When I say my wife can’t put her phone down, I mean she literally can’t put her phone down. There’s not a single moment you’ll see her without her phone. If you see her without the phone, then she’s either bathing or doing something that requires the use of her two hands. When she wakes up in the morning, the first thing she picks up is her phone. She will lay in bed for about fifteen minutes, respond to last night’s messages or go through her Instagram feed and laugh about something that’s nothing. She’ll get up, go to the washroom to wee-wee with her phone in hand. She’ll pick her brush and start brushing her teeth with her phone in her left hand. Because of her phone, she has become a master of using one hand to do everything.
She wasn’t always like that. When we were dating, we didn’t have that issue where I had to share her attention with her phone. She was there and fully present in whatever we did. We’ll go to the movie and she won’t blink. Her phone didn’t have a place in her life when a movie was showing. After the movie, we will walk home discussing what we liked about the movie and what we didn’t like. We could talk about the movie for days and still enjoy our discussions.
I don’t know when the phone issue started. I didn’t realize when she started having an interest in the world that exists on her phone. I started noticing it one night when she stayed up in bed all night touching her phone. I was trying to get her attention but everything she said was off tangent to what I was saying. I felt agitated but didn’t say a word. I turned to my side and slept. I woke up at dawn to see her still watching something on her phone. I asked her, “You’ve been on your phone all this while?” She answered, “What else can I do when I can’t sleep?” It was around 1am. I continued sleeping
The following night too it happened. She had her phone in her hand while I was trying to kiss her. I took it from her hand and placed it somewhere closer to the bed. She wasn’t into what was happening but I continued anyway. Immediately I got off her, she picked her phone, and the next minute, she was smiling and giggling. I felt unimportant and unseen. It was like I was a stranger to her—a stranger who’s forcing his way between her and her phone. I told her, “What at all is it on your phone that you can’t put it down?” She asked, “Can’t I use my own phone again?” I said, “I also have a phone but it’s not here at the moment because I know what’s important. No more phones in bed. From today, we leave our phones in the hall when coming to sleep.”
It turned into a mini argument. I insisted. She resisted. I told her, “Don’t let me use force. It’s simple logic that we sleep without our phones so we can talk to each other.”
Because I banned the use of phones in bed, then she won’t come to bed at all. She spent all the night in the hall, chatting, watching something, or scrolling on Instagram. I will go to bed without her. Sometimes she’ll come to bed around 12am or even 1am. If the next day was a weekend, then she won’t come to bed at all. Somedays, she’ll sleep in the hall all because I won’t allow her to bring her phone to bed. We’ve been married for a little over a year but I don’t feel the vibe in our marriage because of my wife’s addiction to her phone. It’s very hard for me to make her laugh but she easily laughs while looking on her phone.
I made a policy not to go through my partner’s phone no matter what but I was tempted to go through her phone and see what she does there. It took me months to be able to get hold of her phone because it was always in her hands. I took my time and checked all the apps she used. I went through her messages and there was nothing there to suggest that she was doing anything bad. The last app she used before sleeping was YouTube. The last social media app she used was Instagram. I wasted my night going through a phone when I could have slept soundly.
We loved movies when we were dating so I decided to reintroduce movies into our lives. I got Netflix. I told her, “Now we can watch movies every night, what do you think?” She was very excited about it. I allowed her to select the movies we should watch but guess what, she’ll select the movie, the movie will start playing but in the next two or three minutes, her phone’s screen will light up and that would be the end of the movie for her. Nothing I say will bring her attention back to the movie.