This is how cellphones can ruin your relationship

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Picture of a young man ignoring his wife while using a smartphone in the bedroom at home.
Picture of a young man ignoring his wife while using a smartphone in the bedroom at home.
PeopleImages / getty images

With so many celebrity couples splitting up these days, it’s refreshing to see Phumeza and Mnqobi “Shota” Mdabe still going strong. And if the TV personality’s social media feed is anything to go by, the secret to their love is there are no secrets between them – not even their cellphone passwords.

Phumeza recently caused a stir when she said she and her husband of nine years know each other’s cellphone passwords. “How is the relationship between your phone and your partner?” she wrote on Instagram. “So, we know each other’s passwords and leave our phones with each other when we can’t attend to them. We also don’t go through each other’s phones. There’s no need.”

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Her post sparked a heated conversation, with many social media users wondering if phones should be kept private in a relationship. Is it okay to have your partner’s password? Should you give them yours? Or should you be able to trust your partner enough that you don’t feel you need it, people wondered.

Let’s talk about trust

When it comes to your partner and your password, there are no hard and fast rules, says Paula Quinsee, a relationship and life coach. While it’s common for couples to share passwords as a sign of trust, not parting with your password doesn’t mean you don’t trust your partner.

“Some couples prefer to have access to each other’s devices and platforms and sharing everything. This can reinforce the trust factor and provide a sense of openness and transparency with one another,” Paula says.

“Other couples prefer to respect each other’s privacy and space and don’t have a need to know everything. This does not mean they don’t care about their partner or trust them.”

There’s a difference between privacy and secrecy, she adds. “Secrecy can cause a lot of hurt and pain, which can ultimately end up destroying relationships. The lack of trust can breed other problems such as insecurity, dishonesty and in some instances, cheating.”

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How cellphones can ruin your relationship

While the use of technology can cause a disconnect in your love life, Paula says “this is often a symptom of underlying issues existing in the relationship”. “If one partner is constantly on their phone and not giving the same amount of focus or attention to their partner and relationship, it can cause problems. This can be a sign of other things happening in the relationship, such as lack of connection and growing apart or distant from each other. It could also spell trouble in that there may be a third party involved.”

Being glued to the phone isn’t always a sign of unfaithfulness, however. “If your partner is behaving in a secretive way, spending more time than usual on their phone, or their behavior has changed recently – these could be signs something is up,” she says.

“It’s important to have a conversation about it before it spirals out of control.”

Setting boundaries

To avoid any troubles and misunderstanding, couples should discuss boundaries when it comes to each other’s phones and privacy. “Establish ground rules so you know where you stand with each other at all times,” Paula advises.

“Look to make device-free times or spaces in the home and give attention to each other and your relationship. For example, you can have a rule that no phones are allowed at the dinner table.

“If you are doing something behind your partner’s back that you wouldn’t like them to do to you then don’t do it – period.”







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