The Impact of Devices on Relationships

In the age of technology, our lives are intricately woven with devices that promise constant connection. Yet, ironically, this digital tether often leads to a disconnection within our most intimate relationships. As we become entangled in the web of screens, swipes, and notifications, the art of being present with our loved ones is slipping away.

Picture this: a cozy evening on the couch, a couple side by side, each engrossed in the glow of their individual screens. The occasional exchange of words is drowned out by the constant hum of notifications. This scenario is not uncommon, as our devices have become companions that share our physical space but not our emotional presence.

Even in public spaces meant for shared moments, like restaurants, the intrusion of phones is undeniable. Couples, supposedly out for a romantic dinner, place their devices on the table like silent interlopers vying for attention. A quick glance at the screen replaces genuine eye contact, and the rhythm of conversation is disrupted by the steady stream of notifications.

Public transport, waiting rooms – no space is immune to the allure of our devices. Almost everyone, except for the occasional rebel, is absorbed in the digital realm. It’s a reality check on the extent of our addiction when even moments of idle waiting are filled with the glow of screens.

A recent concert experience highlighted the depth of this disconnect. Amidst the euphoria of a Paul McCartney performance, a young couple seated nearby was more interested in curating their digital personas than soaking in the musical magic. Selfies, posts, and constant phone-checking took precedence over the shared joy of the moment. It raises the question: are we sacrificing real experiences for the virtual applause of social media?

Mindfulness, a practice encouraging us to be present in the moment, underscores the importance of detaching from constant stimulation. In relationships, this becomes crucial. Couples often find themselves caught in the web of digital distractions, struggling to give each other the undivided attention that nurtures connection.

As a relationship coach, I’ve witnessed firsthand the toll that devices can take on intimacy. The constant buzz of notifications can drown out meaningful conversations, turning genuine moments into mere background noise. Acknowledging this impact is the first step, but action is necessary.

One creative solution comes in the form of a “phone jail” – a wooden box near the front door where devices are sentenced for a designated period. It’s a tangible reminder that, at times, we need to liberate ourselves from the digital world to truly connect with the people around us. The discipline to establish boundaries is not only vital but transformative.

Recognizing our devices as EXIT routes – ways to escape the vulnerability of real connection – is a profound realisation. Setting boundaries becomes a conscious effort to close these exits and recommit to the richness of our relationships.

Association Of Imago Relationship Therapists Australia - AIRTA

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