My New Boyfriends Phone Gets More Facetime Than I Do
I’ve been dating someone for about a month now and I’m questioning whether or not I should keep seeing him. He has a lot of the qualities I’ve been looking for; he’s thoughtful and has given me plenty of attention, has a good job, is polite. In a nutshell, I’m sure my parents would approve should I introduce him to them.
But he spends way too much time checking his phone, and it’s seriously getting on my nerves. He’s texting or on Facebook all the time. It doesn’t matter when or where, even when he takes me to a nice dinner he’ll be looking at his phone and replying to people. I can’t stand it.
I’m thinking about calling it off because I can see this becoming a huge issue. What would you recommend I do?
The unfortunate part about smartphones is the “anywhere but here” mentality that happens in some people. “I like your company, but let me see how many likes my latest picture got” keeps you both from enjoying the moment, while “I’m glad you’re with me but let me text people to see what other social activity I can set up later” means the person right in front of you feels taken for granted.
All this creates disconnect in couples. Within the offender it perpetuates a sense that the next moment is always better than this one, keeping them constantly seeking something other than what they have while the person suffering through this lack of valuable connection can find this behaviour harmful to their self-esteem. “Why aren’t I good enough?” often becomes the running dialogue in their head, because fundamentally we know what quality attention is and are well aware when we’re not getting it from those we care for.
Here’s the thing, it’s not fair to be upset if you’re not absolutely clear about what bothers you. Too often I see people who are angry, hurt, and frustrated at other people’s behaviours, but when I question how they’ve communicated the issue it turns out they’re choosing to internalize their true feelings until they come to a boil, at which point they vomit all the negativity they’ve been withholding.
This creates defensiveness and hurt in partners, and instead of understanding where you’re coming from they’ll lash out and a fight typically ensues, the end result being zero resolution.
It’s important to address the issue in a calm, loving, and intelligent manner. Keep in mind that nobody likes to be told what to do, so your opening statement means the difference between being heard because their defensiveness wasn’t triggered, or not being heard because they feel attacked.
“I want you to know, I like you and care about you. I’m not telling you what to do, you’re free to do what you want, I just need you to understand that when you spend a lot of time on your phone around me I don’t feel as close to you.” Don’t forget to include lots of affection when you broach this, the oxytocin you create through touch when addressing a sensitive subject is key to making sure hurt stays out of the equation, and understanding reigns.
But if you’ve let them know in a loving and calm way how you feel about the situation and they continue spending the majority of time with their faces in their phone when you’re together, it’s time to start asking yourself some serious questions.
Does my partner have a self-esteem problem or an addiction to social media that keeps them needing validation from a lot of people? Do they need therapy for that? Are they truly connected to me, my feelings, and what’s important to me? In essence, how much do I matter to them? Do I suffer from low self-esteem if I’m willing to accept sub-par attention, and should I get help to address my own issues?
Real relationships take place in real time, and if you’re not getting your needs met even after clearly and gently communicating your feelings it’s time to get to the root of the problem and find a solution. It might be therapy for either or both of you, or it could mean finding a relationship that’s going to give you the real connection you need.
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Chantal Heide is an Author and Motivational Speaker, focusing on dating and relationship building. Her books Dating 101, Comeback Queen, Fake Love Need Not Apply, No More Assholes, After The First Kiss, Fix That Shit, Say Yes To Goodness, and Custom Made (available on this website, Amazon, and your favorite online book retailer) help her readers attract the love they’re looking for, regardless of their starting point . View her BOOKS page for more information. Be sure to check out more free advice on Facebook, YouTube, and Itunes, as well as fun tidbits about her life on Instagram and Twitter.