Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for 35 years. We’ve owned iPhones since they came out. She’s become quite proficient with using hers to keep up with the news, shop online, etc. The issue I have lately is that she uses the phone throughout the night. She probably wakes up on average five times during the night, and each time, she uses the phone anywhere from five minutes to an hour. I don’t suspect “foul play”; she’s never secretive or trying to hide her screen from me or anything like that. She’s mostly just shopping, reading news and cruising the web. But I’ve shown her tons of studies, cited articles and discussed time and time again how unhealthy it is, based on modern science and medicine. It also disturbs my sleep. She says that it calms her down — when every study says that it does the opposite. I would love to break through to her so she could find a healthier alternative and also so we might restore some of our intimacy, as that has been lacking. — Lonely in Bed
Dear Lonely: You’re right on every count. There’s a whole trove of research showing that using a smartphone (or computer) at bedtime decreases both the quantity and quality of sleep and takes a toll on couples’ sex lives. But your wife’s compulsive smartphone use seems beyond the point of reason. Breaking through to her here is more about reaching her heart than her head. Let her know how concerned you are about her phone habit, that it’s not just a nuisance but a genuine concern. Ask her to leave her devices outside the bedroom for your health, her health and the health of your relationship. If she refuses, ask her to see a counselor who specializes in behavioral addictions.
Dear Annie: My 67-year-old boyfriend of 12 years threw me out for a 22-year-old, but soon afterward, he called and said he thought we could still work it out. We ran into each other in public a month ago, and he couldn’t keep his hands off me. He said he’d call me that night, but he never did. And when I tried him, he didn’t pick up. He later sent me a text saying: “Not gonna happen. Too late.” I have a feeling that he won’t speak to me or see me because he knows that he’ll want me back.
Right now, all my belongings are still at his place. I told him that once they leave, they won’t come back. He has said nothing to me about getting my stuff, but I’m going to just show up. I still love him deeply and want to try to make this work. What have I got to lose? — Pining for Him
Dear Pining: A better question is, what do you have to gain by continuing to give your heart to someone who keeps tossing it aside? It’s time you drop him like a bad habit. The longer you go without seeing him, the easier it will get and the healthier you will become. If you don’t think you’ll be able to resist his charms when retrieving your stuff, ask a friend or family member to go. Stay strong.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]
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