Do you talk about the role technology plays in your relationships — for better or worse? This week, we discuss some of the ways in which technology interferes with connection and explore an important conversation all couples (and singles!) can use to minimize technoference. We also discuss anxiety related to tech and the pandemic, share strategies to change the way we use technology, and answer a listener question about how to respond to a sticky situation with a new beau.
Consider these prompts to start this important conversation:
1. How do you feel the use of tech devices affects your relationship? Be specific.
2. How do you feel about electronics in the bedroom or at the table (or elsewhere)?
3. How often do you want to be connected/disconnected?
4. Why are you drawn to your phone/device?
5. Would you like to reduce your use of technology when you’re together? If so, why?
6. How do you feel when your partner is on their phone in different scenarios/environments (e.g. in bed, at the table, while watching TV, in the car etc.)?
7. What commitments can you make to minimize technoference?
8. How can you use technology to enhance your relationship?
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This podcast has been sponsored by Let’sGetChecked. Use code DRJESS to save at checkout!
If you’ve got questions or topic suggestions for the podcast, submit them here. As well, you can now record your messages for us! Please record your message/question in a quiet room and use your phone’s headphones with a built-in mic if possible.
This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.
Technoference: How to Talk About Tech & Ditch Bad Habits
00:00:05 – 00:05:00
You’re listening to the sacs with dr jess podcast sacks and relationship advice you can use tonight Welcome to the sex with dr. Just podcast i’m your co host brandon. Wear here with my lovely other. Half dr jess. How are you hanging in there. Ready to talk some techno fearance. Always it’s a buzzword but it’s a real thing you had something that i’ve struggled with. I think that we’ve we’ve had lots of discussions about yeah. I think you’re a lot more patient with me around tech use than maybe i am with you. I’m a little bit more reactive. I would agree. I think that. I also tend to just assume that whenever you’re working on your phone or your laptop or whatever device it is it’s urgent or it’s pressing so i’m okay with it whereas on the opposite and look if you’re on your phone you’re just ignoring me. I have felt that way at times but Generally speaking over the years been trying to make an effort to try and find some boundaries. And well we’re gonna be talking about technical because last night we hosted a session called conversations for couples via good for her which is a local shop. Sex positive independently owned boutique in toronto. That has been you know. Providing toys and educational materials and online courses as well as been an important support in in the queer community here in toronto They’re called good for her any. We hosted this online session for a group of couples and in the session we worked through ten. Actually it was really like twelve but it was supposed to be ten essential conversations ranging from sexual values to relational values to your feelings around sex issues frequency. Fantasy you’ll hear me. Call them the three fs feelings frequency and fantasy as well as conversations about how you spend your time and one of the conversations and new addition to this workshop. Involved the use of technology. So i thought today you and i could work through this technology conversation or techno conversation. Because we haven’t done it together. It’s definitely been an issue in our relationship technology Less so i would say you can disagree with me in our relationship as in our lives like for me. It’s about my own kind of mental health. And where direct my energy and where i allow my energy to drain. And i have to admit that since i’ve been home for these seven months because of covid eight by the way seven months and twenty two days fourteen hours thirty one minutes. Since since the onset of covid i would say that i have a loud. Techno chipper wreak more havoc on my life. I don’t know if it’s affecting their relationship but we’re definitely going to talk about that. I do want to try and get to a listener question or two. And before i do that i wanted to shout out my own courses this week. So if you head on over to happier couples dot com we have a series of courses from overcoming premature ejaculation to last longer in bed to mindful sex to mind-blowing oral the clinician. And the dick edition so the penis and the clitoris and the mind-blowing oral is deeply discounted this week forty percent off. If you use the code the promo code podcast so head on over to happier. Couples dot com. Check out mind blowing oral and use the promo code podcast to save so just gonna do a shameless plug today. You gotta do it. I mean it’s a great time to learn a new skill mean. We have all this extra time at home now. I mean here in ontario to were in lockdown number two. Yeah it’s not a real lockdown. No it’s not a real walk down. The kids are still in school. Learn a new skill allowed to leave your house so it’s not so bad here. I know that certainly circumstances in other parts of the world are are a little bit tougher. Yeah so. I’d love to chat about this topic about being broken and ghosted before we dive into the techno-fans conversation so i received a question from somebody who says they’re huge fan of the podcast. Thank you please review. Please right overview And they enjoy their wide range of topics we cover and the guest we have. We do have amazing guests so this is a paragraph long question.
