My Husband is Addicted to His Phone and Never Talks to Me

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I am a woman in my 40s. I would like advice about my husband, who is addicted to his smartphone.

My husband always has his phone on him at home. He eats while watching videos and plays online games after meals. He wears earphones all the time.

When I talk to him, he does not turn away from the screen to look at me. Not only do we not chat while eating, but there are no regular conversations between us anymore.

Our children also play games and use their phones while eating. They always have one earphone in their ears.

I tell them we should have family conversations at the dinner table, but they do not understand what is wrong and never listen to me. I tell them they should look at people when talking to them but they do not change.

I asked my mother-in-law for advice, but she just said, “If they don’t spend money on games, then what’s the issue?” It was of no help.

What should I do?

B, Yamaguchi Prefecture

Dear Ms. B:

You want your husband to pay attention to his family and not use his phone so much. I understand where you are coming from, but you cannot change your husband’s behavior on your own.

He is your spouse, but at the same time he is his own person. He will not change unless he wants to. The more you tell him to stop, the more he will resist and keep doing it.

Regardless, your husband’s attitude is terrible. If he is glued to his phone only at home, that is disrespectful to you. If he behaves the same in public, that is socially unacceptable.

However, why does he keep taking that attitude?

There might be something that caused your husband to start acting like this.

If you truly want him to change, you need to talk with him about the reasons. If you want to stay with him, you should talk with him about what kind of life you two want to lead together.

I think it would be good if you can talk and find a shared hobby to enjoy together. If you find it difficult to do this by yourself, you could ask someone you trust to mediate between you and your husband.

The important thing is to be determined to address the issue.

Yutaka Ono, psychiatrist