If you’re often distracted when you’re around your partner, that might indicate there’s something going on in your relationship you need to address. Brenner says, “Is there unresolved conflict, are you scared of your partner, are you feeling guilty or ashamed of something?” But if you are often distracted while you’re spending time with your boyfriend or girlfriend, don’t jump to conclusions! Brenner says, “Take the time to give careful consideration to the possible causes, and try not to avoid recognizing if there are emotional or relationship-related distractions.”
Brenner also mentions that distraction can also be due to a different cause, such as ADHD, “which has been known to cause relationship problems because our partners think we aren’t interested in them.” If you or your partner has ADHD, there are many couples’ therapists who specialize in this area.
Regardless, as a couple there are many ways to learn to be more present. Brenner suggests you begin by setting achievable goals and says, “Ask your partner to help by gently reminding you if you drift away, rather than ignoring it or feeling and acting offended.” Establishing clear communication about this could also alleviate tension around the issue. Brenner continues, “Before you spend time together, remind yourselves that this is a protected time together, take inventory of what other things are on your mind, note how you are feeling about being together, and start by listening closely, taking turns speaking, and maintaining an appropriate level of engagement — eye contact, physical touch, and so on.”
Lastly, Brenner says that if you find yourself drifting away, you can gently bring yourself back. Brenner says, “You can even practice this is a form of mindful meditation — you might call it mindful relatedness.” Oh, and just like I do when I’m sitting at the bar by myself — put your phone away!