00:05:00 – 00:10:01
So let me read it to you. I’m in an interesting predicament. Regarding my current relationship thing so relationship is in quotes thing is in parentheses have been semi casually dating a guy for the past few months we have not put a label on the relationship but it has been exclusive. We’re both avid cyclists and a lot of our time spent together involved. Cycling many of those adventures ended in spending the night at his place. Having really great and adventurous sex and then getting breakfast in the morning sounds good. Two weeks ago. He broke his foot while skateboarding and has been laid up at his house. And not working. We’ve communicated some. And i’ve only seen one since it happened but i’m noticing more distance between us and now we haven’t talked for a few days and i feel ghosted. I know he’s in a really hard spot mentally and physically. But i feel like i’m also in an unfair situation because of our semi casual dating status. I haven’t really known how to help or support him. He hasn’t communicated what he needs. And he sending me very mixed signals. I would like to be an adult about this and have a discussion with him regarding the situation. But i don’t want to bother him or ask for an explanation clarity. Although i do feel i started deserve that. I like him a lot and want things to continue. But i don’t want to remain in limbo uncertainty and confusion. Do you have any advice now. This is oh this. This e mails may be a week or two old so i hope i’m not too late on this earth brandon. What do you think that you throw to me first. So i’m only going to answer from the perspective of what i would do and i think in this case i’d start by sending a note being a little bit vulnerable and just saying i feel a little left out in the cold and i’m wondering you know i wanted to check on you and see how you’re doing number one. Give them an opportunity and let them know that you know their their health and their wellbeing is important to you and that if they’re up for it in the future that you’d love to have a conversation i also think that if this was huge s and we were cycling and having breakfast which sounds great. I’d probably couple that with dropping off care package or dropping something off at your door just so that you would know that in addition to this note that i’ve sent you that i also do care about you and of course everything in the care package ’cause lots of food. Lots of food okay. Maybe i don’t know some. I was going to say like a dvd or something. Because it’s like this is not nineteen ninety-two booze. Perhaps some wine. Maybe a few flowers and chocolates. I might be responsive to this care package. Also the the note that would accompany that or that would preface. That wouldn’t be a long winded note. It would be short and sweet where. It’s what if i didn’t read the note because i got into the wine and chocolate one way or the other. I’m going to get through to you. That’s the way. So that’s what i would do. Yeah i think that’s sounds pretty reasonable to me. I mean we don’t have any universal truths here and can’t really tell you what to do. But i i would say that. I don’t wanna say you’re entitled to a discussion. But i think you have every right to ask for discussion and i don’t think you should feel badly about bothering him I think it’s nice that you’re considering his feelings. I think it’s important that you’re acknowledging that this is probably a really difficult time for him. I know that. If i was in any way physically limited it would be very very difficult for me for people who are really physically. Active every little setback can feel like loss and grief and in fact brennan. That’s something you’ve been talking a little bit about this year. Who yeah things. Got real for me about a month ago. Because i was feeling down and limited because i’ve hurt myself and this has been an ongoing issue and then finally during this conversation with you you had made reference to the idea of loss and i think when i framed it and i looked at it from that perspective. It’s like over the last number of years. When when i thought about what i use to describe what was happening was like well. I can’t do this and a kid that. I used to play hockey all the time. My neck injury so it’s like. I can’t play hockey and then i can’t i can’t do. I don’t know whatever kipling frisbee ultimate frisbee. I can’t and then eventually got rent and then eventually got to the point where it’s like. I can’t even do any lightweights. Everything that i was doing was hurting and it boiled down to a sense of loss. My movement was really tied to who i am and what i do and i’m sure it goes even deeper than that into the aesthetics and like how i look and all that sorta stuff but it came down to. I’m losing the ability to do the things that i like to do.
