Is a Cell Phone Addiction Real?

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Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 9.21.47 AMRecently on an episode of Nicole Richie’s hilarious VH1 reality show, Candidly Nicole, I moderated a group therapy session for people addicted to their iPhones. While the scene (watch it below) was a humorous look at all the ways that cell phone use can become dysfunctional — users admitting to using while in church, at funerals, while riding bikes, and while having sex — there is a dark truth in the comedy.

We know that cell phones and the internet are hurting our relationships. Digital communication has replaced talking and internet dating sites, with their buffet of romantic choices, have created a kind of Love A.D.D. But, aside from our intimate relationships, our iPhones have created a new kind of anxiety, one that bubbles up when our phones are powered down and our human desire for attachment distorts us into thinking a cell phone is a secure attachment figure. There’s even a pop culture term for this anxiety: FOMO — fear of missing out.

But if we are to psychologically survive as humans, we must program or be programmed. And, like our cravings for salt, sugar, fat, and even sex, the fittest will survive. And being fit means having an ability to self regulate. To control ourselves. Is a cell phone addiction real? Well, it isn’t a fully identified diagnosis…yet. But if your cell phone use has even one of the criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for substance abuse, then, yes, you are addicted to tech. Check the list below. I changed the word “substance” to “technology.”

1. Failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, home such as repeated absences or poor work performance related to technology use; technology-related absences, suspensions, or expulsions from school; neglect of children or household

2. Frequent use of technology in situations in which it is physically hazardous (e.g., driving an automobile or operating a machine when using technology)

3. Frequent legal problems (e.g. arrests, disorderly conduct) for substance technology use.

4. Continued use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems (e.g., arguments with spouse about consequences of technology use)

Now, to make light of a sometimes, serious subject, here’s my therapy session with Nicole Richie on VH1′s Candidly Nicole.

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Tickets Now Available For The Great Love Debate!

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 10.45.03 AMDo you live in Dallas, Austin, D.C., NYC, Nashville, LA, Boston, Miami, San Francisco, or Chicago? Then, I’m coming to you! As the host of The Great Love Debate, a unique town-hall style event, I will be joined by leading local experts and YOU to dish, discuss, dissect, and debate the current state of the date. Join hundreds of your city’s most eligible bachelors and dynamic single women at The Great Love Debate. I want to hear from you.

Get full schedule and tickets HERE!

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Dr. Wendy Walsh Joins The Great Love Debate!


Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 1.10.49 PMLOS ANGELES, CA – Opening Acts, in partnership with, is proud to announce THE GREAT LOVE DEBATE North American tour and has added Dr. Wendy Walsh, “America’s Relationship Expert,” as host for all upcoming fall and winter shows.

“We are thrilled and overwhelmed at the sold-out response to the Great Love Debate in the 48 cities we have visited so far,” says Brian Howie, the show’s creator and producer. “The addition of Dr. Wendy Walsh – the smartest, most engaging, and most recognized personality in the relationship business – will allow us to take the Debate to an even more enlightening, entertaining, and empowering place for singles nationwide.”

The Great Love Debate is a lively, interactive Town Hall-style discussion and debate on the current state of the date that is comprised of an audience of 200 of each city’s most eligible bachelors facing off against 200 of its most dynamic single women to answer the question, “Why is everyone still single?”

The tour kicked off in January in Santa Barbara, CA and has experienced sold-out crowds in 48 cities in the US and Canada. Upcoming stops include new cities Dallas, Austin, Nashville, Miami, and Seattle; as well as encore shows in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Los Angeles, Boston, and Washington, DC.

For future tour dates and panelist information, please visit For further details and media inquiries, please contact Brian Howie from 4th Street
Media via email at , or at 310-310-0746. ###

Dr. Wendy Walsh is America’s thought leader on relationships. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work as co-host on The Dr. Phil spinoff, The Doctors TV show. She also hosts Investigation Discovery Network’s “Happily NEVER After,” as well as being part of Dr. Drew’s Behavior Bureau on HLN Network. On CNN and 9 Network, Australia, she breaks down the psychology of sex, love, gender roles, divorce, parenting and other human behaviors. Dr. Wendy is an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at California State University, Channel Islands. She holds a B.A. in Journalism, a Masters degree in Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and is the author of three books and numerous publications, including The 30-Day Love Detox. She appears regularly on The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, The Steve Harvey Show, The O’Reilly Factor, Inside Edition, The Katic Couric Show, Jane Velez-Mitchell, and The View.

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FOR MEN: Research Says Men Have Feelings

Happy young couple playing in hotel room while laying on bed inA new survey of 1000 American men, mounted by home entertainment specialists Home Wet Bar reconfirms what we who study male psycho-sexuality have known all along. Humans are wired to bond. And the desires for most men are for family and romantic partners, not the three “S’s” Sex, Sports and Stocks.

About three-quarters of the surveyed men in all age groups (18-55) say they would prefer an evening with a partner to a night out with friends. Twice as many men say they would prefer a date night to a sports night, and about two-thirds of the men say that in general they prefer being in a relationship over being single. And about forty per cent of men say they always feel romantic, not just when they are in the mood for sex.

The big take away for both men and women? The high supply sexual economy that dominates the American dating scene does a dis-service to men. It creates a very narrow bandwidth of acceptable male sexual behavior, that is, take all sex, any sex, all any cost. Evolutionary psychologists have found that more than half of the human species mates for life, and far from being promiscuous, many others have two or three long stints of monogamy during their life spans. Clearly, men have feelings when it comes to sex. In fact, in Dr. Andrew Smiler’s book, Challenging Casanova, research shows that only about five per cent of American men are considered players, Don Juans, or Casanovas. The rest get charged by the other F-word — feelings.

One humorously interesting piece of data from the Home Wet Bar survey is the finding that two-thirds of the male respondents said they have never lied about the number of sexual partners they have had. As sex researchers know, both genders notoriously lie on sexual surveys. Cultural pressures force women to under-report the number of sexual partners they have had and men are pressured to over-report. So the two-thirds of men who say they never lie about this? They’re probably lying. :)

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FOR SINGLES: Best Advice For Singles

Singles concept.Recently at The Great Love Debate in Los Angeles, I was asked for my best advice for singles. While some of the other panelists who were dating coaches and match-makers, offered wisdom about online dating, profile photos and pick up lines, I took a more philosophical approach. My best advice for singles is this:

Go out and create a happy, meaningful life for yourself. When a single person has reached a stage in their individual growth where they have built a purposeful, connected life with multiple secure attachments to friends and extended family, they have suddenly become an attractive mate. Longing for someone else to make you feel complete isn’t sexy. But having an authentic relationship with the world, with your community, with your family, and doing the exchange of care that is part of a good romantic relationship is the way to practice being a great mate.

Here are some ways to practice being a great mate:

• Drive close friends to the airport
• Help a single mother with anything from babysitting to home repairs
• Play Scrabble with an elderly person
• Call your mother
• If you call her too much, stop calling your mother
• Cook for friends
• Do some charity work
• Socialize with married people and families (marriage is contagious)
• Join a club, book group, wine tasting, gardening
• Mentor or tutor a younger person

And that’s my best advice for singles.

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