Q: Before I even get started telling you my problem, I want you to know that I am no 60-year-old person who is tech ignorant or set in my ways! Also, I, myself, own and use a cell phone. So, when I tell you that my boyfriend, “George,” is obnoxious with his cell phone, you know where I am coming from.
George is always on his cell phone. It’s like his ear is glued to his phone. No matter where we are or what we are doing, he is calling on his cell phone, or answering it. Once on, he rarely gets off. It’s like his life is not where he inhabits the earth, but somewhere else. And, if things haven’t been bad enough, he recently got an iPhone! Now, getting his attention is almost impossible — his e-mail is but a finger movement away.
I don’t get it. He seems to think whatever is happening somewhere else is more important than what he’s doing in the space and time that he is occupying. Or maybe from my standpoint, things and people, elsewhere, are more important than I am. Believe me that when my phone rings, I look and see who it is — that is, if I’m not totally engaged in something important like people I love. Then, I make a decision about how important it is for me to answer and many times I don’t answer. I realize that I can call that person back, especially if I am having dinner with George, talking about something important with George, or I am making love with George. That just seems honoring of my love and respect for him. But, I don’t get that same respect back, and, I’m wondering now, maybe not the love.
The other night I was talking to George about how horrible a day I had had. Believe me, it was a bad day at work and I was really distressed. In the middle of my telling him my bad day, his phone rang. He didn’t even look to see who it was, he just answered it. Then, he left the room and talked to this person for an hour and 20 minutes! I sat there thinking he would get off the phone and come back to me, but no! When finally he came back, he had even forgotten about my problem, instead he went on and on about what his phone call was about — a co-worker’s problem. When I brought up about how he had left me in the middle of my story, he said that he thought that I was done with my story.
Even if I had been done with my story — which I was far from being done, he hadn’t even replied or talked with me about it. But he didn’t seem to remember that! In other words, he didn’t even remember about what I had said or maybe that his input and his empathy would have been nice! It made me feel very unimportant in George’s life. Actually, we ended up in a fight that night over his not remembering me and listening to my problem.
I guess my question to you is, are we obligated to answer every phone that rings, ignoring what else that is going on with our lives?! And then to stay on it, no matter what?
Cell phone widow
A: Not in my book! I’m not sure why some people think that a ringing phone requires immediate attention, regardless of what’s going on in that person’s life. I’m sure many folks can relate to being dropped in favor of a cell phone caller. I got to believe that Ms. Manners would have a lot to say about the all rudeness that the cell phone has produced in so many situations. But beyond that, George’s not even remembering you and your bad day, well that’s another issue right there. Is this kind of thing a symptom of your relationship — his not being a good listener and supporter of you? Something to think about; a red flag perhaps?
P.S.: You have inadvertently, I’m sure, offended many people in their 60s who are very tech savvy. And, believe it or not, being set in one’s ways in not so much a factor of age, but more of a personality characteristic of any age.
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