“Women Love Smartphones More Than They Love Their Man” and similar headlines are scattered across the internet as I type this article. No doubt, they’re effective at grabbing readers’ attention.
A new study published Sunday showed a significant disparity between how much leisure time women spend on their Smartphone compared to time with their romantic partners. This relationship study’s findings tap into our innate curiosity about gender differences and our desire to learn secrets for successful romantic relationships in spite of modern distractions.
Previous studies on this topic showed that men use their Smartphone more hours per week, and that men are slightly more likely to sleep with their Smartphone in bed than women. However, this newest one focused not only on tech usage comparisons between the sexes, but tech usage versus connection with each other. The conclusion was that women, on average, “…spend twelve hours more a week interacting with their Smartphone than with their partner.”
Most articles related to this study slammed home the same message. Women who choose to spend more free time with a Smartphone than a partner must either be avoiding or neglecting him. Hmm. I assume the intent is to warn women their Smartphone leisure use has the potential to endanger a long-term romantic relationship.
Online men’s magazine articles add fuel to the fire, too, proposing that men affected by this kind of “harmful” behavior better act fast, or risk losing their relationship altogether.
Are Study Findings The Tip of the Iceberg?
Curious about the strongly implied warnings regarding the concern women love Smartphones to the detriment of their romance, and the validity of the same over-simplified causal relation presented in article after article on the topic, I knew I had to dig deeper. As expected, I discovered plenty of studies to support my belief there are a variety of factors equally likely at play. For example, studies have shown that men, on average:
- work outside of the home far more hours than women, and
- spend an hour more per day on leisure activities that often exclude their partner’s participation (TV watching, activities with friends, sports-related events)
So, if a man isn’t at home or available to engage in leisure activities with his partner, couldn’t that account for a woman’s amount of Smartphone use during her free time? Maybe I’m naïve, but I choose to think more optimistically about the majority of couple’s affection for each other. We don’t have to keep a tally of how many minutes we spend together versus being apart. Many of us women (and men, for that matter) might love how our Smartphones enrich our lives, but we’re not in love with them.
The REAL Reasons We Women Love Smartphones
This informal list is based on my experience and observations of my girlfriends who also happen to love their Smartphones. It’s not comprehensive, by any means. Nor are the items in order of importance. I’m simply sharing my thoughts because I want to know whether you agree, disagree, or have other reasons you feel should be included on the list.
- Better than running errands after a long workday or crammed into activity-filled weekends
- Easier, quicker comparison shopping to stretch our hard-earned family dollars further
- Conserves gasoline, our car’s life-span, and precious time
- Avoids stressful driving in crazy traffic, being exposed to that nasty stomach bug going around town, waiting in long lines, and the hassle of fighting for a parking spot on big sale days
- More selection (My Pinterest Board – Love My Heels – can serve as Exhibit A) and cool online-only opportunities (Can you say, LulaRue?)
- Can be accomplished while squished between other patients in the doctor’s waiting room, while beautifying at the nail/hair salon, and between numerous trips chauffeuring our kids to-from school, sports, church, and other important functions
Social Media Friendships
- To catch up on news of our friends and family who live far away, or connect outside of work with coworkers in a relaxed, fun setting
- To develop and nurture friendships with like-minded people we’ve met and connected with online (Yes, these can become REAL friendships!)
- To reach out to others in times of grief or loss or stress for comfort and support, and to provide the same in return
- To B.S. with the girls via texts (Yeah, we do it, too.)
- Current events
- Books, movies, art, travel, cooking, or any hobby or topic we’re interested in
- Helpful tips for our daily life–housecleaning, laundry, pets, sewing, health, exercise, travel, etc.
- Planning for the future
But in the end, does it really matter if we women love Smartphones or not, or how we choose to spend our leisure time, as long as we’re not harming anyone or breaking any laws?
And they all lived happily ever after…
Years before I became a novelist or felt the need for a Smartphone in my life, I recall my shock upon overhearing two coworkers discussing their attachment to the device, and how one of them actually took it to bed with her.
Fast forward to a few months ago. I woke up one morning to discover my Smartphone lying on the bed between my Honey and me. I paused to reflect on that for a moment. But I didn’t feel any less attached to my Honey because the phone happened to be there. When he glanced meaningfully at the Smartphone, I smiled as I reached for it. Setting it on the nightstand to keep it nice and safe, I then rolled back over and snuggled closer to my husband.
It’s your turn. Do you love your Smartphone? If so, please take a moment and share why!