It can be so easy to get into a rut into your relationship — but it's one of the common ways couples lose intimacy. You're so comfortable with each other that you feel like you don't need to communicate. You know what show you're going to watch that night, you're going to have one of the two things you always have for dinner, etc. If you've been a relationship long enough, you can communicate with little more than a grunt and a look.
But just because you can communicate that way, doesn't mean you should. In fact, the one thing you can do to built intimacy with your partner? Communicate — sans technology. "The one thing you can do with your partner every day is to put down the phones, get off the iPad and talk about your day," relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein tells Bustle. "It doesn't have to be deep or complicated but you do need to sit and connect every day. Otherwise it's easy to lose track of each other and your connection."
There are a million ways phones are bad for your relationship. You've heard them all— you don't sleep as well, you ignore each other, you link up with exes. You know that it's bad for you, but how do you actually separate from it? How can you become more phone-free?
Here are some tips to actually put your phone down and make it count:
1. Use The Other Room
No, not next to you. Put it in other room. Honestly, even if you're not looking at it, just having it nearby is so distracting. You're aware of it and become preoccupied— especially if it vibrates. But even it's presence can make you not all there so get it really out of the way.
2. Get Out Of The Habit Of Updating
Seriously, nobody needs to see all of your relationship updates on social media. And you know what? A worrying amount of people have felt phubbed (snubbed for a phone), by their partners. You don't want to have your significant other just sitting there with a glass of bubbly while you pick the perfect filter, you want to be drinking the champagne with them, right? Reclaim some privacy.
3. Try Leaving It At Home
Even better than the other room? Leave it at home. I know the idea might make you feel itchy and anxious, but even going for a short walk with your partner while leaving your phone at home can be a great bonding opportunity. Once you try it, you'll realize you can survive without your phone for five minutes. I promise.
4. Have A Designated Phone-Free Activity
OK, leaving it a home is a bit too much for you? Try having an activity that you do together to get your mind off of it. A yoga class, a run, a movie— use something where you wouldn't look at your phone anyway as a stepping stone to phone-free bliss.
5. Get A Real Alarm Clock
For ultimate intimacy, you should make the bedroom a phone-free zone. Obviously your sex should be phone-free (seriously, there are people who check their phones during sex), but your whole bedroom is even better. I'm pretty good at putting my phone away, but I find myself checking my phone in the mornings when it should just be lazy time with my girlfriend, and I have to remind myself to put it away. It's just too tempting. If you get an actual alarm clock— like the olden days— you'll have no more excuses. Get in a clock, get rid of the phone.
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