"We are more connected than ever!" is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot. But are we, really? And to whom or to what are we "connected?" These days the answer isn't always clear.
We need to use our technology, and the increased ability to communicate, to enhance our relationships instead of allowing technology to pull us further apart. Here are six ideas to help you stay virtually connected all the time instead of connected virtually.
1. Cuddle your spouse, not your screen: Consider the couple who decide to watch a movietogether. Instead of cuddling each other, they end up cradling their phones or tablets. We can all identify with physically being in the same room but being in another place virtually. Be sure to tune into your mate rather than tuning out due to electronic distractions.
Related: Moms Using Phones-- During Sex
2. Track yourself: Technology has become an embedded aspect of our life and we often don't notice just how much time we are REALLY spending in our virtual worlds. Over the course of a week, take notice of how much time you are watching TV, surfing the Internet, Facebooking, pinning, and tweeting. While two hours a day may not seem like a lot, that's 14 hours a week -- practically a part-time job!
3. Cultivate your relationship more than your virtual "farm": Whether it's your virtual farm, your pin boards or your blog, consider if these virtual things are getting your best energy or if your REAL relationship is. Be honest. Ask yourself what you are getting out of these online experiences and whether or not they are preventing you from embracing moments of your "real" life.
4. Get real about blogs: Blogs are an excellent way to stay updated and connected with friends while sharing valuable information. However, they can be a source of stress when we fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to these online "super people." Remember that the people behind the blogs can edit their experiences as they see fit. How you feel about yourself can directly impact your relationship so choose what you read wisely and make sure you pick content that makes you feel positive and enlightened versus anxious or stressed.
5. Stay virtually committed: Is it possible to be unfaithful to your spouse without leaving the confines of your own home? It can be tempting to look up an old flame on social media just to see what they look like, how they are doing, etc. Next time you feel tempted to do this, ask yourself if your spouse would be OK with this contact. Being technologically transparent can support you in staying virtually committed.
6. Check technology at the door: Just as there were "wild west gunslingers," now there are "Gen X phoneslingers." Our phones are literally in our "holsters" all the time, ready to respond to any text, email, alert or call that may come in. Give yourself and your relationship room to virtually breathe and create a phone check-in so you and your spouse can reconnect without distraction.
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