Are you lonely because of your partner’s Smartphone?

By Dr. Paul Kelly, Updated September 4, 2023

Are you lonely because of your partner’s Smartphone?

Brittany said “When we first moved in together Devlin used to get up every morning, make coffee, and bring us each a cup.  We would talk in bed and be cosy together.  I loved starting my day like that.  He still brings me coffee, but now he is on his phone all the time.  If I say anything he might grunt if I’m lucky.  I feel like I am living with a stranger.”

Phone addiction is very common. Even partners who really like each other can get disconnected because one or both of them have become phone addicts.

Do any of these complaints sound familiar?

  • My partner is too distracted by their phone to be fully present with me.
  • My partner’s cell phone use is over the top. I feel like an afterthought.
  • My partner and I have pretty much stopped talking.
  • I feel like I am eating alone. My partner is always texting at mealtime.
  • I am at the end of my rope. My partner is so immersed in games on his phone.

These problems can happen in any relationship because smartphones are very compelling. We can develop bad habits before we know it.

This happened to me when I started using an iPad.  I realized that I was giving my wife only part of my attention when she wanted to talk.  I felt a pull between the iPad and her. I did not want her to feel like Brittany, so I learned to close the iPad and set it aside. Now there is less tension in my marriage.

What changes would be helpful for you and your partner?  When Brittany talked to Devlin about her frustration, he agreed to stop cell phone use until they finished their morning coffee time.

Would any of these changes be a blessing for your relationship?

  • Turn off devices while you are eating together.
  • Go on a ‘date’ and agree not to check your phones until the date is over.
  • Plan to spend 20 minutes every day hanging out, chatting and catching up with all devices turned off.
  • What other activities or situations would you like to protect from the distraction of digital devices?

A Resource to Help You or Your Partner Overcome Phone Addiction.

If you want to learn more about how to stop phone addiction, I suggest you check Catherine Price’s website. She has a great book and course about How To Break Up with Your Phone.