Married to Their Smartphones (Oh, and to Each Other, Too)

Excerpt from this article:

Sherry Zheng was cleaning up from dinner, ready to toss out the remaining fried rice, when she grabbed her phone from the counter to text her husband, Chris. He was upstairs bathing their three children. “Should I save you the leftovers?”

Her phone vibrated: “Sure.”

Ms. Zheng, a 37-year-old stay-at-home mother in Oakton, Va., describes her marriage as happy, and she’s thankful for those kinds of small conveniences that her smartphone affords her. But like most couples, there are also times, when her husband pecks away at a screen, that she wants to toss his device away with the table scraps.

…“Can’t you just acknowledge me?” she hollered. “I’m standing right here.” Mr. Zheng promptly placed his phone on the table. (Since then, she has made her point a bit more clearly by texting him her questions, even if they’re in the same room, since she knows she’ll get a response.)

We live in a culture of dings, beeps and buzzes, as most people manage everything from bank accounts to fantasy football teams on their smartphones.

Spouses may pout if their partners don’t “like” their every Facebook post, an expectation, for some, of marital boosting. Pull out your device to check the baseball scores while on a date with your wife, and you’re bound to get an eye roll.

Type an actress’s name into IMDb while watching TV and suddenly you’re on a 10-minute bender into the black hole of your screen, distracted by a text or game notification. “Are you even watching?” your husband snaps.

…Experts say that smartphone use is meddling in our marriages in ways that are sometimes benign but often frustrating, causing quarrels and forcing couples to address an ever more important question: At what point are we choosing to spend more time with our smartphones than with our spouses?

 

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