Is Your Phone Damaging Your Relationship? 21 Strategies to Take Control.

Phone Damaging Relationship

Image from Canva

Useful and everpresent, our pocket computer is designed for addiction. So how is your phone damaging your relationship? And what can we do?

The Sugar Doctor and Kia Handley discuss the impact of phone use in intimate relationships.

[Full Transcript Below - Please note this blog is a living piece and is continually updated as this is such an important issue of our times. You can download the transcript from the radio show, or read the living document below.]

You can listen to the show live on Monday mornings from 9:30 am on ABC Newcastle at 1233AM or stream live here.

[Original recording on ABC website here]

Kia Handley is: Not a car! Presenter ABC Newcastle. Loves vintage, Eurovision & great stories.

You can also find the incredibly talented Kia Handley on ABC  Newcastle Mornings here, Twitter @kiahandley  Facebook kiahandleyjourno and on her podcasts: This Retro Life & Let’s Talk-  Rural Mental Health, PLUS even more amazing gems here.

Episode Transcript:

Image shows a hand holding a phone with superimposed images of notications hovering in space above the phone.
Image from Canva

Why Do We Find Ourselves Endlessly Scrolling?

You get home from a busy day of work, ready for some downtime and to discover what has been happening in the wider world. You take out your phone, check, the news, check your emails, and check your social feeds.

All of a sudden you find hours have passed and you are still scrolling scrolling scrolling…and now you'll begin to see your phone damaging your relationship.

Why do we find it so hard to put down the phone?

"We want things and when we get them, we enjoy them. However, the brain circuit involved in wanting (mesolimbic dopaminergic system) is much more powerful than the brain circuit involved in enjoyment. The feeling of wanting something can be so strong that even when we find what we want, we don’t get much satisfaction. Sometimes, the wanting networks in the brain become hypersensitive and we get addicted: endless loops of seeking. In addiction, what we want becomes dissociated from what we enjoy. 

Technology often capitalizes on the potency of wanting, providing endless possibilities for seeking but few experiences that satiate. We might find fleeting pleasure, but no enduring satisfaction. Our “tolerance” increases, and we need more to achieve the same effects. The result: we keep clicking and scrolling, mindlessly consuming content, often with minimal oversight from cognitive control regions of the brain. Ultimately, this behavior depletes us, but feeds engagement-based business models." ~ Quote from The Center for Human Technology Website here.

Image shows old fashioned telephone handsets from the 80s on a messy benchtop. They are dusty and there is also a human skull, magnifying glass, golf ball and pen.
Image from Canva

How is Using Your Phone Damaging Your Relationship?

There are so many ways you'll find your phone damaging your relationships. The couples I work with on “the phone thing” have three main gripes;

  • One person is “chatting” online, to exes, to friends or colleagues, or to others, in a way that feels to their partner like infidelity
  • Someone is uncomfortable with the level or type of personal sharing on a public platform.
  • One partner feels like there is an issue with presence, level of connection, or quality of their time together.
[Read: Is Social Media a Force for Good or Evil in Relationships?]

20 Strategies to Stop Your Phone Damaging Your Relationship

Image of couple with VR headset.

Technological Solutions to Stop Your Phone Damaging Your Relationship

Relational Solutions to Stop Your Phone Damaging Your Relationship

The Big Guns to Stop Your Phone Damaging Your Relationship

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