My hus­band is never off his phone

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

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.

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