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

A zombie couple looking at their phones

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

Tara Thomas

Hey, I'm Tara, relationship coach & couples therapist.

I'm definitely a weirdo, and have never traveled a conventional path-
It sucks because the world isn't designed for misfits, sometimes it's myself I'm rebelling against, and being a weirdo can be lonely.

I swear a lot, think life is too short to waste on drama & bullshit, and dream of a world where we ALL belong.

Tara Thomas

Hey, I'm Tara, relationship coach & couples therapist. I'm definitely a weirdo, and have never traveled a conventional path- It sucks because the world isn't designed for misfits, sometimes it's myself I'm rebelling against, and being a weirdo can be lonely. I swear a lot, think life is too short...

21 Tips: From small changes (grayscale) to the big guns (k- safe), reclaim your partners attention and stop your phone damaging your relationship.

Table of Contents

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

    Tara Thomas 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.]

    Audio

    [Original recording on ABC website here]

    You can also find the incredibly talented Kia Handley on ABC Newcastle Drive 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

    Four People sitting side by side on a couch, they are all looking down at their phones.
    Photo by Johnce on Getty Images Signature

    Why's it so Damned Hard to Put Down the Phone?!

    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.

    It's the dopamine, baby...

    The Centre for Humane Technology describes this perfectly;

    "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.

    How is 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

    A line of people on their phones walking through a door where they become protypes.
    Image by Kentoh from Getty Images

    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