The online survey of over 1,000 married individuals was commissioned by London-based family law firm Brookman last month and revealed that whilst many expected their partner to take work calls or emails whilst on holiday, their biggest frustration came from their partners often constant use of social media.
Although over half of respondents said their partner had sent an email or made a work-related phone call during a holiday and over a third said their partner often takes a laptop or phone with them on holiday, almost 80% felt that their partner had actually had a good work-life balance.
However, when it came to their use of social media whilst on holiday, the results showed a very different story. Over 60% said their partner checked social media at least once a day whilst on holiday, a quarter said that their partner checked emails or social media several times a day, with a further 2.6% stating ‘10x + a day’ and 6.8% saying ‘all the time’. Over a quarter of participants said they felt frustrated or angry that their partner wasn’t engaged, or seemed ‘distracted’ from the family whilst on holiday.
It is estimated that the average Internet user is now on social media and messaging services for over 2 hours per day and the issue of being ‘physically present’, but ‘emotionally distant’ is a growing problem for couples. In fact, technology addiction has been claimed to be as damaging as other addictions that have traditionally been considered as severely detrimental to a relationship, such as alcoholism and drug addictions. More alarmingly, excessive use of social media is now being used as grounds for divorce.
Brookman commissioned the survey to explore this area further after noticing a rise in the number of people who were including excessive use of technology in their divorce petition statements. Senior Partner, Henry Brookman, says, ‘Addiction to technology is a growing problem for couples, as people spend more time in ‘virtual relationships’ with friends, followers and even complete strangers.
Unfortunately, we are seeing a rise in the number of people who consider this problem to be a contributing factor to their marriage breakdown. Often, by the time they turn to us, the problem has spiralled into an irreconcilable state, and divorce has become the only feasible option’.
Obviously, if the problem is tackled early, then divorce doesn’t have to be the answer. Here are a few simple ways of reducing the use of technology so that your holiday is a dream and your relationship remains intact.
Leaving your phone or tablet behind when you go out -
Where possible, don’t take your phone with you when going out for day trips or even for just a short walk across the beach. You’ll not miss anything for a couple of hours and your partner will value the opportunity to talk and have your full attention. Take a camera with you for snapping those happy memories.
Use Flight Mode -
If you’ll want to take photos whilst on holiday, put your phone on Flight Mode for short periods so that you can use the usual phone functions, but without the risk of distraction from endless social media updates.
Short and Sharp -
If you really do have to check social media, make sure you do so for only a minute or two and no more than twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening). Most things don’t need an immediate reply, so don’t give yourself time to get caught up in unnecessary conversations whilst your partner is sat there waiting for you!