“Not a Social Media Widow? You’re Not Alone”
Does your partner seem to love their phone more than you? (Picture: Getty Images/Westend61)
Your finger presses the camera button once more. And again. And Again. Just one more, your partner says, switching positions.
They come over, grab the phone and take a look. No good. We need to do it again, they tell you.
You sigh. You love them, but this holiday has been more about getting pictures for their Instagram than spending time together.
Sound familiar? You may be a ‘social media widow’: the secret content creators hidden behind the lens who’ve lost the attention of their lover to the feed.
One in four Brits in relationships admit to feeling like a ‘social media widow’, according to new research by Samsung UK.
Our dating lives have been changed irrevocably by social media, and most of us have become somewhat surgically attached to our phones – we get that.
But it can be extremely frustrating to feel second best to your partner’s phone, Michelle Begy, founder of Ignite Dating, tells Metro.co.uk.
The partners of content creators will often find that dinners consist of rearranging the dinner table to get the right shot (18% of survey respondents).
Social media widows admit to having found themselves in some unusual situations:
- Having to lay down on the floor outside to get the best angle possible (8%)
- Risking their lives for a picture perfect shot by standing in front of a tourist attraction in the middle of oncoming traffic (8%)
- Getting weird looks from strangers when they are taking a photo in public (29%)
Meanwhile, 22% say they spend more time taking pictures of their partner on holiday than having pictures taken together, and over a quarter of long-suffering partners are forced to hold off eating until their loved one has finished taking shots of the food and drinks.
A few (one in five) say they have even eaten cold food as a result of waiting for their other half to get the perfect shot.
The issue becomes more pronounced if one of you is chronically online while the other is happy to keep their phone tucked away when you’re together.
‘It puts a stop to your sharing real intimacy if they aren’t ‘there’ in the present moment,’ Michelle says.
‘It can cause conflict if you disagree about how much their phone takes precedence when you are enjoying time together.’
Michelle understands how things can be compounded if their work centres around time spent on their phone, replying to messages or building a social media presence.
However, she stresses the importance of keeping your partner in the loop at busy time.
‘It’s important to talk to each other to understand why they need to focus on work matters at this particular moment, so the other person doesn’t end up feeling ignored,’ she adds.
If you feel your partner’s social media use has impacted things you do together, you’re certainly not alone.
One in 10 of those surveyed said they are routinely late for parties or dinners due to taking pictures of their other half, with a further 9% having missed a bus or train as a result.
It’s certainly an issue that needs to be addressed, but try not to take things too personally in the first instance. Particularly if their work revolves around social media, for example, using it can become a force of habit.
‘There’s nothing worse than having your partner constantly dipping their hand in their pocket to check their phone,’ says Michelle.
‘Sometimes this behaviour is almost a reflex, and they don’t realise they are unconsciously reaching yet again for their device.’
She suggests gently asking your partner for phone-free nights – pop your devices in a drawer and get back to some good old fashioned face-to-face communication.
This offers a middle ground where they won’t feel cut off from work or emergency calls for days on end, but you’ll both be giving each other undivided attention.
Michelle adds: ‘See if you can carve some quality time together by turning off your phones after a certain time or agreeing to delay replies to texts so your evenings aren’t constantly interrupted by the buzz of a new message.
‘Come up with some boundaries for your phone use that you both agree you are happy to stick to avoid repeating these sorts of frustrations in the future.’
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