Wail Sarieh
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Are Our Devices Impacting Our Relationships?

Family Law

Relationships are about attention – how much you give, and how much you receive. Your significant other often “bids” for your attention. Sometimes the bids are subtle, while others may be more overt. How one reacts to those bids can determine a lot about a relationship. One individual in a relationship may express interest in the other’s bid, while at other times the response may be more negative, or even outright ignored – for example, when simply replying with “uh-huh.”

When it comes to marriages, bids are extremely important. A relationship where one spouse must constantly bid for the attention of the other will eventually lead to feelings of isolation, resentment, or even divorce. A recent study performed by John Gottman, PhD explored these bids. First, he assessed couples at one point, then returned six years later to conduct more research on the same couples. When continuing the studies six years later, he found that some had divorced. Among divorced couples, individuals had received 66 percent less bids than their initial observation.

How Devices Play a Role in Bids

Today, we live in a culture that encourages many distractions by way of technological devices. Whether it is a tablet, laptop or other device, the human race finds itself giving more attention to a screen than a significant other, spouse or even to children.

While it is convenient to check emails and read the news while kids play, at the other end of the spectrum, children are only children once – do you want to miss out on opportunities because you were too busy checking the news? The same goes for a relationship. You only have a limited opportunity to give your spouse attention, or even have a meaningful conversation. Choosing to pay attention to a device over these opportunities could be detrimental.

While throwing out devices will not necessarily correct the issue, partners and parents alike need to consider how their device usage may impact the relationships within their family. Parents and partners need to be aware and intentional about when they use their devices and how they respond to bids from those they love.

Research agrees that the absence of quality attention means that a relationship is unlikely to thrive.

Challenge Yourself

While you cannot control the behaviors of others, you can control yourself. Experiment by leaving your devices off once you come home from work. Notice when you find yourself feeling the urge to play with your device, and what triggered it. Sometimes it is boredom, or perhaps a notification catching your attention, that causes this urge. Regardless, find these triggers and correct them so that you are less inclined to stay glued to your devices all day.

Lastly, avoid using your devices during those times that matter most – such as alone-time with a spouse, while eating dinner with the family, or during family events.

Do You Need a Family Law Attorney?

If you and your spouse are contemplating divorce, contact Sarieh Law Offices, ALC for a free 30-minute consultation. We can discuss your options, explore custody issues and help guide you through the process. Schedule your appointment by calling us at 714-542-6200 or fill out our online contact form with your questions.

Wail Sarieh
By Wail Sarieh