00:10:01 – 00:15:17
So that was really hard for me and a real eye opener and temporary to some degree. I think you’ll rock. I mean we were tossing the football. Maybe about a month ago. We had a really nice day and we were tossing the football noodles. Who two months ago was months ago. Oh man okay so one thing. And i i blame it on my jamaican side. I have zero concept of time like zero. I’ll say oh the other day embracing your ago two years ago. yeah so to to go back to it. I think it’s important that you’re acknowledging his feelings But also i think you have to look out for yourself. And i think yes absolutely i would ask him. What’s going on. I would ask how you can support him. And i think you can also ask how he’s feeling about the relationship i mean you’re not a mind reader and you say he’s sending mixed signals but any signals can be confusing. So you know if possible. I do think that verbal communication and using our language skulls is is one important way to go. And i’m not saying it’s the only way to communicate but i i do hope you reach out and get a little bit of clarity for yourself so that you can relax and feel good about wherever you’re at whether it’s in a relationship or a situation ship or you entanglement or or whatever it may be so i wish you the best of luck call it a situation ship. Yeah i did not come up with that. Because that’s awesome brand goes on social media so anytime i say like a word that’s trending he’s like. Oh my wife. So smart is nothing. I know gordon social. Just when i’m there. I’m skimming diving deep. Yeah also maybe everyone on your social super bowl per exactly. Do i do tangle moment. Although i have to say my older friends are more with it than me. Sound on like what is that. I need to go google lab. So thank you for sending your question in encourage people to continue sending their questions and we’ll do our best to weigh in You know always acknowledging that there is no one right way to do things But i do look at it this way. If you were to have a conversation with this person and it was to put them off. I would suggest that maybe you aren’t aligned in terms of the way you deal with relationships because if what you want to do is have a conversation. What they wanna do is withdraw. That might be a challenge that you’re going to to face at some point. Probably sooner rather than later. And i’m not saying that it means you’re at an impasse in that you can’t work together. But it certainly is. I would say a an issue around communication and compatibility that you probably are going to want to work through or find some common ground so having said that let’s let’s chat technology and techno farance and i do wanna give a shout out to. Let’s get checked dot com before we dive into this at home testing. You order the kit. They send it to you. Send back sample and you receive your results. For a variety of health tests from hormones to s t is online securely. So check them out at. Let’s get checked dot common. Please use code. Dr jess d. r. for dr to save a few dollars and also let them know that you heard about them here tech tech so we know that there is now a wealth of research even though it’s a relatively new area on the ways in which technology positively affects relationships as well as the way technology interferes with relationships it was kind of looking into some of the data and there are many different studies looking at the way couples use technology to resolve fights and also the way technology leads to conflict within relationships. Am i was reading this theory around the draw of the smartphone and how it’s to some degree potentially evolutionary as to why we can’t put down our phone so is reading that the drawer or the pull of the smartphone is in fact connected to old modules in the brain that have historically been critical to our survival and this has to do with the ways we connect with others the way we respond to others and the way we self disclose and having the phone at our fingertips affords us new contacts for connecting and for disclosing information about who we are and for responding to others and so the brain is wired to do those things for survival. If you think about humans in our history as social creatures we’ve needed one another to survive so when someone reaches out it is our instinct to look at what they’ve said to respond to what they’ve said and and i think we’ve heard the language of compulsively tossed around we’ve seen some preliminary research about smartphones being addictive but vata side is research on how it’s affecting couples and relationships overall so one study found that sixty two percent say that tech interferes with their quality.
00:15:17 – 00:20:01
Time together forty percents say. Their partner gets distracted by the tv during a conversation. And i’m sure that number is shifting. I think fewer and fewer people are necessarily watching tv but streaming thirty five percent said that their partner will pull out their phone if they receive a notification even in the middle of a conversation so thirty five percent interrupt conversations. And i think many of us do this subconsciously. Thirty three percent say their partner checks their phone during mealtime so when they’re at the dinner or lunch or breakfast table and twenty five percent say that their partner actively texts other people during a conversation during a face to face conversation. So these numbers. I don’t know man. They’re not surprising to me. What do you think there’s nothing there that surprises me I actually would assumed that. Those numbers distractions pulling your phone. During a conversation would have been higher. I’m sure that people aren’t disclosing the wires. I know because people aren’t people are being real man. I mean i’ve noticed. I’ve found myself doing it and when i’ve been reminded of how rude it is. I’ve felt embarrassed because i don’t want. I never want the person that i’m with to feel like they’re they’re they’re not interesting to me or what they’re saying isn’t of important and i think it’s pretty clear when somebody i mean. Think about things. When i’m having conversation with you in the middle of a conversation you pull your phone and answer. Somebody else’s texted saying that is more important than this right. And i often say that couples with regard to leaving their phones in the bedroom. I say you know if you fall asleep to your news feed up to your emails. It can send a message to your partner. That whatever is on your phone is more important or luring or interesting then the human being the body in not just the body of the human being in the flesh. Who’s sitting next to you now. If we were to go through this list. I think i might take yes to all of them. So does technology sometimes interfere with our quality time. I would say yes And i think. I might even make excuses and say well. Sometimes i have to check my phone for work or you know. I’ll tell you the truth. Is i’m always a little bit paranoid with regard to my parents calling and something being wrong like i have difficulty not looking because i’ve become dependent