Do you feel like you’re competing with your partner’s mobile phone for attention?

Do you feel like you’re competing with your partner’s mobile phone for attention?

Do you sometimes feel like if your partner had to choose between you and their mobile phone, it may not be YOU?

More and more I am seeing in couples coming to relationship counselling where one partner is complaining about the amount of time his/her partner is on their phone, taking away from the quality time they can spend together.

In established relationships, particularly when you are trying to balance work pressures and raising a family, it is especially important to carve out quality time together just as a couple each night.

And, as if this is not difficult enough to achieve, with the demands of work, commuting, giving the kids attention, meal preparation, organizing the children for and in bed, just when you have finally finished with all these demands on your time and it’s time to relax together, you can find your partner would prefer to be on facebook or is distracted constantly by their phone.

Research on Relationship quality and Mobile phone use

Interesting research from the University of Essex study has shown how much just having a mobile phone sitting next to you, even without using it, can negatively impact your relationship closeness.

In their study, they found that when couples were discussing anything of meaning to them, just having a mobile phone near them (and without using it) both partners reported feeling less trust in each other, and felt their partners showed less empathy than when there was no phone present at all.

The Mobile Mindset Study has also found that:

  • We are constantly connecting. Nearly 60% of people said they don’t go an hour without checking their phone. Those between 18 and 34 were the most addicted with 63% of women and 73% of men saying they can’t go an hour without checking their phones.
  • Our connection never sleeps. 54% said they check their phones while lying in bed: before they go to sleep, after they wake up, even in the middle of the night.
  • We need access everywhere. Nearly 40% admit to checking their phone even while on the toilet.


Mobile phones are a huge part of our lives and are here to stay, but overuse of them can really hurt your relationship.

So when you make the time to spend quality time together each night, you might want to consider making a phone-free zone, for a least half an hour a night.

You might be surprised what a qualitative difference it will make to your relationship.

More on the Core values in a healthy relationship in next week’s blog.

Warmest regards


If you are in Sydney and are experiencing this kind of problem, please check out our Sydney Relationship Team of Psychologists.

Communicate well by telling the whole story

When you are feeling particularly upset or you feel a strong emotional charge toward something, either in your current life, or something that has been triggered from the past, there are usually a number of emotional levels to what you are feeling.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t know these exist, and move straight away into defensive behaviours like criticisms, blaming, arrogance, being dismissive, withdrawing, withholding, being stubborn or being precious, all of which cause relationship troubles.

So, it is of the utmost importance to be aware of, and communicate to your partner what is the whole truth of what you are feeling.

How do you communicate the whole truth?relationship counselling for communication

To start with, it is often helpful to spend some time on your own writing your feelings down first, and then you can read what you have written to your partner.

As you get better at it, you may just be able to share with your partner, without having to write first.

counselling for communication in a relationship

These are the 6 levels to check in on:

Level 1.      Anger and blame (I’m angry, annoyed that…)

Level 2.     Hurt and sadness (I feel hurt that….)

Level 3.     Fear and insecurity (I’m afraid that……)

Level 4.     Responsibility (I realize I have contributed to this by………I’m sorry that I…….)

Level 5.    Appreciation. (I appreciate that you have……)

Level 6.   Ask for what you would like  ( I would love it if…. ) (understanding that this is an ask, not a demand)

In summary

Telling the whole story is quite a simple process, but can take some practice.

One person starts by taking the time to write and then reads to his/her partner, or alternately,  tells how they are feeling, starting with level 1 and working their way down to level 5.

Their partner listens and gives a summary back at each level.

Then the partner tells how they feel, using any or all of the levels of feelings as well.

counselling for communication problems


This is a very powerful process that can open up a whole new way of understanding ourselves and being intimate with our partner, and provides for the very best of respectful resolutions.

If you need help to initiate this communication process with your partner, we can assist you. We have 70 Psychologists, in Sydney and all other capital and large regional cities,  Australia wide who specialise in relationship counselling and are trained to help you get your relationship back into happy territory again.

Both Relationship and Individual Counselling is available, either In-house, by Phone or Skype Sessions – 50 mins

Cost: $155  ($175 for after hours sessions.

Phone 1300 830 552 to enquire or make an appointment.
Private Health Insurance Rebates apply and Medicare Rebates may apply (please check for details)