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Couple's Net

By Chandrama Anderson

E-mail Chandrama Anderson

About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

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What to do Without Devices?

Uploaded: May 20, 2014
Dear Chandrama,
If we're off devices (including TV) in order to spend quality time together, what do we do?

Might Get Bored

Dear Might Get Bored,

I'm glad to hear you're ready to experiment with getting off devices to spend quality time together. (This is also extremely important for sleep health, as backlit devices tell our brains that it's daylight; in other words, time to be awake. Be sure to turn off devices two hours before you want to sleep.)

Three tips:

Try changing your habit a couple of evenings a week at first to minimize withdrawal symptoms. I'm only half joking.

Decide together what time you want to turn the devices off (7 or 8 PM?). A lot of people are working at night, either out of necessity, perceived necessity, to avoid one another, or out of habit. Hopefully needing to work at night is an intermittent requirement, not a way of life . . .

Just notice when and/or what's going on that makes you want to go check something on your device. (Is it a "relationship" discussion? To check email one more time? An "important" text you're waiting for?) Notice how you feel when you don't go check. Or how you feel when you do check after you've agreed not to.

I will offer a few suggestions of quality time activities, and I hope many others will chime with what they do together:
Have sex.
Play scrabble.
Go to a lecture.
Go to a comedy club.
Take a walk.
Work out.
Hang out on the couch.
Discuss a topic.
Sit in the hot tub.
Plan a weekend get-away.
Go on a date.
Read a book or Kindle and play footsie.
Give a back rub.
Play cards.
Listen to music in the dark.
Reminisce about good times.
Get out in nature.
Do arts or crafts.
Play music or sing.
Sit out in the garden.
Make up stories.
Share hopes and dreams.
Add your ideas . . .


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Steve, a resident of Shoreline West,
on May 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Watch TV.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Jackson Park,
on May 20, 2014 at 5:17 pm


Actually, the person who sent in the question to Chandrama specifically mentioned that TVs were also a "device." No mention of radio though.

Anyhow, I suggest going to the ballpark and drinking beer.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Steve, a resident of Shoreline West,
on May 21, 2014 at 11:11 am

Spy on neighbors.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 21, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Thanks for the guffaw!

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community,
on May 23, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Get to know the family and neighbors.

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