on the phone and if it’s my dad you know calling i wanna i just wanna pick it up and i’m sure parents will say the same thing about their kids. Will i do the same thing. I’ll i’ll be at work. And when i get a phone call from your father. I’m always quick to interrupt my work to answer the call. Because i assume that he’s not calling me unless there’s something wrong although just go to rational thought and we know that they let’s be honest he doesn’t just call us when something’s wrong causes all the time. Something wrong could be that the faucets not shutting properly or that. The wife is down. The wifi down is a big one. Yeah we needed. The internet is broken. Okay so that’s my dad. So what does technology interfere with leisure time. I would say yes. I don’t think it consistently does. But and i also think that you and i and we can talk a little bit better journey have made a lot of changes to the way we use technology over the year Do we get distracted by the tv. During a conversation. I i would say no to that. Don’t really have the tv on cable years nobody even when i’m streaming net flicks on my computer. If you walk in. I just i posit. ’cause i know you’re gonna talk to me and it’s not actually that the tv induced a little frustrated on the tv doesn’t interfere with our conversation. Your conversation with my and you know. The thing is not even ever watching anything that seriously. No watching downton abbey. You’ve seen it already. But i just have it on in the background. I’m not watching it. It’s just what i’m doing something else. I have it on sort of as white noise which. I’m sure somebody could tell me. Some studies recently attic. Or did you see some stuff. I read an article that just made reference to shows now that don’t require any almost like you know awareness when you’re watching a show because it’s just like you said it’s just noise and there was a critic on. It was talking about this new netflix show and they were just like it was mediocre. And i couldn’t wait for the next season that’s actually me with every show. There’s very few shows. I love now. I have to say. I didn’t grow up watching television. Like i hated television as a kid. ’cause i did not like to sit still. I cannot ever really remember sitting through show as a child.
00:20:01 – 00:25:01
I remember seeing shows because my sister would watch. Tv you are. my dad. Would watch tv. But i really never watched it and now i feel as an adult that the quality of content has improved so much that there are some really kind of fabulous shows that are interesting to watch. But i generally won’t sit down and watch them. I’ll put them on the background while i’m packing. Put them in the background. While i’m doing something else. Oh yeah. I’m not old but y’all now have to sit through your you know. The videos are interrupted for ten second ads. Jew can skip you remember being a kid and like commercials come on be like six minutes of commercials. The hell me. I also remember that. The commercials were louder than the shows. They turn it up because they knew people would leave the room. I don’t know if i’m making that up. But that’s how i perceived it all right so we’ll we pull out our phone. If we receive notification even in the middle of the conversation i would say generally no but definitely. i’ve done this and there are times where i am. I will tell you. I don’t even realise. I’m doing it. And i- i rationalized my decision. Where for me. i’ll say why i have to. It’s because of work. It’s because i’m in the middle of this or the middle of that and you know again. The reality is ninety nine times out of one hundred that message. That call can wait for sixty ninety seconds. Until i’m finished the conversation with the person with whom i’m having that conversation and so a third check their phone during mealtimes i don’t think we check we don’t have our phones at the table anymore but i will say for out for dinner and you go to the bathroom. I’m dying to get to my phone. Which is kind of pathetic. And then a quarter say. They taxed someone else during a conversation. I’m sure i’ve done this. I’m sure so. A quarter sounds very low. I wouldn’t say do it regularly. And so the reason we’re kind of looking at some of this data is that we know that it’s damaging to the relationship. We know that only our interactions being interrupted by technology. But you know research is showing that folks see. Techno furans and the relationship is problematic in those who report higher levels of techno also report higher levels of conflict over technology use lower relationship satisfaction more symptoms and lower life satisfaction. So we have these correlations that you know we’d perhaps like to attenuate right and reduce the negative effects of techno fearance. And you know. I read another study around having your cell phone on the table versus having it in your pocket versus having it in another room and they found that the you know the mere presence of a cell phone in the room can reduce feelings of intimacy trust and empathy. And so. that’s why last night. I decided to add this discussion around technology. And i would actually say that among my clients. It’s technology time and division of labor that they tend to fight most about so you’ll hear that couples fight about sex money and kids but among the people that i hear from and i again. I’m working with a lot of entrepreneurs that’s what they fight about how they spend their time together in part How much time. They’re spending together which we can talk about another time the use of technology and its interference in the relationship and then division of labor which is common for busy people or people who maybe take on more more than we can handle. I see how the time element plays a huge role in all of this. But at the same time i also don’t want to discount the fact that technology can be a perk can be a bonus to to relationships as well. I mean again when used effectively. Absolutely i mean we were talking last night and another in another part of the session. One of the questions. We had the couple’s answer with one another was. When do you feel most loved. And i was seeing that since we’ve been home for eight months together i feel really loved when you touch me just like feeling your hand my back when you come and give me a hug. I don’t think i’ve ever been so drawn to physical affection as i am in two thousand twenty. I don’t think eight had as much craving for it but prior to this back in our regular ruled. Lives i felt most loved. When you called me. I love just seeing your name pop up on my screen because when i was traveling when i was busy i just felt like you called me all the time. You’re always phoning me when you had a break or phoning me to check in and i think to some degree it was a bit one sided. I don’t think i called you first of all. I don’t make phone calls. Generally jess you know that she does not make phone calls. I’d never talk even as a teenager. Didn’t like talking on the phone but at the same time. Have you seen my hands. You know what. It’s trying to text with these bear.
