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Phone-hooked husbands neglect wives at their peril

46 Comments

It's been six years since Yoshiko, now age 42, wed her husband, who is two years her senior. When she turned 38, she began thinking about having a child, but he refused. Currently, both of them are working at full-time jobs.

"Around the time when he started using a 'gara-kei' (old-type cell phone), he'd return home and pore over a manga while eating his supper," she tells Nikkan Gendai (Jan 28), in an article titled "Smartphones are becoming the trigger for divorces."

"More and more, I began to think about what a dull person he was," Yoshiko continues, "but rather than complain to him about it, I just didn't let it get to me. Then two years ago, he upgraded to a smartphone, and now when we're together, I tell him off."

It seems that Yoshiko's hubby is completely hooked on games he plays on his phone. On weekends, he explained to her, "I play against other players online, and they can't start until I log on."

She became infuriated when she called him to the dinner table and he disregarded her, playing for two more hours before he finally coming to the table. After finishing the meal in silence, he returned to his game. A few days later he told her, "I want to play games, so on weekdays, let's take our meals separately."

But the straw that broke the camel's back and made her question why they even stayed together was caused by Internet shopping.

"I ordered a five-cup capacity rice steamer, which is suitable for a two-person household," says Yoshiko, explaining "I want to eat tasty rice from breakfast." But his reaction was, "In the morning I prefer bread," upon which he ordered an electric hot sandwich maker.

"Right while I was in the midst of cleaning up the kitchen, he came in and said, 'I'm going to make the fixings for a hot sandwich and a salad. You'll like it too. He occupied the kitchen for an hour, and never discussed it. Now I see him as 'sodai-gomi' (oversized rubbish)."

Once when the couple were eating out together at Yoshiko's favorite restaurant, her husband made disparaging remarks about the food and service, of the kind critics post on blogs, saying things like "The meat appears to have been falsely labeled."

"Even our conversations now mostly concern topics he picked up on the Internet," Yoshiko says."

In an attempt to smooth things over, the couple discussed taking a trip together. To Europe, he said. "I like Asia," she replied. "We talked about this before, you remember?"

"I don't recall," he said. End of conversation.

While he's absorbed in his smart phone, he doesn't listen to a word she says, and she's had it.

"There is such a thing as women's talk, but there's not really such a thing as men's talk," says Kim Myong-Gan, a sexual anthropologist. "In the digital era, smartphones have become a social necessity, but women retain vestiges of the old analog. They want to engage in real voice conversations.

"At the polar opposite you'll find males who are poor at communication; they become absorbed in digital, and are content with exchanging messages via smartphone," Kim adds, saying such introverted behavior is particularly widespread in males who are only children or a youngest son, with a wide age gap from older siblings.

"In families with both spouses working and the wives earning over five million yen per year, it's different however; for these women it may lead to 'smartphone divorce.'"

"'Hating their husband's smartphone' is not a reason for divorce per se, but smartphones can be the trigger for mistrust," says marriage counselor Semiko Yamazaki. "The other day I talked with a woman in her 30s who told me, 'After my husband loses a game, he screams at our two-year-old.' I'm worried this will have a bad effect on our child, so I've decided to leave him.' The woman also works at a full-time job.

Smartphones and spouses who work is turning out to be a toxic combination, Nikkan Gendai warns.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

46 Comments
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She36, he 40, when they got married. Typical, sadly, for many women in Japan, they focus rightly so too, on their careers and then get pushed, often times, into the cycle of feeling like they HAVE to get married, so they latch on to someone that they probably would never have chosen before.

Miscommunication somewhere from the outset, but probably blinded to the guys peccadillos due to her wanting marriage.

Cut the dude loose, before you really think it's too late.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Totally manufactured news. Take a handful of anecdotal stories, scientifically call that a pattern, type and push send.

23 ( +27 / -4 )

“There is such a thing as women’s talk, but there’s not really such a thing as men’s talk,” says Kim Myong-Gan, a sexual anthropologist. “In the digital era, smartphones have become a social necessity, but women retain vestiges of the old analog. They want to engage in real voice conversations."

Huh?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I gave up my phone over 5 years ago - have never missed or needed it since.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

There's one for the Pink Team, now how about an article for the Blue Team?

