I often see couples with concerns over limited connection with one another. We live in a world where we are constantly connected. Smartphones have changed the way we communicate. We receive work emails when we are no longer in the office, are able to communicate significant life events to people we love with the click of a SEND button, and can even engage in intimate moments with one another when long distances away.
It is important to take advantage of these moments of connection. The use of a smartphone can be truly helpful to establish, maintain, and reestablish our relationships. We have the ability to connect to people when they are not able to be physically present in out lives. Unfortunately, the same smartphones that provide us with a world of connection can be the same devices that completely disconnect us from those we love. Take a moment to reflect on a time when the same smartphones used to maintain connection, instead, created “real-time” disconnection in your relationship. If you cannot fully answer the questions below, take a week to monitor your smartphone using behaviors.
- Have there ever been moments when you prioritized an email, text message, or phone call over “real-time” connection with your significant other?
- Do you remember ever dismissing your “real-time” connection to respond to your smartphone device?
- How many times to do you keep your smartphone attached to your person?
- Where do you place your smartphone when you are having sex? Or enjoying a romantic dinner out? Or getting a cup of coffee together?
- When you are having a relaxing evening with your significant other, how many times do you check your smartphone?
- How long do you wait between checking your smartphone device?
- In what moments do you feel dismissed when your significant others uses their smartphone device?
- Have you ever texted your significant other when you are in the same room to get their attention?
It is important to understand the importance of “real-time” connection. Through “real-time” connection we can experience a hormonal high. By engaging in physical touch our body releases the feel good hormone oxytocin, usually referred to as the “cuddle hormone” or “love hormone”. This hormone has been associated with increasing pair bonding, trust, and empathy; further aiding connection. It is time to say “hold on” to smartphone connections and “I am here” to the “real-time” connection. If you and your partner are in need of more “real-time” connection, I encourage you to follow the suggestions below. There are many things about your partner that you cannot discover through using your smartphone to Google, FaceTime, or even to sext one another.
* Note there are certain qualities /ways of connecting that only come through from the use of technology – but if you are reading this tip than our assumption is that you over rely on smartphone technology and have under-developed the kind of connection that comes from “real-time.”
Ditch the Internet and smartphone devices.
Decide on a time that you decide as a couple to put down your smartphone devices. This could be for one hour, during a date. Maybe you choose a whole day. Can you even imagine deciding to disconnect from your smartphone for the entirety of your vacation with your significant other?
We often cannot wait to discover new information at the cost of creating memorable experiences in “real-time”. If you find yourself always Googling, make this a fun dating activity. You and your partner can decide on something you would like to research and discover together. Think of a few topics you could learn about together. This is moment when you can use your smartphone technology together.
Share yourself with your partner.
Write down three to five questions you have for your partner. Ask you partner to do the same. Instead of Goggling some random facts on the Internet, learn random facts about each other.
What do you want your boundaries to be around smartphone devices in your love life? Smartphones have become increasingly more important. We have the ability to connect to everyone at any moment, and many of us even prioritize smartphone connections when we are in “real-time” with the person we love. Together decide what boundaries you want to set. Reflect on the questions below...
- When is it okay to be on your smartphone?
- When is it absolutely not okay to be on your smartphone?
- How do you want to communicate with one another when you feel like you need to use your smartphone during a time you decide it is not okay to use your smartphone?
- How do you want to approach moments when you feel like your significant other is choosing their smartphone device over you?
Express your feelings.
Reflect on how it feels when you are being interrupted by someone else’s use of their smartphone. Talk to one another about this. Do you experience similar or different emotions? What is it like to hear your significant other’s experience? To share your own experience?
Touch each other.
Explore each other’s bodies. Get curious about how it feels when you touch your significant other and when they touch you. This may lead to further sexual touching and it may not. Be in the moment. Feel the sensations of touch.
If you would like support with working on your connection with your significant other, please reach out to The Center for Growth/Sex Therapy in Philadelphia at 267 324 9564. All the therapist are trained to work with couples to help them reconnect with each other.