Vail Relationships column: Readers talk about the effects of cellphone and social media addiction
Editor’s note: This is the first part of a two-part series.
I have written several columns about how the increased use of cellphones and computers have affected our important relationships. One such column was about a girlfriend’s cellphone addiction, which has generated a surprising number of emails from around the world. Allow me to print some of these stories, and I will address this subject in next week’s column.
Dear Neil: I’ve had to walk away from a lady I was in love with. Although it was heartbreaking, I could no longer play second best to Facebook, What’s App and whatever other social media she was using. Even to suggest that she was on her devices way too much caused major fights between us. She was so defensive that nothing I said could get through.
Lost My Love to Facebook in Scotland
Dear Neil: Two years ago, I was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor. My fiancee has since become addicted to social media. I am sick of seeing the top of her head while she is on the damn thing. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy social media also, but that doesn’t mean I ignore my life. It hurts to be replaced by technology and not have love and affection in our relationship. I would do anything for my fiancee and her kids, but I can’t waste what life I have left.
My Time is Short in the UK
Dear Neil: Because of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and so on, my girlfriend is constantly streaming shows. She doesn’t make time for her family or me, except in short spurts. We have our own children but have been together long enough that we have formed our own family. But her streaming and use of social media are going to break up a good thing.
Why is She Doing This in Kansas
Dear Neil: I’m 29, my girlfriend is 27, and we’ve been together 11 years. The past three years, she has ignored me when we’re in the car, on date nights and when celebrating special occasions. She’s on her phone with friends every night for hours. I try to get her to talk to me to no avail. We can’t even go out for a walk or bike ride without her having to stop — sometimes for hours — while she talks on her phone.
Shut Out in Manchester, UK
Dear Neil: I broke up with my girlfriend of four years because of her addiction to her cellphone. I am now dating a girl who is not addicted to her phone and is also interested in a meaningful relationship. So guys, hear me out. Man up and bail. The problem is not her phone. It’s her.
Hopeful in Florida
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Westminster and Boulder. He is the author of the best-selling book “Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Creating a Vital Relationship.” Contact him at 303-758-8777, or visit neilrosenthal.com.