Caption for a nice photo of "Kim Myong-Gan", probably the same dude cited in the article:

http://peter-blakely.photoshelter.com/image/I0000xMEao02JCMQ

sex volunteers-Sex therapist Kim Myong-Gan set up the Sex Volunteer service six years ago after he realised that "talking was not the answer" for many sexually deprived women. He now has a stable of about 50 male volunteers ranging in age from 28 - 63. The men undergo strict vetting procedures to qualify as volunteers. Most lead ordinary lives as salarymen and husbands when they are off-duty.. 2006

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Well I guess it is clear which is better: video games or sex with the wife.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The couple in the story seem doomed from the start, regardless of technology.

She became infuriated when she called him to the dinner table and he disregarded her, playing for two more hours before he finally coming to the table. After finishing the meal in silence, he returned to his game. A few days later he told her, “I want to play games, so on weekdays, let’s take our meals separately.”

That's enough reason right there.

I did get told off for reading news at the table. So now we watch it on TV together instead. The difference is we can talk about it. If you are looking at a phone or PC screen, your partner is left out.

Totally manufactured news. Take a handful of anecdotal stories, scientifically call that a pattern, type and push send.

True story or not, it's hardly limited to Japan. Back home, non-married couples with kids are on the rise. Not a trend I'm very comfortable with, but not for me to judge.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

My wife takes her smartphone to the toilet with her.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Now I see him as ‘sodai-gomi’

That, is funny.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This guy sounds like he could be one of the first to be bludgeoned to death with his smartphone.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What a pathetic loser.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Onniyama: My wife takes her smartphone to the toilet with her.

Sooner or later she'll be googling "help i dropped my phone in the toilet now what do i do".

My friend tried setting it a few days in dry rice, etc. Finally ended up sending it to a $150-$200 service to get her not-backed-up-to-the-cloud honeymoon photos off it. Didn't hear if the phone worked after that.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

‘I’m going to make the fixings for a hot sandwich and a salad. You’ll like it too.

I don't get this woman. At first she complains that all he does is fiddle with his phone and never pays attention. Then when he at least tries to do something for her like make a sandwhich, she is up in a tizzy and doesn't appreciate it. Not saying making one sandwhich will make everything right, but jus from reading how she reacted tells me all I need to know. I think if he didn't have a smart phone, he probably wouldn't be talking to her either since it seems that whatever he does, it probably isn't enough. She is just happy being a complainer in my opinion.

While I do admit that the rise of cell phones and other digital media can take a toll on relationships, I think that this one hit the skids a long time before he upgraded his phone.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

I gave up my phone over 5 years ago - have never missed or needed it since.

I've got you beat@ifd66 -- I never had one to begin with, so there's nothing to miss. Especially all the money down the drain that NTT DoCoMo (an abbreviation for "don't call me") didn't get.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Got rid of my phone 16 months ago. I am happy.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The best advice I ever read for keeping a woman happy was from a random book I read a long time ago. The guy said he always gives her something to look forward to. Trips, dinners out, etc. A woman who has nothing to look forward to will stray or leave.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The guy is no prize it seems but maybe she needs to look at herself as well. Overall, I think the phone is not even close to being the main problem.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Maybe one or both of them might be able to be second-time-happy in a new relationship or marriage, having learned something from the present one which seems doomed. At least she seems to be reflecting on it.

My fruity smart phone (which I got because at work in lessons and seminars, the wi-fi login was really bad, but now is good) - I am being patient until the contract expires and then get something uncomplicated and cheap, probably away from the big three companies. But actually I depend on it a lot each day - easier communication with wife who is 370 kilometers away.

People here ask why I don't get any new apps. All I can say is that if I get them, then I would have to use them. For instance, I can check my pulse with my finger - having a phone give you a health-check! Time for a reality check.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This article is a story of a couple bickering about food, with "smartphone" in the title to grab attention.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

As if the smart phone is the first distraction or tool used to tune out a partner. People have been glued to the internet long before smart phones came about. My step father spends every waking minute of his now waning life watching Faux News (I maintain this is the principal reason for his declining mental acuity but he just drools and grunts in response). My mom, in turn, keeps her nose buried in a book or watches her own TV in another room. People who want to communicate, do, people who don’t will turn to a cereal box if necessary…

2 ( +4 / -2 )

All this and no mention of the legions of women addicted to Candy Crush.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This sounds like a LOT of J-homes, even before the internet, dumb-phones, more video games, etc most couples I saw were fine if they were recently married, if its been a few years & kids arrive the husband & wife usually morph into different species, often sleeping separately & not a lot of interaction.

