can lead to big misunderstandings.

5. It can make you indifferent and non-empathetic.

Seeking validation and recognition from strangers online gives instant gratification, but getting attached to meaningless approval will only turn you into a self-centered person who can become totally indifferent to real people and blind to their hardships.

6. It takes away your attention to your spouse.

Paying more attention to the screen than your mate is not only rude, it’s unloving. Sadly, it can leave your spouse feeling neglected, rejected, and hurt. The message you’re sending them is “this is more important or more interesting than you” or even “you’re not worthy of my attention.” Consequently, even small rejections can create wounds that, over time, can fester into anger and resentment.

7. It undermines trust and security.

Screen addiction can cause a lot of jealousy when you put your spouse in the position of having to compete with your new companion – an electronic device. Plus, social media connections can set the stage for emotional infidelity, leading you to give your intimacy away to someone other than your mate.

Of course, technology has its place. But you have to learn to use it to your advantage, without letting it interfere with your relationship. If you find yourself enslaved by screen addiction, seriously consider marriage counseling to help you learn how to reconnect with your partner.

Lamentably, people often think that keeping in constant contact with their spouse via phone or social media will improve their relationship. But, when it comes to communicating with your mate to create intimacy, quality outweighs quantity by far!

Learn more about Relationship Counseling or contact one of our counselors in Houston and find out how a counselor can help you resolve marital, family or work issues. To get started now give us a call to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.

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