Slowly but surely constant laughter and attentive dates are a thing of the past, as day to day tasks like cooking meals and doing laundry replace any real conversation.
About a month ago, that was my relationship.
I hadn’t noticed that our relationship was in a downward spiral until I tried to get my boyfriend’s attention away from his phone, and took myself completely by surprise when I began to cry.
In that moment, I realised that I was craving the bonding and connection that used to come so naturally in the early days of the relationship, before monotonous tasks replaced the process of actually speaking to each other.
There is nothing worse than feeling alone in a relationship.
Naturally, we sat down to have a tearful conversation about the fact that we had both become so consumed with work and distractions that we were forgetting to talk to each other.
Each of us had been hiding emotions from each other, in one way or another, a natural side-effect of neglecting the “How was your day?” conversation so regularly.
Breaking up was not an option, we agreed upon that, but we were also acutely aware of our ability to let our relationship fall to the bottom of the priority list.
If our relationship was a plant, we were forgetting to water it.
As two practical people, we decided we needed some rules to keep us on track, and one month later, there is one rule that has completely turned our relationship around.
NO PHONES IN BED.
Now, this seems like a simple rule.
It’s a rule that most parents enforce for their children, and that psychologists insist improves sleep, yet it’s likely you are reading this article from the comfort of your sheets right now.
The reasons for the success of the rule might seem obvious, but it’s easy to climb into bed at night, phone in hand, scroll through Instagram for an hour, then roll over and go to sleep.
I’ve noticed that when we both leave our phones on the top of the book case, out of arms reach, we are forced to, god forbid, talk to each other. Talking to each other leads to emotional bonding, or tickling, or laughing, and this of course leads to sex, and better sleep.
Talking, sex and sleep are three things necessary to keep the aforementioned relationship plant watered.
But after the implementation of this rule, we started to implement it in other ways too. Phone-free dates and phone-free viewings of The Bachelor created an atmosphere where talking to each other was the default, a non-negotiable.
We slowly but surely began making each other laugh again, and started having important emotional conversations on a daily basis.
I dare say our plant is now thriving.