00:25:02 – 00:30:08
This is chew. It’s like basically baseball gloves. Easier to make a phone call. Or actually i do voice text new voice tax but yeah so i felt really loved when you would reach out to me and technology played really important role in that. Were you made reference at the beginning of this conversation about how You know the importance of community and really You know connecting online and socially can create that support network that you might not otherwise have an especially now being isolated and being alone and not having that network having your phone can be a source of community For me i would always check in with you. Because i wou number one. I’m curious i want to know how your day is going to make him alive. I really do wonder where you are today. You know a fine. My friends But that was a way for me to check and also just show you that i cared about you. Well actually that brings me to another point that i know my mom when i was traveling with. Check my social media feeds to make sure that you could see me and so You know twitter wouldn’t really help because you couldn’t see me. And i do have some folks assisting with that platform but she would look on my insta stories when i was travelling to make sure that she saw me saying like. Oh i’m in this coffee shop now and look at those architecture and isn’t this building beautiful which apparently is the only thing i say all my insta stories. But i know that. If i think it’s because she didn’t want to bother me or always call me but you just wanted to know that wherever i was in the world that i was safe so there are absolutely positive out. Shoots are positive outcomes from technology. So i don’t wanna take away from that. Having said that what i’d like to do right now is go through this technology conversation that you can do with yourself do with a partner and it entails eight questions so maybe i’ll start by reading through eight questions and then we can talk about them just a little bit. So this is the technology conversation for couples that i think is worth having. You know whether you’ve been together for months or six years or sixty years. I mean sixty years. That’s an accomplishment man. Well i shouldn’t even say that because the longevity of relationship is not necessarily indicative of the quality of the relationship grew. So i take that back. But if you’re happy after sixty years that’s kind of amazing so these questions by the way are not gospel. I don’t have all the answers. These are just ideas to get. You started prompts to you know lead to new discussions and hopefully each one leads to another. I guess exploration or deeper insights or more meaningful connections. So here we go. How do you feel the use of tech devices affects your relationship. Be specific and i think that if you’re not in a relationship you could change that to your lifestyle number two. How do you feel about electronics in the bedroom or at the dinner table or elsewhere so do you have any feelings about specific locations. How often do you want to be connected to technology or disconnected number four. Why do you feel drawn to your phone or device men. We could spend hours talking about this number five. Would you like to reduce or adjust your use of technology when you’re together if so why number six. How do you feel when your partner is on their phone in different scenarios or environments for example. How do you feel when they’re on their phone in bed or at the table while watching tv or in the car or at a party number seven what commitments can you make to minimize or attenuate the effects of techno ferrets and number eight. How can you use technology to enhance your relationship. So there’s to me. There’s really a lot here and the reason i believe. This conversation is so important. Is that most of us. Many of us just get angry in response to technology use and we blame our partners and we accuse our partners and we don’t really look inward and i also think that you know. Oftentimes we blame technology for relationship problems when it’s our behavior around technology right. The phone is not forcing its way into our hands are breen is activating our hands to reach for the phone and this friction and mindlessness and conflict is human driven. It is not technology driven right. It’s not a robot coming up to us stuck between my hand and the phone but he feels like so really. You are in charge of how you use your phone so you can take control and you can make changes. I do want to at the end. Talk about specific with. Can you either have a digital detox or take small steps to change the way we use technology because so for example if you take your phone into the bedroom and you it every single night and you use it as an alarm clock and this is your norm and you’ve been doing this for the last.
