Psychologist Offers Advice to Those Whose Partner is Addicted to Their Phone

by on August 12th, 2010
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For a lot of people, being with someone who uses their cell phone a lot may be no big deal. For other’s though, it might have grown to become a big deal over time. If your partner talks or sends text messages when they are supposed to be with you, it can start to feel like they care more about their phone then they do you. Guy Winch, psychologist and author has some suggestions for such people, and offers them freely in a recent column in Psychology Today.

The first thing, according to Winch, is don’t start nagging or putting yourself in a position where you are perceived as more of any annoyance than as someone to be listened to. That happens when people start generalizing. Yelling at your spouse or girlfriend for “always” being on the phone will more than likely make them defensive. Not the best way to get people to do what you want. Instead, Winch says, try phrasing the issue in more personal ways, such as asking for a time off from phones because you want to be alone with them.

Something else that people do that generally doesn’t work is accusing them of things. Telling them that they are phone addict or that they care more about the phone than you, only serves to make them angry, and once again defensive. Instead, Winch says, try using what he calls a complaint sandwich, whereby bad news is sandwiched between two positive statements. As an example, if your husband tends to talk or text while the two of you watch television together, you might remind him how much fun it is to watch a certain show together when you both laugh a lot at the same stuff. Then, add the meat of the sandwich by telling him that it’s a shame that the two of you just missed out on that opportunity because you were on the phone. Then pack on the other side of the sandwich by pointing out how much you like sitting next to him in front of the TV, maybe sharing a popcorn etc.

Packing in the bad amongst the good helps keep anger from the discussion and shows your significant other that you want to feel intimate with him or her, even if it’s in a less than intimate setting; and it lets them know that their behavior is getting in the way of that. This method has the added advantage in that it allows your partner to make a choice on their own rather than being brow beaten into it.

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