I wasn't a big player in my teen years. Or ever, really. I was never into princess girls who needed to be spoiled. Of course, I like to treat my girlfriends nicely and pay for things, but I don't want it to set the bar for happiness.
I was also never the guy to go for the ridiculously hot party girl. I didn't like partying - still don't.
All I wanted was a cool girl I could talk to, hang out and play video games or watch TV with, and to be my best friend. Corney, but true.
Three years ago, I met the one. I mean, she was the one. We had everything in common and from the moment I met her, everything was perfect. We got along great, could talk about anything, and had the same hobbies and taste in music.
Then, one day, she broke it off.
"Are you ever going to put your phone down?" she snapped at me. "I'm sick of this. I'm done!"
Now that's an overreaction, I thought. She's being way too dramatic.
Then I realized that my cell phone was actually ruining my relationship with my girlfriend. What is a healthy relationship, you may ask? It's one where you don't reach for your phone in the middle of having sex. That's right. I was that guy.
And contrary to what you might think, no, I wasn't looking at anything dirty or trying to sneak a porn peak. I was checking a text.
Creating Dangerous Opportunities
I'm not lecturing about cell phone usage. Not really. Smart devices are great. But are they better than sex? Definitely not. The more I thought about it, the more embarrassed I became about my relationship behavior.
Not only was I too busy worrying about missing a text that I couldn't get my rocks off or connect with my girlfriend in bed, but the more I thought about it, the more relationship dangers I became aware of.
For example, I was constantly on social media. I was obsessed with getting followers on Instagram and would spend literal hours liking other people’s photos in order to reach a certain number of new followers by the end of the day.
This also meant a lot of liking girls’ photos, even sexy or pretty much nude ones that I knew for a fact my girlfriend didn't appreciate. Research done by the Institute for Family Studies shows that emotional and physical infidelity and full-blown extramarital affairs are still one of the top reasons why people end up getting divorced.
With my healthy porn addiction, curiosity about cam girls, and insistence to talking to girls on social media, I was definitely opening myself up to a world of problems.
Phantom Vibration System
I was so attached to my cell phone that I couldn't go an hour without checking it. Looking online I found some pretty incredible (read: horrifying) statistics about cell phone use. Apparently, the average American spends five hours a day browsing the internet and touches their phone 2,617 times each day. I would guess that was even higher for myself.
My addiction even got so bad that I had Phantom Vibration Syndrome (which is a lot less fun than it sounds). This is the modern-day phenomenon where someone swears they can hear or feel their phone vibrating when nothing is actually happening. Phone FOMO, apparently.
Sex Life Struggles
What is a healthy relationship? Not ignoring your girlfriend’s sexual needs.
Checking my phone was the catalyst for my relationship ending and it turns out that surveys show 1 in 10 couples admit to checking their phones during sex.
Even though I myself did this, to see it written down is pretty embarrassing. After all, what's more important than sex? I mean, a lot of things. But was seeing my uncle's latest IG post about fishing in the great lakes more important than getting naughty with my girlfriend? Definitely not.
My Girlfriend was Neglected
I know what you're thinking. This basically goes without saying, if I couldn't even pay attention to her while we were having sex.
Somehow, I thought we had a great relationship with an amazing connection. I thought our communication was rock-solid. This was going to be my forever girl and I had no intentions of being without her.
Yet, I ignored her constantly. There wasn't an occasion we had where I wasn't checking my phone. Dates, Netflix binges, family functions.
Apparently, ignoring your partner in favor of your smartphone is so popular that we millennials even made a healthy catchphrase for it. It's called "phubbing" - phone snubbing.
Studies show that phubbing undermines relationships by increasing depression and lowering marital/relationship satisfaction. Obviously, my girlfriend was feeling ignored.
How We Overcame the Incident
The sex/texting wasn’t the end of me and my dream girl, thankfully. But I really had to turn my act around.
This is a lot easier said than done. Cell phone addiction is a real thing – and yes, I know how douchey that sounds. But just like joining the NoFap movement, you can’t always go cold turkey and expect perfection. It’s a process.
I check my phone less now, but more importantly, we have developed “tech-free-time” as a couple. I take two hours after I get home from work to stay free of my phone. This gives us a healthy amount of time to sit together, talk, bang, and eat together without any interruptions.
Let my misstep be a lesson to you.
What is a healthy relationship? It’s one where guys listen to the legitimate concerns of their girlfriends. If your girlfriend is complaining that you’re too addicted to your phone, she may have a point. Be smarter than your smartphone and save your relationship from sex struggles, mental health decline, and a neglected girlfriend.
Author Bio:Sylvia Smith is a writer who likes to write about relationships and how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. She is currently associated with Marriage.com. She is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt its principles in their relationships. By taking purposeful and intentional action, Sylvia feels any relationship or marriage can be transformed and truly enjoyed.