00:30:08 – 00:35:06
Let’s say five or ten years. It’s unlikely that you’re going to quit. Cold turkey right but there are maybe some small things you can do to work your way. Toward reducing perhaps the how commonly the phone is in the bedroom or me moving the phone away from the bad or not checking the phone when you get up in the middle of the night to go to the restroom or to get a glass of water. So i don’t know do you wanna let’s go through some of these questions Let’s start and i know we’ve already shared a little bit. How do you feel. The use of tech devices affects our relationship. I think positively and negatively. I think it adversely affects our relationship. Let’s talk about my own experience. Make me it impacts my ability to relax. Which i know is my core feeling for getting into the mood It also is a source of anxiety. I feel that when i’m not near my phone or not don’t have access to it. I rationalize the need for it. In case something happens So those are just a couple of negatives on the positive side lately. i’ve been. I’ve downloaded a few apps especially during this pandemic that have really helped me Center and focus on breathing journaling. Things like that and it’s also been a source of stink connected to people that otherwise can’t see so a little positive negative. Yeah it’s interesting that you bring up anxiety because when we become dependent on a specific activity or device it it serves to increase earnings. Id but we think decreases anxiety right. We think that. Just check the covid numbers today. Or if i just check my email or if i just check in to make sure nobody’s called my anxiety will be assuaged when in fact as i become more dependent on those check ins anxiety increases and i know that my anxiety overall has been Much higher since since march of twenty twenty In fact i actually. I don’t think march. And april and may were so bad. It’s kind of gotten worse in the last few months. And i i’m generally a pretty low anxiety person I don’t think i’ve ever had these more sustained levels higher levels of anxiety and it’s it’s not debilitating for me but it is. I think really affected by the change to my schedule. I think i talked about this recently. That moving around and being under pressure and taking risks and you know dealing with new people in new situations every single day and basically setting myself up with the potential to fail. Which is what happens every time you get on stage right you. Might you might bomb or when you’re booking flights with sixty minutes to spare between them vate so all of those things. Were very exciting for me and i know. They’re very distressful for other people but it has to do with. I think my own condition and the way my brain produces chemicals so missing those things Has it’s not just made me board. It’s made me anxious and again. i’m. I’m lucky i’m still working. I’m doing it all virtually but it’s it’s just not the same so turning to my phone during these times has been a bit of a replacement and i have found myself. Mindlessly scrolling Mindlessly kind of reading but not absorbing engaging in material that causes me distress reading articles and perspectives and comments on articles. That really pissed me off and dedicating more of my time and energy to those things that in the past. I think i didn’t have time for or at least i didn’t make space for so you know. That’s how i think that i need to set more boundaries with my phone and i do try and shut down at a certain time of night so if any of you you know anyone listening i if you’re one person that text me or is on messenger with me You’ll notice that at a certain point. I just say okay. I’m shutting down for the night and that’s late sometimes. That’s earlier but we definitely we don’t bring the phone instant phones into the bedroom. No we don’t and you talked about shutting down disconnecting. And i know that’s one of the questions on this You know how do you want him. Perhaps limit your use but it’s crazy to me that my phone is on and i’m generally responding to emails from eight. Am if not earlier through about nine o’clock and so i’m available to people thirteen hours of the day which makes it very difficult to disconnect and relax and focus on other things or and again. This is my experience. But the The expectation of other people for you to be available Can add just another layer of stress so kind of creating those boundaries is very difficult. I gotta i got a phone call from somebody at friday at like ten o’clock at night and that’s not the issue.
00:35:06 – 00:40:02
It was a work call and the person immediately followed up with your assistant random with him the thirty minutes or forty minutes leader and was like. I can’t get in touch with your family dude. It’s friday at eleven o’clock at night like my phone was on for thirteen hours today. I think you can wait until tomorrow. Morning when i responded at seven thirty in the morning. But it’s just this expectation for people to always be available. Well that’s an a really important piece around setting boundaries and so i do think if folks are gonna turn off their phones so for example if you were to turn off your phones on sunday for four hours so that you could really be present you might have to let other people know so for example if your parents are used to calling you if there’s somebody else clients who are used to call you. You may need to say. Hey i’m not going to be available during these hours and i mean setting boundaries as practice and self care that i’m certainly working on You know it’s easier to give the advice than to to follow it. Sometimes but what. I love about these conversations. I continue to kind of look through. These questions is that there is so much nuance. There is no right way and wrong way so for us not having phones in the bedroom i think is kind of important and quite effective and our bedrooms up on the third floor so the phones are all the way down on the second floor and when we first started this years ago i recall that we kept our phones over on the top step because god forbid victories started at the at the just at the base of the bed then worked their way to the top staff and they worked