By Elsa Davis, MA.
I have to say, I am so worried about the future of our relationships.
We all know the negative effects technology has on our social skills, but it’s become much more apparent in our romantic relationships. It’s not just our children who are suffering from lack of social skills. Adults, who “should know better” are becoming part of a multitasking mob of people too often staring at our phones or tablets.
In my work as a Couple’s Counselor at The Couple Zone, I have heard too many stories about the negative impact Facebook, Instagram, and other applications are having on committed relationships. At least weekly couples enter my office devastated that a past relationship has been reunited, feeling unprioritized as partners with intense feelings of insignificance or loneliness due to being overlooked by a Smartphone.
Let’s face it, less time together, less meaningful conversations, increased alone time from each other and constantly being distracted by technology is ruining our relationships.
How do we go forward to keep our spouses a priority, but continue our advanced technology skills and not miss out on the latest twitter or Facebook post?
Attuning to your partner, even if once per day, can increase your bond and leave you partners feeling more heard and fulfilled.
Happier couples attune to each other frequently and report increased closeness. Attuning to your partner means acknowledging their experience in a non-judgmental way where they feel understood. You don’t have to agree with what they are saying, but you can make it apparent that you understand their perspective. You are saying: “You are a priority. You are important. You can feel heard with me.”
Here are some simple ways to increase your attunement to your spouse, whether they are telling you a simple story about how their day went or if you are discussing a major issue impacting your relationship.
* Put the phone away (not just down). And turn it off!
* Be Present: Focus only on spouse and no multitasking. Give them your full attention.
* Full Eye contact- eyes communicate more than words
* Responding to their questions or needs.
* Track conversations with “Uh-huh”, or “I see”- to let them know you are following them
* Affectionate touch to support, show love, encouragement
* Noticing changes within them, their efforts-be observant – shows they are a priority
* Emotional responses – use emotional responses to allow them to be emotional and create a closer bond together.
Trying some or all of these ways to attune to your partner can help create a quick moment of connection in our busy world. It’s a way of seriously acknowledging them, but not having to constantly be focused on them. It’s a way to condense your moments together to positively impact your relationship without having to let go of social media. After all, a new video just went viral and you are missing it right now! If you feel something more may be missing in your relationship, read our article on signs you might need couples therapy, or contact us today.