Are you and your mate constantly on the computer? Tied to the telephone? Addicted to your blackberrys? Odds are, if you’re like most modern couples, you spend a lot more time plugged into technology than you did even a few years ago.
The good news: you may be getting loads of work done or finding out things you never knew about old friends on Facebook. The bad news is you’re spending less quality time together, and connecting less and less – with each download!
In the course of the very same high-tech revolution that has enabled us to be more mobile while meeting our professional commitments – and given us unprecedented ability to keep up communication with our loved ones far away- we’ve forgotten the commitment we have to the people who are closest to us: the ones we see every day! If you want to increase intimacy between you and your partner and give yourselves a chance to – ahem – reboot and reconnect, try taking a break from technology… at least once in a while!
Try these four tips to put the charge back in your relationship!
1. No-charge zone
Don’t charge your phones or PDAs by the bedside. Nighttime is the right time for charging your Blackberry’s battery, sure. But by putting your handheld device right next to your bed, you’re increasing the temptation to check for emails and texts when you should be checking in with (and into!) each other. While you may not wake up from a sound sleep to see if you’ve heard from the London office just because your phone is by the bed, the odds are that when morning comes you’ll reach for your device before you reach for your partner.
Make the bedroom a sacred space, from the time you head off to bed until after you’ve arisen and made your morning coffee. The best way to resist the urge to email or text during that time, and in that space, is to charge it up in another room. In the meantime, if you’re concerned about “ignoring” people, create an auto-responder to inform inquirers that you don’t check messages from 11pm to 7am. The world will survive without you… your sex life on the other hand, may not.
2. Date night unplugged
Go on a date web-free for one night, once a week. Picture this: It’s Saturday night, and you and your love are all snuggled up on the couch, when you pause the movie for a moment. One of you hops up to refill the wine glasses, and the other one heads for the computer… only to get lost in a barrage of current events or emails. Worse still, you’re at dinner when there’s a lull in the conversation… for chewing! Then your date pulls out the iPhone to show off their favorite new app – one where you can type and watch the ground at the same time… or in this case, type and watch your plate.
3. Hands free evenings
Whether you’re staying in or headed out, make one night a week Internet-free – period. You may want or need your cell phones handy, especially if kids are involved, but make it a point not to hop online or indulge in text messaging with anyone you’re not meeting up with that night. Talk instead! Share thoughts about movies, books, sports, or foods you love – things you like to do that don’t involve typing. Focus on each other and your shared experience of the immediate surroundings, as opposed to what may be popping up on Twitter. Dance. Kiss. Listen to music. Laugh. Touch. Enjoy your meal. Have sex. You get the message. There was plenty to do before you were chained to technology. Be present together on this plane, not the virtual one.
Give up the crutch! These days, no matter what we’re trying to accomplish, most of us are inclined to hop online to consult a guide for instructions… while we’re doing it! The next time you and your mate are working on a household project, or going on an outing, focus on doing it without interruption from the Internet. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use all the resources at your disposal to optimize whatever you’re doing and make it efficient, but prepare in advance so that you don’t have to stop half way through. This seems harmless enough (after all, you’re just trying to get the task completed as well as you can!), but it takes the focus away from the actual experience, and prevents us from putting our heads together as couples. Camaraderie and intimacy are strengthened by tackling problems as a team, not by checking Google.
4. Low-tech connections
Make time for a makeout session. Okay, so this one has nothing to do with getting distracted by the world wide web of possibilities, but it’s one thing you can probably both agree you’d like to do more of. Plus, it’s a good enough reason for even the most technology tweaked tweeter to put down the mouse and step away from the keyboard. Physical intimacy is in short supply when you’re constantly (and consistently) confined to a cubicle. Kiss your mate more, and you’ll find yourselves more inclined to get a lot closer than that!
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