Nearly everyone has a smart phone these days. And let’s face it, they are far more than just phones, they are mini computers that we walk around with and use all the time. We have become quite reliant on them, and as amazing as the technology is and as many benefits as they provide, there are definite pitfalls. It’s not unusual to hear that the overuse of a cell phone has led to big problems in a relationship. In fact, there are many husbands who want to know what to do when their wife is on the phone all the time.
Because phones do so much more than just let us talk to people there are endless reasons to use them. From games, to texting, to internet searches and, yes, social media, it is actually possible to sit for hours using your phone. But when a wife is on her phone all the time rather than interacting with her husband and family there are big issues. And it’s not always easy to know what to do about it.
Signs That Your Phone Is Causing Problems
The miracle of technology that allows us to connect globally with long lost friends and order toilet paper with a few key taps can also be the thing that creates an enormous divide in our relationships. The connection we have with these devices can make intimacy with our partners more difficult to achieve and sustain.
Increasingly, reports that their wife is always on the phone is one of the more dominant complaints that men have. It can even seem like she’s addicted to her phone. Problems with phone addiction are beginning to rival the more common issues regarding sex and money that many couples deal with. Now relationships are being disrupted by inappropriate and constant use of cell phones during times that should be reserved for personal connection like dinners, date nights, the bedroom, or even during conversations about important subjects.
Even though many men may recognize that there’s something wrong, the normalcy of the behavior in today’s society still can leave them asking if their wife’s cell phone use is really a problem. If you’re wondering if it’s a problem or just you, ask yourself the following questions.
- Is your wife phubbing you? Yes, there’s actually a term for those that ignore, or snub, their partner by using their phone – phubbing (phone snubbing). When your wife is so absorbed in the worlds associated with her phone that it makes it hard for her to focus on you it’s easy to feel secondary in her life. So, if she seems so intent on what’s going on in her social media account or getting the high score in Candy Crush that she can’t engage in conversation or make eye-contact, her phone has definitely become a problem.
- Has she developed a more intimate relationship with her phone than with you? If you have found that the blue glow of her phone is more prominent in the bedroom than pillow talk or intimacy there’s an issue. More and more men are saying that their wives bring their phone to bed and seem more interested in it than them. Often it seems that their wife is addicted to her phone. This isn’t healthy for you as a couple or for her as a person.
- Has she become obsessed with Instagram, Facebook, or other social media outlets? While texting, shopping and gaming on smart phones take a lot of attention, social media is by far the biggest consumer of time for many. And, unfortunately, these platforms can be gateways to inappropriate relationships. It can feel very easy and very safe to flirt on Facebook, or follow someone on Instagram and begin a direct message relationship and pretend that these connections don’t affect your marriage. Sadly, they do and often in a negative way. Even more sadly, the impact of these relationships is often not realized until a lot of damage has been done.
- Does your wife act like a child is missing if she can’t find her phone? This level of separation anxiety when missing a device is unhealthy and a sign that she’s too connected to her phone. As a consequence there is likely a negative impact on your relationship due to her obsession with her phone.
If the answers to any (or all) of the questions above is yes, then your instincts are probably dead on. Your wife being on the phone all the time is definitely a problem.
Why Your Wife May Be Spending So Much Time On Her Phone
There are a number of reasons your wife may be spending so much time on her phone. One of the biggest is that phones are addictive. There are a million ways that they draw you in, from the ease of access to, well, everything, to the colors and graphics, as well as the immediate gratification of being able to do “things.”
Dr. Kurt counsels couples daily. In his practice phone use has become an increasingly prominent topic. When asked about his experience with this issue he had this to say:
Smart phones are the perfect escape. Always there. Quick and easy. They can even make it look like we're being productive. But they also can serve as a drug. The pleasure they bring releases feel good chemicals in our brains that are very enjoyable, powerful and addictive. When we're feeling down, unhappy or even depressed our phones can be a quick, albeit temporary, fix. Be careful how you use yours. Phones are meant to be a tool, not a way for us to cope with or escape from our lives."
So the reasons your wife spends so much time on her phone can vary, but below are some of the most common culprits.
- Avoidance. Are you having problems, or are there difficult topics that need to be discussed? If so then her constant phone use may be a way of avoiding facing relationship problems or painful topics. Today’s smart phones provide an easy refuge for avoiding problems. Rather than talk about things that are going on, or discuss emotional or painful issues, you can hide in your phone.
- Neglect. If you and your wife often find yourself sitting in silence, or you have become preoccupied with other things, she may be feeling neglected. Her phone and what she can do with it may be acting as a method of self-soothing.
- Boredom. Phones have become boredom killers. We have become a society of constant engagement and immediate gratification. If we have nothing to do for even a moment we fill our time looking at the worlds our phones give us access to – and it can be hard to stop. While hobbies that engage your mind and creativity, especially if you can share them, are preferable, if your wife has found herself with too much time on her hands it’s possible she’s using her phone so much because she’s bored. The big problem with this is the habits it creates. And once these habits form they can be hard to break.
It’s important to remember that not all phone use is bad. There are several things that phones provide that are both productive and positive. Mental stimulation can occur through certain game applications, time can be saved through certain shopping and ordering apps, and of course the communication aspects.
If you find that your wife is always on her phone and it’s causing problems you will need to spend a little time understanding why it’s happening. And you will also need to talk to her – calmly. Helping her understand how her being on the phone all the time is making you feel is a good first step in changing her behavior. Don’t expect her to give it up cold turkey though.
If your wife is on the phone all the time she will need to make a plan on curbing things and that will likely happen in stages. You can be a positive influence and help by engaging with her and looking for opportunities for you both to detach. Chances are you can use a break from your phone too.
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