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Separation and the Internet, mobile devices etc
#1
Hi Dads,

So I was thinking this morning about this, and one of the bug bears I have about my recently separated ex (almost three weeks now) is the amount of time she spends on her phone of an evening.

I'm very much a "switch the phone off when I get in" kind of guy because I spend my day staring at screens (I work in IT), and the last thing I want to do when I get in is distract myself with Facebook and the comings and goings of inane 'celebrities' when I should be spending time with my family instead.

She even sits on her phone whilst our daughter is snuggled up to her, or before our daughter's bedtime whilst she's reading her school books to us. The valuable moments are sullied because she permanently has her head stuck in the phone.

In the past she's said it's because she finds all of this more interesting than her own life but I dismissed it as a throwaway comment - and yes, I know that warning signs should have started flashing at that point but they didn't, of which I admit that I am guilty of - seeing as we both earn a decent wage, have a nice house, perfect daughter in a good school and all that jazz.

And she's not the only one. Male and female friends and colleagues all have the same problem with someone in their lives, who would rather play candy crush or sift through hours of carefully-planned Facebook updates by vacuous 'friends' whose lives are always more exciting and interesting than yours, instead of having personal interactions with those around them.

When she announced the separation to her friends, none of them were surprised as apparently her 'only outlet' for her feelings of unhappiness was WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and the cyber shoulders of her friends. All of my pals were shocked. Even our neighbours (who have become firm friends over the past year) were totally shocked as we looked the perfect family. The people in real life who we interact with on a regular basis.

So, my question is, with the rise of the internet and our reliance on Social Media, mindless celebrity news and other things to keep us occupied, are our natural, human interactions and relationships suffering as a result?

Instead of burying our heads in our mobile devices, should we be switching them off and communicating with our loved ones instead?

Could my relationship have been saved if I spotted the warning signs early and encouraged her or gave her a reason to find her own life more interesting than someone else who seems to have the 'perfect' life online but is probably just as bored and restless as her?

She's still on her phone in the evenings now, after the separation - instead of trying to communicate and patch things up. Our daughter (who my ex believes she will miss terribly when she stays at my house, wherever that may be) snuggles up to her and she's still on her phone.

Although, instead of scrolling she seems to be typing more, and she now angles the phone away from me, or carefully cups it so I can't see what's going on. She's changed the password on her phone since the separation too. It was never previously off limits to me - I understand now that it's 'her' phone and I am no longer 'her' partner, but there you go.
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#2
I can totally relate to that. The same thing is happening in my house atm. I have to admit that I am also bad for using my phone.....this is probably why I am in this mess now....wish I had seen the problem along time ago.. thing might be so much different
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#3
Although, instead of scrolling she seems to be typing more, and she now angles the phone away from me, or carefully cups it so I can't see what's going on. She's changed the password on her phone since the separation too. It was never previously off limits to me - I understand now that it's 'her' phone and I am no longer 'her' partner, but there you go.

If that isn't enough indication that she's having an affair (emotional or physical), I don't know what is.
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#4
I'm with you on this.

I lived with my ex for 2 months before I finally left (the evening when she told me "if you stay here another night I'll stab you in your sleep"), and was amazed at how much time she spent glued to a screen - be it her phone, tablet or laptop. Bear in mind that she hasn't had a job since '07, so it wasn't like she was checking in at the office.

But this has spread to the next generation. My 10y and 8y boys spend their time staring at screens watching Youtube videos when they're with her, whilst my 5y daughter is glued to the TV. And in the meantime where's Mum? Pointing her head at her phone.

Kids pick up on adults behavior.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not against these things and they have their place in modern family life. But I feel it's important to maintain a balance, which they're not getting with their Mum.

And Gents?

In my personal experience even if I'd put my phone down earlier, it still wouldn't have made any difference. Our problem was a fundamental lack of compatibility between the two of us. The phones were just a symptom of us both trying to escape from our unhappiness.

And even if I had put it down, I'm fairly sure she wouldn't have done the same. Don't beat yourselves up.

I actually don't use mine as much anymore. She does though, and like I said has farmed our kids onto them now. Speaks volumes.
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#5
(11-01-2017, 02:18 PM)Petem Wrote: I'm with you on this.

I lived with my ex for 2 months before I finally left (the evening when she told me "if you stay here another night I'll stab you in your sleep"), and was amazed at how much time she spent glued to a screen - be it her phone, tablet or laptop. Bear in mind that she hasn't had a job since '07, so it wasn't like she was checking in at the office.

But this has spread to the next generation. My 10y and 8y boys spend their time staring at screens watching Youtube videos when they're with her, whilst my 5y daughter is glued to the TV. And in the meantime where's Mum? Pointing her head at her phone.

Kids pick up on adults behavior.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not against these things and they have their place in modern family life. But I feel it's important to maintain a balance, which they're not getting with their Mum.

And Gents?

In my personal experience even if I'd put my phone down earlier, it still wouldn't have made any difference. Our problem was a fundamental lack of compatibility between the two of us. The phones were just a symptom of us both trying to escape from our unhappiness.

And even if I had put it down, I'm fairly sure she wouldn't have done the same. Don't beat yourselves up.

I actually don't use mine as much anymore. She does though, and like I said has farmed our kids onto them now.  Speaks volumes.

Thankfully I've managed to keep my 5yo daughter away from most screens, bar the TV (which she totally zones out to sometimes), and she does have her own LeapFrog Thinktab thing, but because that's education-based she barely uses it (typical).

I never let her use my phone unsupervised, and she doesn't know how to use YouTube or anything like that, YET! A few times I've come home and found her watching stuff on NowTV that's not been age-appropriate whilst my partner has got her head stuck in her laptop, all of which have led to sleepless nights whilst she's up all hours crying with nightmares.

