Phones and social media are killing couples every single day. Some recent studies have found that there are many people who would choose to give up sex for a week before they would give up their phones. If you have a phone in your hand, you aren’t able to focus 100% of your attention to your partner or anyone else for that matter. There are few things that I find more annoying than when I’m in a session with a floundering couple who have come to me asking for help and one of their phones keep ringing or going off and they check it every time and even answer it. This is a big red flag to me that this person is not invested in these sessions or the relationship and has no real desire to change any of their own behaviors. What does it say to the partner? It says the exact same thing, which is absolutely heart-breaking to me when I see the deflated look come across that one’s face when these things happen. I know you’re probably thinking, “There’s no way this girl has never put her phone in front of her partner!” You’re absolutely right, because I am human, but I also try to make sure he understands exactly why the phone call or text is important to me at that moment and apologize for allowing it to interfere with our quality time together. Look at it this way, if you were in the middle of closing a huge deal with a customer at work and you knew that it was going to gain you tons of money and success, would you be texting or answering your phone when it rings? My guess is you answered “no” to that question because most people don’t want to do anything that could possibly jeopardize a good opportunity with a customer or client. Well, look at your relationship as a huge business deal that could go down the toilet at any given moment because of your inattentive behavior and lack of concern regarding their feelings and needs. If you want your relationship to be healthy and strong, make it a point to leave your phones in another room or in your purse when you all are eating dinner, watching a movie or TV together, having family and friends over, out at a restaurant, and even in the car together. Now, this isn’t going to be easy to make this change for either of you, but to start this new trend, talk to your partner about how you think that it could help build a better core to your relationship if you all paid a little bit more undivided attention to each other and you feel like this could be a good way to do that. Admit that you’ve noticed that you play, talk, and/or text on your phone when you should be paying attention to him and you don’t want that to destroy your all’s relationship as it has many others’. Tell your partner how important he is to you and how much making this change means to you. This one minor change can make a huge difference in the quality of time you all spend together. If executed appropriately, you can expect to see more depth to your conversations, stronger feelings of intimacy, and more patience and understanding from one another.
Ladies, men can’t read our minds! We tend to think that just because we said something that they actually heard us and understood us. This would be great if it was true, but it absolutely isn’t. They might hear us, but not understand us, which can be way worse than them not hearing us at all, because our message either gets lost or completely misinterpreted.
In my practice, I hear women say every day that she said this or that and the man will look at her with a blank stare and say, “Yeah, so?” When I turn to the man and say, “What does what she just said mean to you?” it is almost guaranteed that his response will be drastically different from what the woman was actually meaning. If you simply say to a man, “I need you to start calling me when you leave the bar” he might think you are just trying to keep tabs on him while in reality you need him home sooner because you worry yourself to death until he arrives home. If you don’t give the why or reason behind your need, the other person will automatically fill in that blank with something that may or may not be accurate. So in this case you could say, “Sweetie, I really need you to give me a call or text when you’re leaving the bar or planning on staying later than expected, because I wake up at 1am and think you’re dead in a ditch, worry myself sick, can’t sleep, and then wake up the next day feeling horrible. I don’t mind if you’re out late at all. I just need you to communicate with me so I don’t worry so much.” Always try to use, “I need _____, because _______.” If you do this, you’ll leave much less room for miscommunication and misinterpretation. Now, if you do all of this and he’s still confused or appears to be dismissing you, ask him if he understood you or ask him to explain how he understood what you just said. If he did misunderstand something, you’ll now have the opportunity to try giving the why again in a different way that might make a little more sense to him. However, if you never ask if he understood or what he exactly what he understood, you’ll assume he got the message loud and clear. The next time that incident occurs, you’ll be upset and think he is actively defying your needs while, in actuality, he thinks he is doing exactly what you wanted.