Life Advice



Smartphone Addiction Is Taking Its Toll

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: My husband is constantly on his phone, scrolling through social media, playing video games or chatting with friends. I feel like I'm always competing for his attention, and it's driving me nuts.

I have complained many times, and he promises to pay more attention to me, but his addiction to his smartphone takes priority every time.

This past weekend was the worst, which is why I am writing. He promised to take me to a hotel by the sea as a romantic getaway, and I was so looking forward to it. The hotel was a two-hour drive from our home, and he drove, and we were able to have the beginnings of a conversation. Of course, every time he received a text message, he would glance at his phone. One time, he wanted to reply, and I said, "No! It's too dangerous," so he waited until we had arrived.

I checked us into the hotel, and of course he spent the entire time with his phone. The room and view were beautiful, but I don't think he even noticed; he was so busy with his phone.

After a while, I get tired of complaining, and I have started to wonder what it would be like with someone else -- someone who wasn't so addicted to their phone. We want to have children, but I am afraid that he will be one of those fathers who ignores his kids because he is obsessed with his phone.

When we were at dinner in a very nice restaurant, he pulled out his phone and told me that I should talk and he was listening, even though his eyes were on the phone. He only put it down in between bites of food! I was furious and started crying. He acted like this was my problem, not his, and he played innocent.


He later apologized, but at the same time he pretended as if I was the one with the problem, and he doesn't know what I am talking about when I say that he is an addict. I get so mad I could scream! I do love him, and he says he loves me. He has promised to pay more attention to our relationship and not to look at his phone so much, but it's as if he has no control. He constantly feels compelled to check his phone.

The bottom line is that his ADDICTION to his smartphone is threatening to ruin our marriage. Do you have any suggestions? -- Ignored for a Phone

Dear Ignored: Smartphones are a valuable tool as a source of instant information, but they are designed to be addictive. The Addiction Center has a toll-free number (866-340-0608) that I suggest you call. Your husband is addicted to his phone, and it could cost him his marriage. The fact that he promises you he will pay more attention to you -- and then breaks his promise -- would sound very familiar to spouses of alcoholics or gambling addicts.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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