Steel Advice: He wishes wife would hang up on smartphone addiction
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DEAR MARY ANN: My wife seems to be married to her smartphone. She has it with her 24/7. Often in the middle of the night I'll wake up to find her staring at her phone reading news or playing games. She usually has her phone in her hand doing something while we watch TV or DVD movies together. She feels obligated to regularly update me on sports scores and breaking news, whether we're out somewhere or sitting otherwise quietly at home. Although she does check her work email with her phone, the vast majority of the time she uses the phone for entertainment purposes. If I wanted to be constantly glued to the Internet I'd have my own smartphone, but because I don't want that to be the case, I don't have one. I've dropped a few hints such as "You and your phone," but I have not told her that her constant phone use annoys me. Am I being an old fogy who needs to get with the times? What should I do?
-- SMARTPHONE WIDOWER
DEAR SMARTPHONE WIDOWER: Your wife's attachment to her smartphone sounds annoying. The smartphone is a grand toy that gives your wife instant gratification as it connects her to the outside world. Multitasking or not, she is being rude. She is sending you the message that what she is doing is more important for her than focusing on your companionship.
Using the smartphone to catch up on email and news as you prepare dinner or unwind after a long day is an acceptable parallel activity. Her distraction with the smartphone at other times sends a negative message. Your wife may not realize how disruptive this constant use of her smartphone has become in your relationship.
You have several options. You can dig a hole in the yard and hide the phone there, or you can candidly speak to your wife about how you feel not having her full attention when you are together.
DEAR MARY ANN: I am a 50-year-old single female. I had a boyfriend for eight years. He passed away eight years ago. It took me a long time to recover and move on.
Little did I know how difficult it would be to start dating again. I have tried dating websites and fix-ups. Neither have worked. Mind you, I am 50 and no beauty queen, but I don't consider myself a dog either.
There's a guy at work who at first expressed interest. We started hanging out, but nothing ever happened. He claims he never looked at me as more than a friend. I still like him, but I've accepted the fact that he won't date me. I must admit that I've never had guys as friends, just acquaintances, and I don't like it. It's too hard.
Should I just accept the fact that I'm going to be alone the rest of my life?
-- ALONE AND LONELY
DEAR ALONE AND LONELY: You sound very sincere. Don't daydream about Prince Charming. He isn't going to appear by rubbing a magic bottle. You are going to have to do a little work to find him. You do not have to be alone for the rest of your life.
There are zillions of people in the world. Your half of the broken heart can fit with many other halves. This isn't the movies. There is not just one special person for you; bells may not ring when you first see him. Permit yourself to be receptive.
Today 50 is young. Don't curl up in a shell or let your loneliness get you down. You don't have to wear a sign, but do tell people you are looking for a partner. Give the Internet another try. Adjust your criteria: At 50 your search bracket can include men closer to 60. Look for shared interests. You don't have to settle, but do give a nice man a chance.
When you find your new boyfriend you both will hold winning lottery tickets, and it won't be a daydream.
First Published June 26, 2012 12:00 am