What do you do when having a TV in bed starts to take over your relationship? Yes, it can be comfortable and convenient to have the TV at your feet while you’re winding down, but you have to be careful it doesn’t steadily take over. One partner can end up watching too much TV while the other dozes next to them, which can become irksome if this becomes the routine night… after night… after night. This can become the case if the two work at different times of the day and one partner finds themselves winding down at different times to the other.
Is your partner watching too much TV while they’re next to you in bed?
If so, what can you do about it?
Signs the TV is taking over your partner’s life
When you’re trying to get some shut-eye but your partner has the TV on and either the sound or the glow of the screen is keeping you awake, it’s annoying, no doubt. Pay attention, however, that your partner is not just being an inconsiderate so-and-so but may, in fact, be hooked on the small screen. There’s a fine line between the two. Here are some tell-tale signs:
They start and end the day watching TV
If the minute your partner wakes up, they switch on the TV, and the minute they climb into bed, they do the same, there’s a good chance they’re becoming addicted to it. They might not even be realising it, so ingrained is the habit. Encourage them to start and end the day in a calmer manner, such as by meditating. The silence will do them (and you) some good.
Some people can become so wrapped up in a TV series that they can’t rest until they’ve seen the next episode. That’s the whole point of cliffhanger endings, but it’s a bad thing if it leads to changes in your partner’s behaviour. They may become anxious, withdrawn and even hostile until they get that next televisive fix.
They cancel plans and watch TV instead
Okay, a series might seriously captivate a person, but cancelling plans just to watch the TV is going way too far. It’s perfectly fine to stay in from time to time and relax in front of the TV ― no one says you have to go out every single night ― but if your partner starts putting their life (and yours) on hold purely to follow a TV series, something is up. The world won’t come to an end if they miss it and catch up with it another time. The series has got to wait.
So, what do you do next?
The situation is getting bad. They’re either not taking your feelings into consideration or they’re struggling with some kind of addiction to the TV. Here are a few things you can do to restore some harmony back to the relationship and to each other’s wellbeing:
Do the obvious thing
A harsher soul may say you deserve better and tell you to just seek a new partner, but that’s definitely not necessary! The obvious solution would be to move the TV into another room. That way, there’s less disturbance from the glow of the screen or from the volume of the TV set. Your partner can watch TV and not bother a soul. Restricting TV usage to a single room will whittle away the temptation for them to watch more TV than is good for them (or necessary), too.
Make the most of TiVo or other DVRs
The internet has been a game changer. Betamax and VHS are distant (but fond) memories and digital recording is the popular new kid on the block, one we can confidently predict as being here to stay. The power of a digital video recorder (DVR) makes it possible to record programmes without them taking up any physical storage space. This frees you up to make more of your time together and relax, rather than force one or both of you to become slaves to the screen.
Cancel a service
This is going to hurt, but you might have to play hardball and cancel cable TV or Netflix altogether if your partner won’t quit. They’re not going to like it and neither are you, but needs must. If you can’t reach a compromise, it’s time to get on the phone and make that cancellation call. Suggest that you’re prepared to do this and you might just be able to work something out. Nobody would want to lose Netflix!
Note that Netflix asks viewers if they want to continue watching TV, which it does after they’ve watched several episodes. This is another potential sign that the account holder(s) may be indulging a little too much with the goggle box.
Your partner may find it hard to go ‘cold turkey’ and not watch any more TV, so they should limit their viewing time instead. They may struggle with this, too, so give them a little incentive to inspire them to achieve it. Another way to help them achieve this is to replace evening viewing with other activities, such as meditation or reading. If excessive TV viewing has crept into the daytime as well, encourage them to look for hobbies they can pursue when they would otherwise have been in front of the TV set.
Turn TV in bed into a date night
Your partner may be spending too much time in front of the TV and it may wind you up to Kingdom Come, but you don’t have to banish TV from both your lives. You could make use of the TV bed and arrange a date night on which the two of you cuddle up and enjoy a movie together. You can then do other things all the other evenings. Whatever you do, don’t make every night date night. Nice as that might be, especially for your TV-loving significant other, it would defeat the object!
TV is a superb way to unwind and is something you can enjoy whether you’re on your own or in a relationship. When watching TV, however, it’s important to be aware of how much of an impact the small screen may be having on your life and on that of your partner. Both partners must observe a lifestyle that creates balance, by finding other ways to pass the time and by taking precautions so that they only spend healthy amounts of time in front of the TV. This turns the TV into a treat for both, rather than something that drives a wedge between the two people and, ultimately, has a detrimental impact on their relationship.