Have you ever stopped to tally up the hours you spend glued to your phone screen each day? It’s a revealing exercise. What might initially seem like harmless scrolling can add up to a significant portion of your time, and in some cases, cause relationship breakdown.
Research suggests a troubling correlation between excessive mobile phone use and divorce. A study published in the journal, “Computers in Human Behavior”, found that individuals who reported high levels of technology use, including smartphones, in their romantic relationships, tended to experience more conflict and lower levels of satisfaction. Here, CWC Solicitors explains exactly how mobile phones impact our relationships.
How can mobile phones impact relationships?
1. Strain from Extra-Marital Connections
The accessibility provided by mobile phones has made extramarital affairs more common. Social media platforms, messaging apps, and texting make it easy to establish and maintain relationships outside of marriage.
In some cases, these digital interactions can escalate into emotional or physical affairs, all with the tap of a button. The convenience of technology makes it tempting to reconnect with old flames or engage in new flirtations, often without the spouse’s knowledge.
2. Phubbing: A Relationship Killer
“Phubbing,” or phone snubbing, occurs when individuals prioritise their phones over the people they’re with. Unlike other forms of distraction, such as reading or watching TV, phones demand our constant attention.
This behaviour, though often unintentional, can lead to feelings of neglect and resentment in relationships, ultimately eroding intimacy and connection.
3. Increased Feelings of Loneliness
Being ignored in favour of a smartphone can make a partner feel isolated and unimportant. Excessive phone use creates a barrier between individuals, fostering feelings of loneliness and disconnect within the relationship. It can also lead to a breakdown of relationship communication, which can lead to difficulties further down the line.
4. Avoidance Tactics
Relying on a phone to avoid confronting difficult conversations or conflicts can deepen existing rifts in a relationship. Ignoring problems rather than addressing them head-on not only prolongs the tension but also intensifies the underlying issues. Communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, and avoiding meaningful discussions through phone distraction only serves to erode trust and intimacy further.
When one partner consistently turns to their phone to escape uncomfortable situations, it sends a message of disregard and disinterest. This behaviour can create a cycle of frustration and resentment, making it increasingly challenging to bridge the gap and find common ground.
5. Diminished Intimacy
Constant phone use detracts from the quantity of time spent together but also significantly diminishes the quality of that time. Each moment spent engrossed in a screen represents a missed opportunity for genuine connection and meaningful interaction. Whether it’s during shared meals, leisure activities, or intimate conversations, the presence of a phone can serve as a barrier, preventing couples from fully engaging with one another.
When one partner consistently checks their phone in the presence of the other, it sends a clear message of disinterest and lack of prioritisation. Even glances at a screen can communicate to the other person that they are less important or engaging than whatever is happening on the device.
Addressing Excessive Phone Use in Relationships
If you’re concerned about your partner’s phone habits, it’s crucial to approach the topic with empathy and openness. Initiate a conversation during a distraction-free moment, expressing your feelings and concerns without judgment. Consider your partner’s perspective and work together to find a solution that respects both individuals’ needs and boundaries.
Can you use a mobile phone as a reason for divorce?
While excessive phone use can put a strain on a relationship, it’s essential to recognise that filing for divorce solely because of a partner’s phone habits might be an extreme response. Grounds for divorce typically revolve around more substantial issues such as infidelity, abuse, or irreconcilable differences.
However, if a partner’s constant phone use is indicative of deeper issues within the relationship, such as neglect, emotional detachment, or a person being unfaithful, it may contribute to a broader pattern of dissatisfaction that could justify divorce.