The constant buzzing of notifications on the corner of the table was a stark reminder. A reminder of my partner’s nonstop phone addiction as we ate dinner together. Once, conversation and laughter filled the air between us. Now, the only sound between us was the tapping of their fingertips, scrolling. I had just about had enough.
Addiction to any form of media, such as phones or TV, can seriously alter the environment of a relationship. The time and emotional investment that an addict puts into their obsession may leave the concerned partner feeling neglected and drained. People who are committed to a long-term relationship may find themselves desperately seeking out a solution, and wondering how to get their partner to break the cycle.
The first step to breaking free from an addiction is awareness. Start talking to your partner about it. Maybe they’re not aware of how much they’re using their phone or the effects it has on the relationship. Have an honest conversation about it and, if need be, consult professionals. If talking doesn't help, take things deeper and visit therapists who specialize in technology addiction.
Next, setting boundaries is essential to breaking an addiction. Create a plan together to prioritize and strictly adhere to necessary hours phone-free. Relationships are built on communication, so if you both make a pact to remain phone-free during certain periods of the day or week, the phone addiction will slowly become manageable.
It works best if you and your partner find activities that help break the pattern. Consider planning events that don’t involve technology or engage in tasks that emphasize being present in the moment. Taking nature walks, playing board games, or engaging in a hobby are all excellent ways to bond and lessen the tech habits of your partner.
If your partner still resorts to their phone despite trying to take a break, there are other options you can look into. Apps like Freedom and Flipd can lock phones during certain moments of the day. Many of these apps offer the option to block websites and apps helping your partner to break their phone habits.
Most importantly, give your partner support. There will be times when breaking the pattern gets hard for them, and you’ll have to be understanding. Even during difficult times, keep motivating and understanding them to stay tech-free.
Change isn't easy, even when it involves something as mundane as using a phone. But with patience, understanding and a game plan, your partner can start moving away from their phone addiction and back towards the beauty of your relationship.
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