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There are three of us in this relationship and it presents a major hurtle in dating. My girlfriend is addicted to her cellphone. It’s like having another person in the room whom she can’t take her eyes off. Even at a restaurant her phone is on the table and she periodically reads messages. For example, we can be in mid-conversation about the fact that my dad is dying and she’ll start texting or eyeing social media.
I would say that this is the opposite of sexting, texting during a serious face-to-face conversation! I keep asking her to put her phone away, but she’ll say, “It’s business,” which I would bet it is not.
How can I communicate with her that I wish she would pay more attention to me and less to her screen? Last night she fell asleep with her cellphone in her hand.
–RC, Brooklyn, NY
- You know how she feels, since the consequence for you is that she ignores you.
- Talk about the patterns that set off her anxiety and addiction and compare them to gambling or having an abusive friend or partner.
- There is nothing inherently wrong with her texting, emailing and using social media, because they provide a platform for not only her need to be connected on the one hand, but also for her addiction to watch and monitor others, and better still, for her need to be seen, heard from, remembered, monitored, judged and praised by others.
- It is natural to want to know how much others mean to her, and how much she wants to mean something to them, because these are instincts embraced and followed by her circle of friends.
- The screen doesn't flicker on the night-table but from across the room on your bureau. (There are those who believe sleeping next to, or carrying a cellphone close to the body, is dangerous, because your cellphone is connected to satellites that radiate harmful energy.)
- At meals, neither of you use your phones but you can see when your babysitter or dad is trying to communicate with you.
- At bedtime, your phones are not next to your bed.
- Neither of you answer emails after six o'clock at night.
- Make time to spend a couple of hours in a natural environment.
- Gauge how much time you spend in face-to-face conversation not looking at a screen.