Fostering meaningful connection in the digital age poses challenges that never existed in previous generations – at least not to today’s scale and scope.

Do you find yourself scanning your friends’ latest Instagram posts while your partner is talking? Millions of couples report that digital technology, like SmartPhones, is undermining their relationship at the very foundation.

What makes social media appeal to us more than having an actual conversation with the person in front of us? Some research points to social media scans as creating a flow state – or “being in the zone,” which feels positive and rewarding. Plus, it’s easy.

Engaging with your partner after a long day at work can feel like more work, ruining its appeal. It is easier to check out. What is the impact on your emotional health and connection with your partner?

#1 Overusing Texts as a Replacement for Contact

In today’s non-stop world, shooting a text to your partner to check in rather than making a phone call or having a meaningful face-to-face is tempting. Time is short, and a text message gets the job done.

What’s missing, though? Connection doesn’t exist in a bubble or spontaneously develop because you remembered to text your partner that you will be late from the office.

Face-to-face connections are ideal, of course. Merely hugging your partner for 30 seconds when you greet each other both morning and evening fosters connection (without words) and reduces stress. Breathe together. Feel your arms around one another and invest in a moment of comfort.

If close physical contact is not realistic because of schedules or travel, voice-to-voice conversations are the runner-up. Voice conversations are less likely to result in miscommunication.

#2 Expecting Your Partner to Read Your Mind

You have been thinking all day long and perhaps even building expectations your partner is unaware of. Without conscious communication, partners may have their heads in two entirely different places.

If you are thinking take-out and your partner expects to get spruced up for a night on the town – you might run into a problem. Avoid building expectations, especially those that can result in anger or feelings of let down, without bringing your loved one into the conversation.

#3 Ignoring Issues That Arise

Has it been a few days since you and your partner connected in any meaningful way? Are you sitting side-by-side both on your phones and thoroughly checked out? It might be time for you to spend some together checking in. Connection does not happen by accident, but it can develop when both partners commit to putting in the work.

  • Take a walk together
    Agree on device-free times (before bed, during dinner, etc.)
    Spend time after work sharing about the day
    Share bath duty and child-related responsibilities

Try spending more time looking into each other’s eyes and less time updating your status.

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