6 ways cell phones are ruining relationships and how to fix it

Your Phone Addiction is Doing More Damage Than Good

Our relationships are what matter most to us. They should be our top priority because they bring such goodness to our lives. Like a warm sunny day or our favorite meal, the people we are connected to are the highlights of our everyday.

Image of a woman smiling as her boyfriend kisses her on the forehead.

With the rise of smartphones, however, it seems competitors like Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube have captured the attention of thousands of what would be healthy relationships. We’ve all seen the effects of smartphones in our day to day lives. While there are plenty of pros to consider in having a smartphone, the cons have certainly begun to grow. When it comes to relationships, phone addiction is becoming increasingly toxic. On average, Americans check their phones 262 times a day!

We’ve written this blog to help you identify 6 ways your phone addiction is hurting your relationships, and 5 ways to fix it!

1. You’re Letting Life Pass You By 

Have you heard of the word ‘phubbing’? People have created it to describe when you ignore someone to look at your phone. Ouch! We’re positive it’s happened to all of us; suddenly, you realize that the quick moment you took to check a message has turned into a scroll, and you've been tuning out the people around you for longer than you'd like. And we've all been on the receiving end, too, when the attention of whoever we're speaking to is caught by their phone, and the conversation stalls.

Image of a couple holding hands with a guy wearing an iPhone costume.

A phone addiction steals from ordinary moments of connection just as much as it distracts from special memories. The joke someone made in the group, the chance to dig a little deeper into conversation, or the attention of a loved one; you miss out on all of these when you choose the glare of a phone. 

Ultimately our phone addiction robs us of connection, leaving us looking at a bright screen rather than a best friend’s face. This can make or break our relationships! Without intentional effort, our connection dies. Without connection, there is no relationship.

2. You’re Distracted More Often 

Our relationships fail without proper attention and focus! With a phone addiction comes more distraction. There is nothing like the loss of focus during a conversation. A lack of focus in any relationship causes that relationship to weaken and feelings of rejection to rise. It packs a sting when a phone is chosen over voiced thoughts, ideas, and intentions. Feeling rejected when you’re having quality time with someone you love can be a tough pill to swallow.

A couple looks bored as a guy in an iPhone costume sits between them.

3. You’re Getting Bored and You’re Not Satisfied 

This can cause major rifts in any relationship. Whether it’s your friends, your family, or your significant other, a phone addiction creates a constant hunger for more connection. Using a phone for connection lessens the intentionality behind an actual relationship and lessens any real connection. 

Your Love Languages Are Lacking

When you’re addicted to your phone, you don’t have all that much time to express love. The 5 love languages: touch, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and words of affirmation are essential and a valid need in all relationships. With a phone addiction stealing the satisfaction, attention, and love, relationships suffer. 

Attitudes of negativity, selfishness, and criticism are common when it comes to dissatisfied relationships. By cutting out your phone addiction and giving the proper amount of attention, devotion, and energy towards the ones you love, you’ll keep from a dissatisfied relationship.

4. You’re Fighting and Feeling Stressed!

Along with the constant information, notifications, and distractions a phone addiction brings, comes a sense of overload… aka stress. 

Stress is the number one cause of fighting in most relationships. Stress from a phone addiction can negatively affect relationships in all spheres of life and result in poor communication. 

Image of a woman protecting a man who is wearing an iPhone costume from her boyfriend who is holding flowers for her

We convey our value for one another by the way we communicate - that's how our relationships work. But when emotions build up and stress compounds under constant emails and notifications, when you always have something to do in the back of your head, tense communication can become normal. In order to guard against tension, cutting out phone addiction will do wonders for your relationship.

Breaking your phone addiction helps to cut out distractions and relieve the stress of relentless information overload. This helps you to stay calm and focus on clear, loving communication, which in turn, strengthens your relationship.

5. Your Sex Life is Suffering!

Phone addiction has proven to be one of the biggest hindrances and stumbling blocks to date when it comes to sex.

Imagine... your partner hops into bed and immediately begins their usual scroll through Instagram, Netflix, Facebook, you name it. You’re left frustrated, rejected, and honestly, pretty disappointed. You were in the mood! But instead of connecting intimately with your partner, you’ve been traded in for a virtual reality…phone addiction at its finest. 

6. Your Family Misses You 

Having a phone addiction means that your phone dominates your attention. The majority of your time is easily spent glued to a screen and all other calls on your attention end up being short-handed.  

For family dynamics, this is extremely dangerous! 

A family looks distraught as they sit at a table and a guy in an iPhone costume yells at them

Being able to give our kids our full attention is actually key to them developing healthy relationship skills. Nowadays, kids are constantly being ignored and parents are missing out on life’s greatest moments, all while feeding their phone addiction. Don’t let a screen keep you from real-life moments of growth, celebration, and wonder when it comes to your family.

5 Ways to Make a Change

Ready to make a change and make the most of your relationships? We’ve got a 5 step guide to help you break your phone addiction and get back to really living.

1. Have Technology Free Time Zones

Here are some practical tips for tech free time: 

  • Put the phones away when you go on dates
  • Leave phones tucked away when at home
  • Practice family meals without phones present
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour before bed, put the phone away

2. Make it Fun

When going out to eat with family or friends, make a game out of your phone addiction. Have everyone lay their phones face down on the table. The first person to “crack” and reach for their phone during the meal, has to pay for dessert, drinks, or someone else's plate!

3. Amp Up the Intimacy

Did you know that alerts on your phone trigger the same chemicals in your brain as physical touch does? So, if you’re trying to wean yourself off of your phone, why not amp up the actual intimacy? Being physically affectionate helps you to stay grounded and present in the moment; it stops you from being distracted, and it helps to strengthen your connection all at once! Check out this video to see how these couples took their intimacy to the next level. Don’t be afraid to communicate your needs and say you’d prefer to connect in person, rather than through a screen.

A woman embraces her boyfriend from behind.

4. Silence the Phone and Leave It in Your Bag or in Your Car

This one’s simple and sweet. To curb your phone addiction, whenever you go out on an errand, try silencing your phone and leaving it behind.

5. Take a Break

The classic antidote to a phone addiction: simply take a break. Many of us can't imagine going a whole day without looking at our phones, so start small. You can begin with something as little as an hour a week that you intentionally turn off your phone and dare to leave it behind. But, if you want to break your phone addiction completely, aim to have phone-free time every single day. We recommend the hour before bed.

This will be hard at first, but you can gradually build up the amount of time you spend without looking at it until the thought doesn't even cross your mind.

Goodbye Phone Addiction

Without strong relationships, we find ourselves empty and longing for more. It’s because we were made for each other! 

Think of the relationships closest to you in your life. Has a phone addiction been robbing you of greater intimacy and connection? 

Now that you've learned about these 6 ways your phone addiction is hurting your relationships, and 5 ways to make a change, we hope you’ll put the relating back into your relationships and take the steps needed to break your phone addiction. 

If you’re looking for phone-free activities to help you build your relationships, be sure to check out our website for scratch-off adventures for every relationship! Whether it’s family, friends, couples, or yourself, we’d love to help you kick-start your journey towards being present: and help you have fun along the way!

 

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