What does “cheating” mean in a relationship?
Most of us immediately jump to the image of our partner sleeping with another person—or at the very least having an “emotional affair” by secretly building an intimate bond with someone else.
But that’s not the only way people “cheat.”
How much time do you spend scrolling through Facebook, watching YouTube videos, or clicking through Buzzfeed articles each day?
Now take that number and compare it to the time you invest in dates with your partner or quality time together each day.
If you and your partner are like most modern American couples, you spend more than 11 hours each day using electronic media, such as computers, smartphones, and TVs, while spending less than 2 hours a day interacting with each other one-on-one.
You may not be cheating on your partner with another person, but there is a possibility you could be cheating on your partner with your smartphone, laptop, or social media accounts.
As citizens of the modern world, we’ve become engrossed in digital life, often prioritizing our virtual lives over everything else—including our significant other.
Smartphones and other digital devices ensnare our attention, making it impossible to devote our attention to experiences with our partner.
When you “cheat” on your partner with digital media, you’re endlessly updating your Facebook status, posting photos to Instagram, and answering texts. Genuine interactions with your partner fall by the wayside. You may even find yourself caring less about what your partner thinks and more about how many ‘likes’ your latest post received.
As you become more attached to the approval, validity, and recognition of the people you interact with online, you can drift away from him. You depend on your digital world for filling your social needs.
How to Stop a Digital Affair
Don’t become one of those couples who goes out to dinner and spends the whole time on their phones.
To revive the relationship with your loved one, try these 3 tips for reclaiming what’s most important.
1. Make a list of things you and your partner could do instead of spending another evening glued to your laptop screens. For example, explore new restaurants, or take an art class together. Once you have a list of real-life activities, go out and do them (and maybe silence your smartphone for a few hours)!
2. Retrain your brain to get stimulation from your partner, rather than your phone. Make an effort to spend more time doing things with your partner that make you happy—like talking, kissing, making love, or working on a shared project. As you turn to these activities during your free time, your brain learns to crave these activities in place of technological stimulation.
3. Hold each other accountable and support each other as you try to end your digital affair. If you work together to kick your technology addiction, you’re less likely to fall back into bad habits AND more likely to succeed in restoring the intimacy you love about being together.