When people first get into a relationship, they often feel so confident in their commitment that it is hard to imagine that anything could go wrong. Each partner may be visiting their family members and friends, both of them engaging in outside activities to maintain a balance of stress relief, but in reality, some of these couples end up experiencing the negative effects of distractions. While work, kids’ schedules, hobbies, and time with friends may affect our relationship, we tend to believe that this is normal and we don’t pay attention to it. Slowly, the lack of energy we experience and the disconnection that comes when we spend less time with our partner start challenging our relationship.
Like all things, relationships also need attentive care. They require positivity and gestures of affection, empathy, and cooperation between partners. When positive moments are more numerous than the negative ones, your relationship will flourish. It is important to make time in your day to connect and share with your partner.
With technology and everything that’s going on, modern life has raised its demands with long hours of work, kids’ demanding schedules, errands, and more. The next time you are out of the house, look around to see how many couples have their phones out and how many partners are looking each other in the eyes and making true eye contact while talking. As great as life can be with all the technological advances of smartphones, video games, tablets, and more, if left uncontrolled, it can become a real problem. Distractions of any type can easily disrupt our conversations and make us physically and mentally unavailable. It is no surprise that a study at the University of Illinois, which examined 109 families during dinnertime, found that during dinner, family members spent nearly half of their time distracted by toys, smartphones, and other tasks. Oxford University conducted a study of 24,000 married European couples and found a direct link between the use of social networking and marital satisfaction, with more social media usage negatively impacting the relationship.
What are some of the most common distractions?
Distractions can be both external or internal, meaning they can come from inside you or outside. One big internal distraction is overthinking. Our own thoughts can give us answers, but at the same time, they can keep us distracted. It is usually when we think about how to avoid being distracted that we get distracted the most. Another internal distraction is motivation. There has to be a motivation for any task we do. If we don’t have enough motivation, we are distracted easily.
External distractions, on the other hand, are too many to mention. The most common external distraction is technology. While technology has made our lives easier, using it more than intended will distract us from our relationship. Moreover, social media are affecting our thoughts about how things may turn out if we do things differently. Being busy will all that keeps us distracted, and that is why date nights and regular times to talk and share emotions with our partners are critical for our relationship.
How distractions affect you and your relationship.
Distractions not only create disconnections between partners; they can also have many other detrimental effects. First and foremost, distractions can contribute to health issues like stress, addictions, and obesity. Second, they keep you from knowing who you really are. At the same time, by being distracted, you don’t give yourself a chance to achieve your goals. Finally, as mentioned above, distractions create distance between you and your partner that may lead your relationship to destruction.
Start focusing today and transform your relationship.
A happy relationship is beneficial for our health and overall well-being. We and our partners grow together while facing challenges. Any relationship that is on autopilot is in imminent danger. Always listen to what your partner says and does. Sometimes, we may not feel comfortable about what we hear, but learning how to communicate deeply is rewarding and good for our relationship. When we are not focused on our relationship, distractions simply come in and take over. When distractions arise, we often feel
- Guilty for not being able to focus on our partners.
- Anxious because dealing with so many distractions at once can make us emotionally overwhelmed.
- Dissatisfied while trying to focus on something and not being able to fulfill that goal.
Removing all distractions and improving your relationship.
If you have been overwhelmed by your busy life, you may have already noticed some distance forming in the relationship between you and your partner. This is something that can happen to even the happiest couples and it is normal to be distracted sometimes. You cannot expect each other to be fully present all the time. Maybe you spend some time on your smartphone, or your partner is always visiting their friends. As a result of all the distractions going on, neither of you ever feel satisfied. It is true that intimacy in relationships develops when we minimize all these distractions and put each other first.
The first and most important step is to discuss limiting certain distractions, especially when it comes to technology. Talk with your spouse and share your expectations for your relationship. Limiting technology can be achieved with simple steps.
First of all, enjoy your meals with just you and your partner. Second, regardless of whether you are dining in a restaurant or at home, make a habit of leaving your smartphones and other devices in another room. Without your smartphone in sight, you will not be tempted to check any notifications or send any messages. Setting boundaries such as these is a great first step in creating space to communicate with each other. During this time, you can both share your thoughts, the experiences you had during the day, or plan the next date.
Third, but just as important, is to set boundaries between work and leisure time with your partner. We have all taken work back home at least once in our lifetime. During these fast-paced times, especially during the COVID pandemic, many people are still taking their work home. Anything to do with work should be kept during your work schedule. Set boundaries and make it a rule that when you are home and outside your work schedule, you will set aside work distractions. Furthermore, people who enjoy video games should limit their time spent gaming. Video game addiction is a serious disorder which can disconnect you from your partner. It is important to take control of this distraction and set limits around how much time you spend gaming. Anything that involves a television or a computer screen can develop into an addiction. People who enjoy Netflix series and binge-watch for hour after hour, thinking that it is a harmless habit, need to limit the time they spend doing these things.
Creating the ideal relationship.
If you want to have the perfect relationship, you need to sacrifice distractions. Whenever you are one on one with your partner, make an effort to focus only on them so you can truly enjoy your relationship. Whether you cook together or just talk, focus on the current task. Habits are hard to break, but you can train yourself to focus on one thing at a time. Slowly but surely, you will start feeling more present both in your home life and in your relationship. At the same time, pay attention to your partner’s expressions. Body language often speaks louder than words, so pay attention and find out how you can communicate better with your partner. Be intimate by starting to feel safe and discussing sex with them. All couples should have these conversations. It provides feedback on their likes and dislikes and can help them improve. At the same time, set boundaries and new rules that both of you must follow. Finally, create new habits and meaningful rituals that will make both of you feel closer and more connected to each other.
We, as human beings, get distracted for many reasons. Some of us may get distracted by a simple football match, while others become addicted to distractions, which can cause the deterioration of their relationship. Distractions, as any other addiction, need to be addressed properly and immediately for couples to save their relationship. In this situation, visiting a relationship coach is ideal. Relationship coaching can help couples understand the root of their distractions. Is one of the partners distracted because they are no longer interested in their spouse or their relationship? Is one of the partners distracted because they afraid of how upset the other spouse gets whenever they start a conversation? There are many questions to answer, and couples can benefit from relationship coaching. Furthermore, they will learn how to set boundaries and new rules and how to spend time with each other. Finally, they will learn new ways to communicate that will bring them closer together. Marriages and any intimate relationship are so fragile today; therefore, it is important that we stay aware of distractions and understand that no relationship can grow without being nurtured.
Roberts, J. A., & David, M. E. (2016). My life has become a major distraction from my cell phone: Partner phubbing and relationship satisfaction among romantic partners. Computers in Human Behavior, 54, 134-141. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2015.07.058
Valenzuela, S., Halpern, D., & Katz, J. E. (2014). Social network sites, marriage well-being and divorce: Survey and state-level evidence from the United States. Computers in Human Behavior, 36, 94-101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.03.034