herald

Friday 2 December 2016

Social media addiction breaking up marriages warns leading charity

Counsellors say smart devices are ruining relationships
Counsellors say smart devices are ruining relationships

Addiction to texting and social media is leading to more and more marriage break-ups, relationship counsellors have warned.

Therapists have said they are increasingly advising couples stuck in rocky relationships to switch off their smartphones when they return home from work in a bid to save their relationships.

Counsellors at the Relationships Ireland charity said almost every couple who has sought help since the start of the year has cited a partner's constant use of mobiles or tablets as a major issue.

Communicating

They said the problem has become so prevalent that in some cases couples have resorted to communicating via text rather than talking to each other in the family home.

Tony Moore, a therapist with the organisation, said: "People seem to be on their phones the whole time now and that's something that seems to have increased since the start of the year.

"If someone is at home and on their phone the whole time, whether it be texting or Facebook, it means there is a problem in the relationship and that they are losing touch with their partner.

"It's now very common for couples to be sitting together in the same room and spending their whole time on their phones or tablets.

"People often don't realise they're addicted, but they are.

"It's even got to the stage in some cases where a couple communicate to each other by texting at home, because they've lost the ability to have a proper conversation.

"I've found that to a certain degree this problem is affecting nearly every couple we see.

Intimate

"It leads to huge problems and creates a distance if one partner is spending all their time posting Facebook updates rather than being intimate and it makes the other person in the relationship feel angry and rejected.

"If couples are serious about saving their relationship, I'd advise them to make a strict rule to turn off their phones completely when they get back home."

Meanwhile, Relationships Ireland has warned that Euro 2016 could be the final straw for hundreds of rocky relationships across Ireland, as tensions among couples reach an all-time high.

Therapists are anticipating a sharp surge in demand for their services, as exasperated partners become fed up in the days following the end of the tournament, which kicks off in France next month.

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