Love in the digital age: 4 ways to leave the phone and connect with your partner instead

If your digital demands are taking a toll on your relationship, here are some ways to reconnect with your partner.

Written by TV Balaji | Bengaluru | Updated: December 24, 2015 9:25 pm
Young couple lying on a bed laughing The simplest of touch like hugging and hand-holding are huge stress busters, and can have a positive impact on your relationship. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Are you connected? Well, of course, you are. Our phones are basically our third arm. Keeping up with social media, emails and the latest trends can keep our thumbs scrolling all day. But the question being asked here is: Are you connected to your partner?

Sure you share lives together, go out on dates, travel and plan your future, but how many times have you gone out for dinner and spent time looking at your phone instead of talking? Have your pre-bed time cuddles turned into Facebook marathons?

You’re not alone, we’re all living in what must be the most distracted time known to our species. You probably Pphubb all the time, even if you don’t know what that means. And a new study says, it could be damaging your relationship.

Pphubbing refers to “partner phone snubbing,” or when you get distracted by your cellphone when you’re with your significant other. A new study from Baylor University found that Pphubbing hurts relationship satisfaction, thus, negatively impacting overall happiness. To find results, the researchers developed a Pphubbing scale, that included statements such as “my partner places his or her cellphone where they can see it when we are together” and “my partner glances at his/her cellphone when talking to me”. Overall, 46.3 per cent of the respondents reported being Pphubbed by their partner.

Now, no one likes to read an article that instructs us to lay off on the Internet. That would be a party-pooping blog indeed. The Internet is here to stay, a necessary evil if you want to go so far. We have to figure out how to live and thrive with it by our side.

Let’s skip the lecture and figure out ways we can be better partners and actually stay connected to the people we love the most.

Touch
There are plenty of studies out there that have proven simply hugging for 20 seconds or more can alleviate depression, fatigue and make you feel more bonded. Hand-holding or hugging also results in a decrease of the stress hormone ‘cortisol’, says Matt Hertenstein, an experimental psychologist at DePauw University in Indiana. In addition to calming us down and reducing our stress response, a friendly touch also increases release of the oxytocin — also called the “cuddle hormone” — which affects trust behaviors. “Oxytocin is a neuropeptide, which basically promotes feelings of devotion, trust and bonding,” Hertenstein says.

So, when you get back from work, reach out and hug! And stay that way for a minute, let this physical expression communicate your affection for your partner and acknowledge your relationship. It will make the both of you feel much better.

No phone Ditch the phone and electronic gadgets; you’ll be surprised at the conversations and depth you can get to. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

No-Electronics Date Night
Okay, tough one agreed, but what is promised as a result are unexpected conversations. Leave your phones at home and go out for dinner, set a time limit if you feel like you are going to have an anxiety attack without your 3G or 4G when that works for you (it’s okay, it happens to the best of us). Now you have nothing but food and your partner’s face in front of you. Ask specific questions like “What was the most boring part of you day today?”, “If you had a million dollars to blow on travel what kind of itinerary would you make for us?”, “What are two amazing things about our relationship and what are two not-so-hot things about our relationship?”

You’ll be surprised at the conversations and depth you can get to. I also bet you’ll find a lot of entertainment while you are listening and answering. You might even find another reason to love your partner through these uninterrupted conversations.

Cute couple lying on bed talking together Play masseuses, or try telling your partner some really poor jokes so you guys ‘play’ in-between fits of giggles. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Play in Bed
This means experiment a little bit. Even if you and your partner are more vanilla when it comes to the bedroom, there is no reason you can’t add a few funky ideas to your sex life. Play masseuses, or try telling your partner some really poor jokes so you guys ‘play’ in-between fits of giggles. Use aroma candles or aroma oil with oil diffusers to set the mood or create a special playlist of songs that get you into the mood.

If you don’t know which aroma to choose, lavender is always a safe bet. There’s a reason that lavender is often used in bath salts, body lotions, candles and massage oils. The fragrance of this flower is just plain relaxing.

If you don’t have the time for any of the above, make dessert together and eat it in bed. The potential is tremendous as long as you make it a priority.

Now, that wasn’t so bad was it? Try including these in your love life immediately, and watch how you fabulously balance digital addiction and work, all while being a super partner to the person you love the most.

Balaji TV is co-founder of www.lovetreats.in. Let's Talk is a fortnightly column focusing on sexual wellness and couple intimacy.
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