Scrolling on your phone in bed at night does ‘damage’ to your relationship, experts say

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Your nightly routine of social media scrolling could be deadly – to your love life, at least.

Known as “parallel scrolling”, the habit of silently swiping on your phone while laying next to your partner could be a death sentence for your relationship, experts say, as reported by The New York Post.

“You’re basically decreasing the chances of intimacy and affection, or just generally engaging with your partner,” New York-based couples and family therapist, Tracy Ross, told HuffPost.

“Connection is critical for a strong relationship – and it needs to happen regularly, without fail, for a couple to thrive.”

Laying in bed can be a time to connect with each other – something Ms Ross says many couples lack. Her clients often complain that the other person is “constantly on their phone” or seems “distracted”, making it difficult to hold their attention and, in turn, can create “more separateness”.

“While the need to unwind at the end of the day is completely understandable, it’s hard to deny the damage it can do to a relationship,” she said.

However, psychotherapist Aimee Hartstein, who is also based in New York, told the outlet it may be unrealistic to expect couples to completely unplug for their entire evening.

“Like it or not, our phones are here to stay, and it’s an unusual couple who will put them away for the entire night,” she said.

“It’s a way people get their news, talk to friends and are entertained. If a couple is happy in the relationship, it’s probably not the problem.”

Ms Ross recommended inquiring about phone use, perhaps by asking the other person if they want to “find something to do together” to get away from the screen.

“Ask yourself if you are using the phone to avoid your partner – and if so, what could that be about?” she said, noting that screens are sometimes used as an avoidance tactic.

“Habits tend to stick, and unless we actively try to change them, they persevere.”

If you suspect your cell phone could be encroaching on quality time, however, experts recommend setting screen limits, such as no phones at dinner, or taking one day out of the week to wind down without screens.

If all else fails, try “parallel play”, the act of engaging in whatever the other person is looking at on their screen, whether it’s a video game livestream or a TikTok feed.

“People often do better scrolling in bed at night when they are sharing what they are doing,” Ms Hartstein explained.

“If you read each other bits from the news or show each other funny pet memes, then you’re still scrolling but also connecting to one another. That’s the goal.”

This article originally appeared on The New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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