The *New* Number One Reason for Divorce

It’s smartphones.

Blackberries. iPhones. Androids. Whatever you call them. It’s those little devices that notify you about every single electronic communique related to yourself and your former Psych 101 classmate that you haven’t talked to in 5 years. The constant connection to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging, YouTube, ONLINE NHL HOCKEY POOLS is going to tear more millennial marriages apart than money disputes ever will. Mark my words.

Ol’ gramps and gran didn’t have to deal with this kind of beast. Back then, they only had to compete for their mate’s attention for a few hours on a Saturday night when Hockey Night in Canada was on the little fuzzy black and white TV. Now, not only do we spend hours a day in front of pristine HD television, but we text, surf the web and multi-task a whole other online life. All while sitting next to each other on the couch.

Personally, I try to be REALLY good about the amount of time I spend on my phone. Howie can attest (sometimes to his dismay, like when he’s trying to contact me) that I very infrequently check my phone while I’m interacting with other human beings. Maybe I’m old fashioned or maybe it’s the Speech Communication degree in me, but to me, there are few things less irritating than speaking to someone while they are carrying on an entirely different web-based interaction on their phones. I USED to be able to say the same thing about Howie, that is, until he joined an NHL online hockey pool.

Oh the online hockey pool. How you have stolen my husband away from me! It has become an unstoppable tick-like reaction. Every evening, almost every five minutes, he’s refreshing his blackberry to see the updated scores. Why he can’t just check once at the end of the night when all the games are over beats me. I made a little promise to myself that I would never use this blog as an outlet to vent about my husband. Looks like I’ll just have to make this one teensy exception.

Me: Howie, I just don’t understand why you can’t check once or twice at the end of the night.

Howie: Cheryl, it’s not a big deal. What does it matter if I’m sitting here checking scores while we are watching a show together. I (unlike you) can multi-task.

(It’s true I can’t multitask)

Me: Because when you check the scores it’s like you’re half here watching with me. You miss some of the jokes and you know how I like to laugh at TV jokes WITH people. It makes them more funny.

Howie: Cheryl if the worst thing your husband does is check hockey scores a little bit throughout the night then you have it pretty good. Some guys do way worse things. It’s not like I’m a drunk or cheat on you or something.

Me: Ah-HEM! That is such a lame argument. Just because there are worse things you could do doesn’t mean I should be thankful you do other things I don’t like.

Howie: Yes it does.

Me: Ok then by your logic that means you should be thankful I leave my toe nail clippings everywhere because at least I’m not a drug addict who runs a brothel.

Howie: Cheryl your toe nail clippings are gross. You shouldn’t leave them around. I don’t understand why you can’t just put them in a garbage can.

Me: A HAH! Exactly! I SHOULD put them in the garbage. Just like you SHOULD stop checking the scores all the time.

Monica: Cheryl, Howie is the best husband. You should stop being mad at him.*

Me: Don’t bring Monica into this Howie.

Thankfully, Howie has managed to cut back slightly on the amount of times he’s refreshing his scores. But I seriously think (and hope) we are not the only couple who faces the challenges of quality human time amidst an extremely instant-technology world. There are actual documentaries on MTV about couples trying to get over technology addictions because of the strain it places on the relationship.

When we were long-distance, instant messaging was a god-send. And because we didn’t actually have much face-to-face time it didn’t matter how often we were on our phones. But things are different now and I think establishing some ground rules would be a good idea. I’ve heard whisperings of couples who actually turn their phones off in the evening BEFORE bed time. How intriguing.

* Note to reader: Howie speaks for our dog, Monica. For full story on this phenomena click here.

Does modern technology negatively impact YOUR relationship in any way?


46 thoughts on “The *New* Number One Reason for Divorce

  1. Haha! I agree with Howie about the toenail clippings – I have felt the same way for many years! And Monica should not get involved – two against one is not fair.

  2. ooh life before the blackberry was glorious….But what is worse than hockey pools i think may be the criminal lawyer’s listserv that simon follows….every teensy tiny thing gets emailed out to EVERYONE ….and they are always pressing “Reply All” (you’d think with their higher education they could figure out how to reply to ONE person)…his phone goes off more times in 30 minutes than a sponge-bob-square-pants scene change…


    I definitely agree. Modern couples have learned to be on the look-out for the potential relationship goons called “finance” and “wandering eyes” BUT more of us are getting side-swiped by “fantasy ____ [insert sport here: hockey, football…polo?]” and smartphones… or what I refer to as a “dinglebox” as in “STOP DINGLE-ING and PAY ATTENTION TO ME”



  4. totally with you on this one. it’s ridiculous… right now there is a computer, an ipod touch, and a droid sitting on the coffee table. at any point in time one of us is using one of those devices. I think it’s time to make a house rule that electronic devices with internet connections are no longer allowed after 8pm… sigh….

  5. Ok first of all, I LOVE your blog… Second, this is one of my favorites because this is my life, my fiance and I argued about this last night and I definitely got the “At least I don’t…”
    Keep it up, I love reading πŸ™‚

  6. Recently, my husband made a comment that my COMPUTER is my husband. Now, while he is engulfed in something be it in or away from home, I utilize that time to spend time with my tech mate (computer)…like now. Compromise is always good!

