Finding Meaningful Ways To Stay Connected, Particularly In Romantic Relationships

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on my move away from friends and family to a city where I know very few people. This change has resulted in spending significantly more time alone. Yet, despite the increased solitude, I haven’t felt lonely. I attribute much of this sense of connectedness to my phone. 

I’ve come to realize that even when I’m ‘alone,’ I’m rarely truly isolated, as I’m usual texting with friends and engaging on social media. The sense of companionship that social media offers is something I deeply appreciate and I’m very grateful that cell phones have allowed for keeping in touch with friends and family despite the distance. However, I also believe in the importance of carving out moments to be truly alone, to engage introspectively with my own thoughts. This balance between digital connection and personal solitude makes for a well-rounded sense of self.

As a content creator, the nature of my work necessitates a significant presence on my phone and social media, which often makes it challenging to separate work from personal life. It’s imperative for me to allocate enough time for myself and for my loved ones, ensuring moments are spent fully present, devoid of phones or unrelated thoughts. It’s within this undistracted time that genuine companionship and connection are cultivated—both with oneself and with others.

To manage this, I’ve learned the critical importance of establishing firm boundaries around phone use, social media engagement, and work-related thought processes. This approach to delineating work and personal time isn’t just beneficial for content creators but is valuable for anyone navigating the digital age. Setting these boundaries is essential for maintaining a healthy balance between our online engagements and our offline lives.

I’ve previously shared various strategies for minimizing phone usage outside of work and dedicating time for myself each day. Today, I want to shift focus towards how I prioritize making time for my romantic relationship. Despite living together, Mickey and I have contrasting schedules and work commitments that limit our time together during the week. To address this, we’ve been making an effort to carve out more quality time together, even amidst our hectic lives.

We are fortunate to both work from home, so we make it a point to have breakfast together most mornings. We use this time to share any recent findings with one another, such as, new music, an interesting article or a provoking thought.

But, we’ve found that these mornings can sometimes be clouded by other distractions in our home. So once a week, we like to go on a morning walk and stop at a cafe for coffee. Being outside our home environment allows us to focus more on each other, free from those household distractions.

Silence can be healing. The art of quiet companionship holds a profound significance. There are times when we are out for that morning coffee or a shared meal that we barely speak. This is by choice, finding solace in simply being together, silently people watching or reading books. It’s very special to find someone who’s company offers a deep sense of connection without the need for conversation.

Although our work schedules often prevent us from having dinner together during the week, on nights when we can, we don’t bring our phones to the dinner table. This uninterrupted time allows us to truly listen to each other, sharing details about our day, what we’re working on and discuss any challenges we’re facing.

Given our limited time together during the week, the weekends are typically reserved for shared activities, embracing both our aligned interests and our individual interests. We will grocery shop and cook a good meal together. We will sift through a record store to find a new album to bring home and listen to. I take him to my favorite antique shops. We watch a soccer game at a pub. 

We also make a conscious effort to continue to date one another. On occasion, one of us will plan a date entirely on our own, making it whatever we want it to be. This adds some excitement and thoughtfulness to dating, rather than just going out to dinner.

Through these practices, Mickey and I have found meaningful ways to stay connected, appreciating both our conversations and the comfortable silences, keeping our relationship fed so it continues to grow. Even the ordinary moments and simple gestures make a big difference.

Many of my most cherished moments with loved ones are those that might seem insignificant. Whether it’s wandering through a new part of the city, long conversations over a candlelit dinner at home, listening to music together, staying up late gossiping and psychoanalyzing life, or simply people watching at a cafe—these experiences are invaluable. The true essence of spending time with those close to us isn’t about grandeur or expense; it’s about being fully present and engaged. It’s the state of our minds and the quality of our attention that makes these moments meaningful.

xo, mikaela


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