their way down and now it just feels very normal to leave our phones down on the first or second floor charging and for people who do have their phones in the bedroom. Sometimes you know with good reason if it’s an alarm clock i would challenge you to just save up and buy an alarm clock because you do have that option but you know maybe you have teenagers who are out late and you’re on them or maybe you know you’re you’re waiting for like for example. I do worry sometimes. Because i turn my phone off at night i do worry about. You know calls from the parents or something like that. But it’s just something that over the years i’ve learned to let go of a little and but i do i was thinking about the nuance of phones at the table. So i know that when you and i eat at home. We don’t have the phones at the table. Generally depends on what time we eat right like sometimes if we have somebody that we have this like late lunch at four or five pm and we might still be in the middle of something and sometimes the phones are there but it was thinking about when my friends come over and we’re just sitting and chatting that sometimes we are on our phones a little bit guilty of this but have to say an people may be going to disagree and i should actually ask my friends although oh my gosh my friends are dying to come on this podcast and drive me up the wall. They always threatened to every time there over here having wine I have to say. I kind of like it. I like that. We can have a conversation but one of us can also tune out and beyond our phone for a few minutes while the other two were talking and i guess that’s a an important question for my friends going to ask them how they feel about. You just have a long. I think you know what. I’m just going to record next time. They cover or when it’s safe to have everybody over. I’m just gonna just put the microphones and melda needs to turn the volume down now. And i are the too loud as ever because when the two of you together. The three of you are together. I feel like. I can’t even get a word in now. You got it you have to wait. You have to hold your hand over our mouth but i think there is some nuance to it And i hope that. I’m not making my friends. Feel unimportant or disregarded and maybe this is just my own perspective. Maybe i’m missing the mark entirely. Maybe they’re like just. You’re the only one on your phone. We’re not all on our phones. The other thing we talked about yesterday you talked to boot feeling loved and at ease in the mornings after you make our coffee and you’re on your ipad reading the paper and i’m on my phone kind of just messing around and you were saying just the quiet comfort of sitting across the room for one another but being on her devices is a offers a sense of comfort to you which may not resonate with everyone to summit will to some. It won’t but for me. It kind of reminds me a little bit. And i’m not equating you or me to a dog but it’s that quiet quiet comfort of having someone you love in the room with you and that’s it you know when they when i first read it it was like just you know having a dog in the room with you and sitting in quiet knowing that they’re there and knowing just the peacefulness of it in the morning when i make coffee sit down or not. Some music read the paper and the two of us are sitting there doing her thing on our tech devices. There’s something that. I really enjoy their so in that sense.
00:40:02 – 00:45:03
Technology is is making my life a little bit better. I mean it’s a combination of factors. But you get what i’m saying. Yeah i so. I think there are different ways of looking at it. It doesn’t have to be hard and fast rule. Can we’re never going to get through this conversation as we continue to digress. Let me skip to Another question actually. We may have sort of answered this. But why are you drawn to your phone. I’m drawn to my phone. Because i’m curious i’m interested in what else is going on out there Not that this relationship is an interesting but sometimes it’s news it’s what somebody else’s up to I think again. There’s a fear that i’m going to be missing something work or something important which is how i rationalize it. But i think that those are the first things that come to mind What do you think yeah. I think it is curiosity. But i do think there’s a degree as i said of anxiety for me of you know if i’m doing this then i’m doing something and You know when. I think about whether or not i’d like to reduce my use of technology. When we’re together i will say that over the last. I guess ten years we’ve done a good job setting boundaries around technology use we break those boundaries sometimes but not having the phones at the table and not having the phones in the bedroom i think is a nice place to start. I do again. This comes with some nuance because we’re entrepreneurs because we work ourselves. This means that we work pretty. We were kind of every day and we work long hours but we also have a lot of flexibility and so sometimes in the middle of the day. If i say let’s let’s go for a walk. We go for an hour long. Walk you know. Maybe this isn’t fair. But i feel as though i need to check my phone. I think there’s an understanding that. Hey it’s two pm and we’re afforded the luxury of going for a walk right now and that doesn’t mean that if a quick press op comes in and i need to return it within the hour then so be it and so i. I don’t know i. I like the flexibility of it. But i still. I’m trying to think where. I’d like to reduce the use of technology. I think what i’d like is to be scrolling on social media. Personally not you. This is me less often into the evening. Because i just. I don’t need to see what’s going on on instagram. But somehow my fingers are drawn to it and my eyeballs are like the idea of. I’ve been toying and playing with the blocking time and more poorly just informing you know people that want to contact me when i am not available so i find that setting auto responder is really helpful even at the beginning of a day where i know for instance. We’re going to be having this discussion or that. I have another meeting from twelve to one three to four or whatever it is and just during