My husband is never off his phone
Q: My issue is that my husband is constantly logged into technology. He’s either checking sites on his iPad, Facebook or Netflix on his phone. He seems addicted like a teenager.
I know that ours is a noisy household but it’s a lonely house for me.
If I try to talk to him, he listens, sort of, but keeps one earplug in constantly. He’s not mean or doing anything he shouldn’t be, he’s just withdrawing.
My two adult daughters live with us and one has an 18-month-old child. Everyone is always plugged in except for the baby and me. I’m sick of it.
A: Being plugged into technology at the expense of family time is a very common problem. To some extent, most of us have some sort of technology dependency, especially to our mobile phones – we don’t go out without them, they are within pinging distance of us all day and night, and a lost or stolen phone is a major inconvenience.
Bearing this in mind, we’re vulnerable to letting this dependency tip into addiction. Whether you call your husband’s situation a dependency or an addiction, the fact that it’s impacting on your life is the crux of the matter. You’re lonely even though you’re surrounded by family – which is a big thing to admit.
It could be that the noise and busyness is getting to your husband. If you have adult children and a grandchild living with you, then your husband is probably plugging in to escape.
Could he be depressed? It’s commonly acknowledged that the buzz and contact we get from our phones, releases serotonin and dopamine in our brains. This might be part of the reason he’s always searching for contact or using a device.
It might be a good idea if you start with finding a compromise.
If he’s addicted, he’s not going to suddenly stop using his phone. Find a chance to chat away from your two daughters and explain how you feel but really listen to how he’s feeling too.
Perhaps he could agree to put his phone away for an hour around mealtime and an hour before bed. You might even be able to enlist your daughters’ involvement in this plan too.
If everyone had an hour away from phones and chatted, then the baby might learn that there are times when people interact and make eye contact.
Any long-term relationship can get stale, and couples can veer off in different directions. It sounds as if you and your husband could do with a break and a bit of couple-time – preferably somewhere with limited wi-fi.
Mary-anne Scott has raised four boys and written three novels for young adults, all of which have been shortlisted for the NZ Book awards for children and young adults. As one of seven sisters, there aren’t many parenting problems she hasn’t talked over.
Please note, Mary-anne is not a trained counsellor. Her advice is not intended to replace that of professional counsellor or psychologist.
Being plugged into technology at the expense of family time is a very common problem, says Mary-anne Scott.