How to Make Sure Your Phone Doesn’t Ruin Your Relationship

When and where should we use our devices at home, and when is it time to power down?

Today, there are often three key players in a relationship: two partners and a smartphone. It buzzes during dinner and lights up in the middle of the night—and it can even be a distraction during intimate conversations. Smartphones can be especially detrimental when one person is extremely connected to the online world, and the other prefers to live life a little more unplugged.



In this week’s episode of “The Labor of Love,” RealSimple.com editor Lori Leibovich brings in Ashley and Kelly, a couple in their 20s who just moved in together. She relies on the Internet for her job, and has built an impressive following on her social networks, while he stays off social media and just wants Ashley to be more present—especially at the dinner table.

To offer advice, Leibovich calls on Lori Gottleib, an LA-based psychotherapist and author of Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough ($13, amazon.com) and etiquette expert Lizzie Post from the Post Institute. Both offer Ashley advice about when to disconnect from her Internet friends, and enjoy real-life moments with Kelly. Listen to the full episode below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Real Simple podcasts on iTunes.