All Woman

He's cheating ...with his cellphone

BY DONNA HUSSEY-WHYTE All Woman writer

Monday, February 03, 2014    

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WHILE there may not be any indication that your partner is cheating with someone else, the amount of time he spends on his cellphone can be just as harmful to the relationship as another woman.

And since some psychologists have described cheating as 'time and attention given to someone else', then the time he spends with his head bent over his cellphone — texting, messaging someone else, browsing websites — to the point where it causes you to feel left out and unattached, could be seen as cheating. This is especially true if he pays more attention to the phone than he does to the relationship.

Counselling psychologist Marlene Pottinger Gyles agrees that too much time on the phone which robs the other party of time and attention is considered cheating.

"Yes, if you are always on your cellphone, what happens is that your partner is going to develop feelings of neglect," Pottinger Gyles said. "He or she will feel unloved and uncared for. He/she might develop feelings of resentment, in this case it's for you being on the phone. So whatever you are doing on the phone, if it's work, they might develop resentment towards work, and if it's relatives, they might develop resentment towards that person or those persons who you are always on the phone with," she said.

Pottinger Gyles said the partner may even become suspicious of what is really being done on the phone and the issue of trust will arise.

Pottinger Gyles said what is happening is that the cell-obsessed partner is really depriving their spouse of affection, attention and love. The amount of time spent on the phone can also result in a breakdown of communication.

"Because if you are always on your phone what time do you have to communicate?" the psychologist asked. "You will find persons on their phones and their partner is trying to start a conversation and they are not even hearing anything that is being said," she added. "And so what one wants to communicate does not get communicated and the breakdown starts there."

Pottinger Gyles said those who spend a lot of time on their cellphones for whatever reason, should set some boundaries if they wish to keep their relationships going and their partners happy.

One way of doing this is deciding on what could be termed as 'us time'. This means spending time together while the decision is taken not to be on the phone during that period.

"So you plan frequent dates with each other and decide that there will be no phone calls at this time or no texting or whatever," Pottinger Gyles said.

She said it is also important to leave work at work.

"There are persons who take home work so they are always answering emails, or taking calls from superiors, but you have to set boundaries with who calls and when they call so you will enjoy more fun time with each other," she advised.

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