“Well there was three of us in this marriage. So, it was a bit crowded.”

Who remembers those famous words spoken by Princess Diana? She was referring to the physical third person in her relationship.  Today that third person can often turn out to be our beloved-can’t-live-without-it phone. And even then, it’s not just the phone and one person. Oh no, that third person becomes the 1,000 friends on FB, the 500 on Instagram and not to mention LinkedIn, YouTube, What’sApp, Messenger and everything else that has taken over quality time with our significant (or in this case, not-so-significant) other.

And you know what I’m talking about because sitting here typing, I have a smile on my face as I acknowledge that I too had an affair with my phone and everything and everyone else on it and right in front of Roger too! It’s not to say he’s innocent. We’d both be at it at the same time.  Until I firmly put an end to our illicit affairs. Time together is time TOGETHER.

Frankly, I don’t want to be on a romantic date with my partner having an intimate connection with my phone (and everything and everyone else on it). I want to be present with the person sitting opposite me.  Yet, on our romantic meals out, I often look around me and see couples, both heads down, engaged with their phones and far from being engaged with each other.


Burnout To Brilliance


I discovered a new word while researching for my blog: Technoference.  According to a study from Bringham Young University technoference refers to ‘intrusions and interruptions’ likely to occur because of technological devices. 

This research examined technoference in intimate relationships amongst 143 women and found the majority reported that digital devices (including TV) disrupted their interaction with their partners during their time together. Concerningly,Overall, participants who rated more technoference in their relationships also reported more conflict over technology use, lower relationship satisfaction, more depressive symptoms, and lower life satisfaction.” (McDaniel et al 2018).

In fact, their research went on to say:

 “By allowing technology to interfere with or interrupt conversations, activities, and time with romantic partners—even when unintentional or for brief moments—individuals may be sending implicit messages about what they value most, leading to conflict and negative outcomes in personal life and relationships.”

So, what’s the message we’re sending out….

According to Dr. Winch in his article ‘How Cellphone Use can Disconnect your Relationship’ the issue is that when our talks, meal time, or intimate moment is interrupted because of a text message, email, or anything else that the phone delivers sends out the message “what I’m doing on my phone is more important than you right now,” or, “I’m more interested in my phone than in you,” and “you’re not worthy of my attention.”  And the worst thing for the other person is it feels like rejection.  Imagine feeling rejected over a phone.

….. and what can we do about it?

Well, fact is, it’s not going unnoticed. Matt Haig in his book ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ writes about it in the chapter entitled ‘A problem in your pocket.’  He mentions that the tech companies are also becoming concerned, “which means we should be even more worried about where those stupendously powerful companies are leading us.”   They’re starting to warn against things that they’ve created such as the ‘like’ button on FaceBook and acknowledging the effects of excessive use. How can we then start to reconnect? 

Well, first let’s make this Valentine’s Day about disconnection (with your phone) to real connection.  You can use this toolsheet A Heart Talk for Two to get the ball rolling.

Valentine’s Day Challenge

Let’s disconnect to reconnect this Valentine’s Day by choosing to spend quality time with our significant other. If you’ve booked that romantic meal for two, then make it a romantic meal for two and not for the two thousand.  I challenge you to leave your phone home. To disconnect with it, so you can re-connect with love.

Time to talk, time to remind yourselves why you’re together, time to be present, time to ignite your flame. To help you start the conversation, I’ve created a Toolsheet called ‘Heart Talk’ based on a communication technique I learnt through my personal training with Jack Canfield. I use this technique in my own relationship to reconnect and communicate especially if I feel we’ve not sat down and had a meaningful talk and during times of disagreement because it allows you to get ‘to the heart of the matter’.

When you engage in a heart talk you can expect the following results:

·     Enhanced listening skills

·     Constructive communication of feelings

·     Improved disagreement resolution skills

·     Better ability to let go of resentments and old issues

·     Growth of mutual respect and understanding

·     Greater sense of connection

Connection. The key to lasting relationships. The more we disconnect the more we will lose the ability to reconnect, the ability to be able to ‘misunderstand’ or ‘dismiss’ others viewpoints and “relying increasingly on non-empathy-building electronic communications would only seem to exacerbate these tendencies.  So, any tool that can increase our self-awareness and ability to listen and be in the moment is invaluable” (Huffington 2014).  And I hope this tool helps to do just that.

Time to disconnect so you can reconnect? Yes, I think so.



Dobeli, R. (2017). The Art of the Good Life. Clear Thing for Business and a Better Life. London: Sceptre.

Haig, M. (2018). Notes on a Nervous Planet. Edinburgh: Canongate Books

Huffington, A. (2015). Thrive. The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder. New York: Harmony Books

McDaniel, Brandon T.,Coyne, Sarah M. “Technoference”: The interference of technology in couple relationships and implications for women’s personal and relational well-being. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, Vol 5(1), Jan 2016, 85-98


  1. I Ioannou

    Excellent excellent excellent… the mad thing is prince made reference to these devices including laptops & pcs saying how it’s what the big forces want … interesting xxxx good blog keep it up xxxx love u xxx we can all relate

    • Dina

      Thanks for your comments. I guess as humans we always ‘know’ but either ignore the signs until, well, it’s too late. Social relationships are so important, which is why I wrote this blog less we forget that real connections is the basis of everything.


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