    • Compromise eh? I may have to give that one a try! lol

      Perhaps my tech mate time can be his Call of Duty 3 time πŸ™‚ Win-win!

      (WOW. I just put “eh” in a blog post. I know I’m Canadian but do I have to be so stereotypical?)

  7. I know exactly what you’re saying! My fiance is hopeless on Sunday’s. He’s watching about 3 different football games (at once) and on his phone or laptop checking stats. I take naps. Best compromise ever.

    xo L.
    P.S. I hope you don’t mind I used a portion of one of your posts. It was perfect and I love how you write. Thanks!

  8. It’s like you are on the couch with Geoff and I! He always gets upset when I miss the How I Met Your Mother jokes from the endless re-runs we end up watching while I’m scheduling my tweets, reading blogs, managing facebook pages and pouring over my personal internet research time…

    You have just inspired me to turn off my laptop. πŸ™‚

    Luckily, Edwin doesn’t get involved in our arguments. He is too busy sleeping.

  9. This post is sooo true!! Except my husband is on MY iPhone playing games when we’re supposed to be watching tv (wait, that’s still electronics, too….but at least we’re using the electronic together?) Lol!!

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  11. Oh the Blackberry. The smartphone. Yes, yes, yes. I hear you. And feel your pain. And shake my head in agreement. Happy SITS day!

  12. Oh you are so right about the smartphones….we have been to restaurants (nice ones too) and have seen couples sitting across from one another, and they are on the phone (not to each other). Good luck training your hubby πŸ™‚ Happy SITS Day!

  13. You know what? That gets on my nerves, too. Except that my husband checks his text messages all the time because he’s a salesperson, and he uses the excuse that he’s just trying to keep the bills paid while I’m like whoever it is can wait fifteen minutes.

  14. My husband and I could be sitting right next to each other at a coffee shop and BOTH of us are messing with our phones. Fortunately, it never causes any issues as we are both okay with each other’s *ahem* addicition. We have great conversations and an overall great marriage so we’re not worried about something like phones being the death of our relationship.

    Also, I’m horrible about not checking my phone but I have managed to train myself to be more aware of how often I am checking when in the company of others. I don’t like people being rude to me so I make the effort to not do it to them.

  15. Came over from SITS. Enjoy your day to shine!

    I think the problems center around men in general. πŸ˜‰ Wouldn\’t that be the easiest solution ever?!My husband swears that I am on my phone 24/7. While that might be half true, he isn\’t far off when he checks Yahoo every five minutes updating me on the latest celeb breakup or sports win/loss. Oh the irony! My husband also does that with his toe-nail clippings. While it\’s super disgusting, there is always something I\’m doing that\’s \”more disgusting\” and should be focused on instead (according to him).

    Love this post. Definitely an eye-opener.

  16. {Melinda} Love this! Totally true. I’m working on this because I think it sets a bad example for our kids (I know you’re not there yet, but someday ..). And, believe me, I have a teenager and the challenges all this technology brings for parents is unbelievable. It comes at us from all sides. Your limits now as a couple will help make your marriage stronger for when little ones come on the scene.

    Happy SITS Day!

  17. I never shut my phone off, but I mute it always at bedtime. My boyfriend never does. The next time he gets a text or something that wakes me up too early, I’m kicking him out of bed. I agree that Smartphones can be so great, but so evil at the same time.

  18. LOL! I love that your husband speaks for your dog πŸ™‚
    You’re right – we’ve all been there. You could be at lunch with your spouse, and instead of having a really good conversation (sans children), he/she is constantly picking up and putting down their iPhone every time it chirps. It’s so rude and ANNOYING! I’ve heard…lol

  19. Haha – I tell my husband that his phone is his girlfriend! We joke about it, but it really can get annoying when they’re on it ALL the time! Oh, and I’m glad my husband and I aren’t the only ones who make our dog talk… πŸ™‚

  20. I totally am the guilty party!! I have a little Twitter/FB/blog addiction. I fully admit it and you are so right – it will be the downfall of relationships. I’m starting to pull back more and try to unplug because you are so right – good old fashioned communications really is the best.

  21. My husband and I are both total technology geeks – but I’m the major culprit, what with the blogging! πŸ™‚

  22. I LOVE your blog! Right about the smacking middle of this technology wave that everyone is riding including our children. The distraction is staggering! Technology chips away a little at a time, correct spelling, decent conversation manners and full concentration. We have become a technically distracted generation. At home, church and work. In our cars and on our streets. A CRASH is inevitable!

  23. We’re just as guilty as everyone else. The TV is on, he is on his laptop, I’m on my laptop, the 3rd one is in between us on the couch, and our phones are in our hands. We do set a time limit though. And then it all goes off so we can spend time together. But we are a funny sight to see.

  24. I was just laughing with my husband the other morning when we were both reading our “morning paper”, we sat together with our laptops on our our laps reading the morning news.

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