We do have friends whose kids have got their own YouTube accounts, iPads, iPhones etc, all of which go unchecked.

But it's part of modern life, children in extended family have tantrums when they can't go and sit in the car and play iPad games on a family day out, and even my boss says that he finds just sitting watching TV hard and unsatisfying...if he's not on the iPad at the same time he's not happy.

I find the whole thing shocking.
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#6
I agree with what you're saying, but in my ex uses these things as a means to keep the kids out of her hair. They're the first things that get picked up before school and after.

Like I say - they have their place but there has to be a balance. When (or if at the moment) they're with me, we just do other things instead. And not expensive stuff either. Tea parties with my daughter, Lego with the boys and generally messing about. The big hit is the drawer of board games that I got from Home Bargains.

When I open their cases, the tablets are always in there. And they know they've got them, but never ask to have them out. Because quite simply we're having too much fun.
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#7
(11-02-2017, 05:55 PM)Petem Wrote: I agree with what you're saying, but in my ex uses these things as a means to keep the kids out of her hair. They're the first things that get picked up before school and after.

Like I say - they have their place but there has to be a balance. When (or if at the moment) they're with me, we just do other things instead. And not expensive stuff either. Tea parties with my daughter, Lego with the boys and generally messing about. The big hit is the drawer of board games that I got from Home Bargains.

When I open their cases, the tablets are always in there. And they know they've got them, but never ask to have them out. Because quite simply we're having too much fun.

This is exactly the kind of stuff I enjoy doing with my daughter currently. Sure, we'll sit and watch a film together or play some old skool video games, but I try and keep all that to a minimum. We colour, play Barbies (which is actually quite liberating), Jenga (which she's ace at for a 5yo), Guess Who and all that good stuff.

In the words of my parents, just keep it simple - that's all they want!

Sadly, my ex is a bit of a workaholic when she's not on her phone, and she's always bought it home with her on her laptop - having her sit at the dinner table until 10/11PM at night has never been an unusual occurrence, and now she's self-employed she'll use the TV as a babysitter whilst she works away. I think it's sad, really, as she moaned because she felt guilty that she had to go back to work when our daughter was 3 months old (we put her in nursery) and now she has the opportunity to spend time with her after school she's still bloody working!!!
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#8
(11-03-2017, 09:41 AM)AKentishMan Wrote:
(11-02-2017, 05:55 PM)Petem Wrote: I agree with what you're saying, but in my ex uses these things as a means to keep the kids out of her hair. They're the first things that get picked up before school and after.

Like I say - they have their place but there has to be a balance. When (or if at the moment) they're with me, we just do other things instead. And not expensive stuff either. Tea parties with my daughter, Lego with the boys and generally messing about. The big hit is the drawer of board games that I got from Home Bargains.

When I open their cases, the tablets are always in there. And they know they've got them, but never ask to have them out. Because quite simply we're having too much fun.

This is exactly the kind of stuff I enjoy doing with my daughter currently. Sure, we'll sit and watch a film together or play some old skool video games, but I try and keep all that to a minimum. We colour, play Barbies (which is actually quite liberating), Jenga (which she's ace at for a 5yo), Guess Who and all that good stuff.

In the words of my parents, just keep it simple - that's all they want!

Sadly, my ex is a bit of a workaholic when she's not on her phone, and she's always bought it home with her on her laptop - having her sit at the dinner table until 10/11PM at night has never been an unusual occurrence, and now she's self-employed she'll use the TV as a babysitter whilst she works away. I think it's sad, really, as she moaned because she felt guilty that she had to go back to work when our daughter was 3 months old (we put her in nursery) and now she has the opportunity to spend time with her after school she's still bloody working!!!

That's the thing that upsets me - my ex has this opportunity, and in all seriousness the honour of being able to spend as much time as she wants to with our children. So what does she do? Stick them in front of the telly or the tablets because they want to be involved with her and that p*sses her off. What I'd do to have the time that she so freely dismisses!

Funnily enough though, I had some very wise words from LTCDAD when I first joined the forum: 

"You won't waste their childhoods - you will have them 50% of the time and create memories for them... really not your issue if all they remember at mums house was playing on a ipad... that's up to her"
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#9
I hear exactly what you are saying......

My ex and I were in a relationship for quite a few years and everything was fine, granted we had argumen to close ts etc but who doesn't..... when we were together she was hardly on her phone or playing games on the iPad etc and when she was it was late at night or we just weren't doing anything just chilling out. Skip to when the little one was born all of a sudden she would be on her phone or on the iPad playing games and generally just not taking an interest in the little one and leaving me to play with her or do bath time etc etc all she would do was the evening feed then put her to bed but then she went straight back on the iPad..... it killed me that she wasn't taking an interest in our child..... anyway cut to 2 years later and she walks out and takes the little one with her with no explanation.

After speaking to close friends and family we all seem to think that is postnatal depression but how do you try and get her and her family to realise that and the negative effects that it has caused and that she should really speak to someone?
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#10
The problem is that you can't.

My ex had issues with anxiety and depression, and was prescribed antidepressants by our GP. He said that "you need to start taking these right now, because the longer you leave it then the worse it's going to get".

She wouldn't take them. I supported her the best I could, but things gradually deteriorated. And I was blamed for the situation, which then massively messed me up too.

The problem is you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. Don't blame yourself.

That's one of the lessons that I've learnt along the way after we split.

Sure - I may have done things differently in a different situation, or a different person would have handled the same situation differently.

But I did my best. Plus there were two people in this relationship - and despite what they say it's breakdown wasn't just down to me.
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