Is Your Relationship a Prisoner to Cell Phone Use?


Last week I talked about the negative effect cell phones had on leisure time, with increased use leading to more 'leisure distress' (not being able to relax because you constantly feel the need to be on your phone.) Now, a new study is showing that couples who allowed technology to interfere in their time together (even unintentionally) report lower relationship satisfaction, more depressive symptoms, and lower life satisfaction overall. The researchers coined this phenomena as 'technoference' and it is something that I battle in my own relationship. Thankfully, Travis and I are both pretty good about putting our phones up when we are out to eat or spending time at home together. There are still times where one of us is picking up their phone every few minutes to respond to texts, play games, or check in on social media.


{How great is this wedding photo? The Art Museum we got married at use to be the Pensacola jail!}

This study involved surveying 143 married or cohabiting couples. The majority reported that cell phones, computers or TV frequently interrupted their leisure time, conversations, and mealtimes with their partners.

According to the researchers, by allowing technology to interrupt conversations, activities and time with romantic partners β€” even when unintentional or for brief moments β€” individuals may be sending unspoken messages about what they value most, leading to conflict over technology use which can then spill over into negative outcomes in relationships and personal life.

I love that the researchers pointed out that this study is correlational, so you can't assumeΒ that the technoference was causing the depressive symptoms, and lower life/relationship satisfaction. They also said that this technoference may be caused by personal characteristics. The types of people who would prefer to constantly be on their phones around their spouse may be causing the distress because of their personalities, and not their cell phone usage.

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Regardless of the source I'm going to remain vigilant about how much time Travis and I spend on our phones around one another. This is just one more study that's making me want to go on a tech-detox! I wish I could say I'd cut out phones/computers one day a week but I honestly don't know if I could do that. Is that sad?

Could you go on a tech detox?