Are YOU a cyber widow?- He is married to his Gadgets!

How men use technology to avoid intimacy in relationships

Technology may be keeping us in touch with the world, but it’s also isolating us from our partners — whether it’s a wife who spends hours on Facebook or a husband who can’t be separated from his BlackBerry or video games (a recent study found that of those wives citing unreasonable behaviour for ending their marriage, 15 per cent felt their partner put computer games before them). 

Facebook is cited in one in five divorces, according to lawyers, while a survey by website Divorce Online found that the phrase ‘mobile phone’ occurred in one in eight divorces citing unreasonable behaviour.

‘I call it being “together alone”,’ says relationship therapist Douglas Weiss. 

‘These days, people are on their mobiles at dinner; they spend hours on the computer or watching TV; and they are more connected to their Facebook friends than to the person they promised to love and cherish until death do them part. 

‘Technology is interrupting our relationships and allowing us to avoid each other. It has become a way of avoiding real relationships and intimacy. 

‘Thirty years ago, men would stay late at the office or hide behind their newspaper. Now they can hide behind a phone or laptop.’ Research shows we spend almost half our waking hours online, on the phone or watching TV, with 80 minutes a day spent on text messaging, social networking and emailing.

Psychotherapist and relationship expert Paula Hall, from counselling charity Relate, says technology doesn’t have to result in an affair for it to do damage. 

Even seemingly minor habits — such as a partner who is glued to their mobile phone — can have a corrosive effect on your relationship.

‘People feel they have to be contactable to the outside world all the time —that’s affecting the quality of time we spend with our partners,’ says Paula. 

‘I have couples coming to me complaining their partners are checking their emails at 1am or can’t go through dinner without texting. It sounds like a little thing, but constantly checking your phone or emails can make your partner feel they are not a priority. What starts off as a source of irritation can become the last straw.’

‘We are of a generation that thinks friendship is very important. We can spend hours responding to messages on Facebook, even if it means ignoring the loved one sitting right next to us. It can be very isolating when you hear someone read a text and giggle, and you don’t know if you have the right to ask: “Who was that?”’

But if your husband is constantly prioritising virtual friends over you, then it could be a sign there’s a more serious problem in the relationship, says Douglas Weiss. 
‘The internet can be seductive for people who have intimacy issues or problems in their marriage,’ he says.

‘It demands so little of you. Just push a button and you can be anyone you want. It’s a complete escape from reality — much easier than real life and real relationships.’

As well as being seductive, plugging into the virtual world is also highly addictive, adds Weiss. ‘If you are constantly checking Facebook or emails or surfing the net, how is that different to needing a cigarette every ten minutes?’ he says. ‘It’s not. Some people need professional help to quit.’ 

In fact, studies have shown that digital devices can be so addictive that people wake up several times during the night to check their emails and text messages. He spends more time looking at his laptop than he does at you and sends emails in bed - are YOU a cyber widow?

Daily Mail.

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