those times sending out that out of office where i am interested in getting back to you as soon as possible. Just i’m tied up right now and it’s also easy to do that after whatever you know whatever time you decide that you want to block the rest of the day for yourself or for your own mental wellbeing your relationship or just your own personal time absolutely. Yeah and so You know another piece here. Is another question revolves around. We can make to minimize techno farance. So i thought i’d share you know some strategies one as i said is maybe reducing. How often you have the phone in the bedroom. So if you’re used to the phone in the bedroom. Could you commit to friday nights without the phone in the bedroom. And then maybe you would add saturday nights. And that’s what i do with clients. And we’ll watch them weaned off their phones and months later or even years later. They’ll say they can’t even remember what it was like to have the phone in the bedroom. The other thing that i’ve seen you do because we still sometimes bring the ipad to bed to watch netflix. Is you’ve turned off your notifications on your ipad. So your messages. Don’t pop up so if you are going to use the device you know either as white noise or maybe watching television helps you to relax before you go to sleep or maybe you just love watching shows together turning off. Those notifications can help other strategies. I’ve used with couples at end with individuals involves having a box and putting your phone in the box for a conversation or for a meal or putting it in a drawer or putting it in a cupboard because sometimes we have every intention of keeping our phones in our pockets but all of a sudden we find it in our right hand and we’re like what are we doing days. You’re like where’s my phone. Where’s me like it’s in your hand. You don’t even realize yeah and so we know that going and engaging in a digital detox can be good for the relationship it can be good for feeling more present feeling more mindful dedicating more quality time to your partner and falling asleep to your partner as opposed to falling asleep with your online friends. I think and changing it so that you own an alarm clock. We own this super annoying alarm clock. That makes bird sounds in the morning or like it so the you know i hate it because it doesn’t old alarm clock was like an alarm like a bomb going off or something so we’ll cup startled.
00:45:03 – 00:48:54
This one has gender bird noises. Because you don’t wake up to the bird noises. I wake up and then i wake you nice. And it’s one of those ones that changes the light so it looks sort of like a a quick sunrise. I like it until after ten minutes than the you know. The world war three alarm goes off to make sure that you get up. Yeah that’s true. I never let it get to that. Why do you can sleep through anything. Not me i. I wake up like if the if the heat goes on in the house. I’m awake if the heat goes off. I actually wake know. It’s no joke. Got problems so i i think that not only is minimizing Rooted in making some shifts. Get encourage you and ask you. What is one shift you can make to minimize the negative effects of technology on your life on your overall wellbeing but also on your relationships i would challenge folks wherever you are to make one change within the next twenty four hours and then i think the really important part is this reflection or conversation on how you feel tech affects you. How you feel about electric’s in different locations how often you want to be connected. Why you feel drawn to your device Would you like to reduce the use of technology. And why of course. How do you feel about the phone in different scenarios from the bedroom to the table to watching. Tv to the car to at a party. And what commitments are you going to make. And then the last species. How can you use technology to enhance your relationships. So i think if you take these questions or prompts and use them as an opportunity to reflect and then use them as an opportunity to have really more depth nuanced discussions. The techno feron’s on your relationship will likely be reduced. So i’m going to leave you with that I think we could spend hours discussing these topics anything over over time we will. Yeah and the course that we facilitated yesterday even as we’re doing it which we’ve done before and you formulated these courses in these questions over the last couple of decades. Every time i learned something new every time it gives me an opportunity to reflect and think and to you know inspire new conversation with you and in this relationship which ultimately results in me feeling better is just investing the time and the effort knowing that the outcome means i’m happier not only in this relationship with other relationships and in work and all of these things so thank you thank you. I guess we’re kind of lucky too. Because the podcast in in these types of conversations serves as the carving out a time to make sure we do these things and have these conversations. I think we could dive a little bit deeper. And i’m sure we will today. You know and the compensation doesn’t have to be form. I know we’ve sat down formerly and had this discussion today. But i will. I imagine that some of these topics will be woven into our conversations over the next couple of days or weeks or longer. And i think these are things we have to revisit. As well because it’s easy to slide into good habits but also easy to slide out of habits that perhaps take a toll on the relationship so thanks for chatting with ebay and thank you. Thank you to you for listening. Hope you have a lovely day. Lovely week wherever you’re at will be back next week and every friday with a whole new episode. If you like the podcast please do share review. We really appreciate those reforms on Tunes and elsewhere really makes a difference for us. And if you’re interested in learning more something fun and really simple and learning some new mind-blowing techniques that i think are really doable and practical. Do check out happier couples dot com and use the code podcast to say you’re listening to the sex with dr jess podcast. Improve your sex life improve your life.