Nothing really is changing except the gadgets they have!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

As many have pointed out, the phone is just an excuse. There is a lot more to this couple's issues than the usage of a cell phone. Just by going on what I have seen and read here in JT, I imagine that this woman thought that when she got married she could quit her job and the man take care of her. Maybe her ideas about that type of married life didn't come true, or her interpersonal relationships with others at work may be at play and she takes them out on her husband at home. If that is the case, I am sure that this guy is using the phone so that he dosen't have to deal with her "issues" which is not a great way to develop a relationship.

I wonder if they both put their devices down, would they actually be able to talk to each other about a topic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mostly sounds like she's annoyed because he won't obediently do what she says any more.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

“There is such a thing as women’s talk, but there’s not really such a thing as men’s talk,” says Kim Myong-Gan, a sexual anthropologist.

Clearly, she hasn't been invited to many poker games.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“In the digital era, smartphones have become a social necessity, but women retain vestiges of the old analog. They want to engage in real voice conversations."

COMPLETE and utter BS! Once again, we have smart phones (and keep in mind the article points out the 'problem started with him using his gara-kei") being blamed for societal and/or individual problems. Obviously if the guy prefers his phone to his wife, that's a problem between them, not the fault of electronic equipment. I know just as many women, if not more, who constantly take pictures of all their food to instantly upload to Facebook (not starting to eat it until their post is done), take selfies and send to friends and chat via Line and/or Kakao Talk, shop online, play games and use apps, etc. This is not at all a gender thing, and again not a problem that has come about with the advent of the smart phone.

Phone-hooked husbands? peshaw! It's anyone who prefers to focus completely on themselves instead of engaging with their partner. PERIOD.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Totally manufactured news. Take a handful of anecdotal stories, scientifically call that a pattern, type and push send.

Nonsense. If you ever went out to any restaurant, coffee shop, or even on the subway/trains in Japan, you would see multiple couples -- both with their noses stuck in their phones. The amount real personal inteaction among couples in Japan is the exception now, rather than the rule.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Ba Ha, Hah, HaaaH !

MEN ?; You MUST be KIDDING...I don't know HOW many times I tried to talk to a Honey, to ask her name, go for a drink, etc..and they are TOTALLY GLUED to their PHONES !..and WONDER WHY they have no BoyFriend !

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Love how the wife is suddenly the bad one.

I have a smart phone and I use it a lot but when I have better or more important things to do than buying from eBay or checking out cute puppy videos I put it aside. The guy in the article is an idiot. Put the bloody thing down and talk to your wife, eat with her... how hard is that?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"The best advice I ever read for keeping a woman happy was from a random book I read a long time ago. The guy said he always gives her something to look forward to. Trips, dinners out, etc. A woman who has nothing to look forward to will stray or leave."

Then I suggest the man let her leave; women need to understand that men don't exist to simply take care of them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

the phone has become a big issue for us too, but for opposite reasons. My Japanese husband is not a talker. At all. He likes to sit reading the paper, or driving the car, or eating dinner, in silence, as if I'm not there, but he still like me to be sitting there the same way just in case he should (rarely) decide there is something he wants to say to me.

Frankly, it gets pretty lonely. So thank God for my smartphone. I never play games, but I can catch up with what is happening with friends and family, have a quick chat if they are online, look up something on the internet I am interested in, you name it. It relieves the boredom and the loneliness.

But now my husband is constantly whining that I am on the phone and not giving him any attention! When I point out that I would happily give him all the attention he needs but he never wants to talk, he just wants me to hover there should he decide he needs me, he claims he never talks because I am "always on the phone" and we end up with a chicken and egg discussion neither of us can win.

So I have been trying an experiment - I sit for 10-15 minutes. If no word is said during that time (and my attempts at conversation just elicit grunts or one word responses) - out comes the phone.

I wonder how many other Japanese are retreating into their phones because the real people they are with have zero communication skills.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"there’s not really such a thing as men’s talk" - rubbish! Sport, girls and one of cars/computer. We just uses shorter sentences. By serious - I hate the digital world despite it occasional convenience and I slap myself around for even posting here. But, having seen a lot of couples implode here in my time, if it had not been the stupid phone it would have been something else. Oh, and if I see you playing dumb games on the train, I see evolution in reverse, or soda gomi - just wanted to share that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

台所ゴキブリだよ。。。

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NathalieB

"I wonder how many other Japanese are retreating into their phones because the real people they are with have zero communication skills."

