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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I broke up with a long term girlfriend 1.5 years ago. The main issue was she has what is essentially a phone addiction (which in turn is really an anxiety issue). After a LONG time telling her I couldn't play constant second fiddle to her phone (e.g. answering non-urgent texts during sex, etc), I ended it.
There is some talk of reconciling. I think she has partly, but not completely, dealt with her issue.
The problem I have, how do we work on establishing a healthy relationship, while she knows I'm going to be watching every time she touches her phone? It feels like a very judgemental/destructive dynamic, her walking on egg shells.

Any suggestions?
 

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You cannot establish a healthy relationship until the two of you are healthy. If she still has this "addiction"/behavior then the destructive issue is still there. You're setting yourself up for round two.

Regardless, if you are going to give it a shot then you two need to talk and come up with some rules. For example, NO phones in the bedroom. Period. It's actually a really good idea for everyone to leave their phones in the kitchen, living room, etc. It helps with sleep and it makes your time in bed more meaningful. It's spent together, rather than staring at screens. So that's a good rule for everyone, but especially in your case. Another could be no phones during dinner or your couple time.

I think as she PROVES to you that she is working on this issue you will loosen up.

If she has so much anxiety that she is glued to her phone like that (is she expecting someone to die, what is it?) then she needs to be working with a therapist and working on herself every single day. There is plenty of information online and apps that are useful for anxiety and panic attacks. She may also need medication. Some anti-depressants work really well for anxiety.
 

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Some fair points Bobert. One of the challenges is for a few valid reasons she does need to have access to her phone (sick parents, and some work demands). Those two make up maybe 20% of the usage. Small but still significant, which I guess makes it harder for her. She can't go cold turkey.
 

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Some fair points Bobert. One of the challenges is for a few valid reasons she does need to have access to her phone (sick parents, and some work demands). Those two make up maybe 20% of the usage. Small but still significant, which I guess makes it harder for her. She can't go cold turkey.
So for her parents (or nursing home if applicable) and work, can she set a different ringtone? That way she knows which calls/alerts are important and which are not. Alternatively, she can put her phone on "do not disturb" at night, dates, etc. and make a few numbers exceptions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
So for her parents (or nursing home if applicable) and work, can she set a different ringtone? That way she knows which calls/alerts are important and which are not. Alternatively, she can put her phone on "do not disturb" at night, dates, etc. and make a few numbers exceptions.
Yeah we've spoken about that. There are some complications (multiple unpredictable numbers etc). But worth exploring.
 

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I would be very interested in what she got up to in the eighteen months break. When a couple break up and then get back together it’s usually a lot sooner than that.
And there’s plenty of ways to set up a phone to only ring if certain people call.
 
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Glad you understand her situation 100% and know all the nuances, such as her mothers aged care home has a range of numbers and sometimes blocked. But no, you’re right.
My wife used to be a LTC/EoLC nurse. They may be able to accommodate you. I know my wife had families that had all sorts of different requests. You are absolutely correct that they call from several numbers and some are blocked numbers. So a few scenarios I remember hearing about:
  • They could call and leave a message for a callback. I know that is not always possible and staff are busy.
  • They could call twice in a row. Your GF would answer on the second call.
  • If it's non-urgent, they leave a message. If it's urgent they call twice in a row.
  • They could be instructed to only call for emergencies (you have to decide what that looks like) during certain hours. I know some homes will call for everything, such as a fall or fake police call, even if it's 2AM.
  • If they are calling for every little thing, you could discuss what incidents need a phone call.
  • They could call you as the primary contact, then you would contact your GF. That may not be an option, legally.
  • Your GF could get a second phone. Use that phone number for the nursing home and she will know who is calling.
 
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