Can’t put the smart phone down? Here are 5 steps to get over your addiction.

Irritability, lack of concentration, moodiness. Darting eyes and a sore scrolling thumb. Sound familiar?

Your partner is a phone addict and here is our five step program to get them off the Apple juice.

Restore sanity; Institute a ‘no-phone zone’.

It’s time to set some boundaries. Maybe it’s by physical location; no phone in the bedroom. Or by time-frame; no phones after 8pm.

It could also be with actions; when they check their phone mid-conversation, your chat ends until they’re ready to invest 100% into what’s happening in front of them.

This will prevent the following:

“Wait, wait, wait… I’m just checking my phone while having a half-arsed conversation with you ’cause I am Gen Y and can totally do two things at once.”

Not cool. Don’t buy it.

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Make a moral inventory; Keep your business private.

Using social media as a venting platform after an argument is both self-serving and unhelpful.

Passive-aggressive, not-so-subtly-directed-at-you status updates don’t solve anything. Instead, they trivialise what is (more often than not) a very valid and important argument discussion between partners. They make you feel terrible. And your partner ends up looking like a fool when their on-line community sees they’re still dating the passive-aggressive-status-update-inducing girlfriend.

It’s also, quite simply, rude. Your business has nothing to do with anyone else’s social feed.

Take a personal inventory; Thumbs aren’t the only way of communicating.

What happened to the phone call? Sure, chatting through text message, Messenger, G-Chat and Whatsapp can be great for keeping in touch throughout the day, but sometimes you’d like to hear your partner’s laugh, rather than imagine it through a “LOL” or “aha”.  Phones have a sneaky way of removing the intimacy from any relationship, while at the same time promising to enhance the connection.

Similarly, in the name of ‘saving time’, messaging is wasting it. It takes five text messages to relay the stress/ excitement/frustration of a bad day at work. It takes a 30-second phone call to do the same thing.

Take stock of the way you both use your phone to communicate. Not everything needs to be converted to text.

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Admit powerlessness; but remember, your phone is not needed.

Banking apps, satellite maps, internet, social media, personal connections… we use our phone for a lot of things.

But when you’re having a chat, and considering the answer to a question, your partner doesn’t need to Google the answer, or show you on YouTube. They could simply debate with you the number of US presidents, or the extent of damage to the Great Barrier Reef.

And, even if you’re both wrong, who cares? You haven’t lost something; you’ve gained time, without a screen, and you’ve listened to each other. 

Make amends; Take time out.

One weekend a month, or even bi-monthly, make a conscious effort to give up your devices and connect (not through wi-fi, with each other).

Go away for the weekend, off the grid. Leave your phones in the car, locked up, and don’t compensate with laptops of tablets. Make this weekend about you and your partner. No internet. No tweeting. No ‘liking’. No messaging.

If this sounds scary or impossible, then it’s clearly time for the five-step plan.

Watch next: Jessie’s phone-free experiment…

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