And that may true even among themselves. With westerners who are typically more effusive, often about topics Japanese may be uncomfortable discussing, it might be more of a refuge.

Jerseyboy

"Nonsense. If you ever went out to any restaurant, coffee shop, or even on the subway/trains in Japan, you would see multiple couples -- both with their noses stuck in their phones. The amount real personal inteaction among couples in Japan is the exception now, rather than the rule."

I'd be lying if I denied it, but at my age I can remember couples even before there were PCs and many of them reached a point in their relationship where all the talk stopped. Likewise, as Nathalie indicates, Japanese tend to be (at least compared to Yanks) less chatty to begin with. The funny thing is my friends say I'm a Luddite. I don't have a smart phone and generally have a pretty hostile view of tech's overall impact on society.

Wa...

"HOW many times I tried to talk to a Honey, to ask her name, go for a drink, etc..and they are TOTALLY GLUED to their PHONES !..and WONDER WHY they have no BoyFriend"

You get that that's a defense mechanism, like literally. I know though, if J-girls were only more accessible to strangers and stalkers on the street.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"HOW many times I tried to talk to a Honey, to ask her name, go for a drink, etc..and they are TOTALLY GLUED to their PHONES !..and WONDER WHY they have no BoyFriend"

Um....I hate to break it to you, but....! We dont want to be rude and have to say "$%$% off", but some men will just not accept no for an answer and this is a very easy way to politely reject someone. Sorry! :(

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"there’s not really such a thing as men’s talk" - ......................... We just use shorter sentences.

Good one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I got a pay-as-you-go phone. You'd be amazed how much that keeps you away from online time wasters.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He is a loose overall, but I agree with him on the sandwich-maker. If he doesn't want to eat rice for breakfast...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NathalieB: So I have been trying an experiment - I sit for 10-15 minutes. If no word is said during that time (and my attempts at conversation just elicit grunts or one word responses) - out comes the phone.

Don't give up! Tell us how it goes!

Could try: Texting him (maybe he is visual not vocal ... make sure to include lots of smilies!); joining in on whatever chat rooms he's posting on; bring him to JT articles for commenting!; double hammock (kind of difficult to ignore the other person in one of those); recording a day of vocal traffic and analyzing it (one nagging comment could probably obliterate his attention available for the next 10 or so really nice'n'sweet comments, and analysis could show the trend) ...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yes, I agree..Smartphones etc...are for lazy and sometimes childish people. I see salarymen playing games or reading manga on the train. Honestly, I can't understand...I guess I'm old fashioned. I don't even have a keitai, iPhone, iPad or smartphone...Just a MacPro with seven hard drives... I sometimes hear the conversations as people are walking up the stairs getting off the train. Probably something like..."Hey what are you doing"! "Oh, I'm walking up the stairs now"! or "I'm going to the toilet" what a waste of time....then can hardly speak English in a conversation.... Good luck wives!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seems to me that this couple deserve each other. Marriage is about compromise, listening, understanding. Anyone spending all their free time on just 1 activity is an idiot, IMHO.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

turbostat - I DO like your idea of a double hammock!

Yknow - J men are often like this. I certainly didnt marry him for the conversation! But at the risk of sounding like a negative nellie, I CAN say he works insanely hard for us, loves his kids to madness, loves the same things I do and has the same outlook on everything from finance to travel to food and beyond. So I guess marriage is never perfect and I can let this one thing slide! Just hope he can too.....?! :-/

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That's the spirit! ... Look on the bright side! ...

Guys have got 1-element queues in their ears, only room for one thing to percolate there at a time ... he's probably still ruminating on the thing you said three hours ago.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It will be interesting to learn from the wife if the husband is also causing negative impact at his job, too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The big elephant in the room of this story is that neither partner has any respect or love for the other. Sad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nathalie, your comments resonate, especially the one about wanting you to be there in the room with him even if there is no conversation. If he's anything like my husband, that equals love. You need to be very self-sufficient to be married to that sort of guy; luckily, I am and you appear to be, too (underneath it all).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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