Don’t Let “Phubbing” Ruin Your Relationship

Keep your phones away on date night.
by Maria Bouselli
iStock

We’ve all been there—you get home from work and are talking to your partner about your day, but they don’t respond when you ask them a question because they’re too zeroed in on their phone looking at Snapchat stories or checking ESPN highlights. Cue the never-ending argument: “You’re always on your phone!” “I was listening—really. Now what was it you wanted to know again?”

While your partner (or you!) could deny it all they want, research concludes that snubbing someone by being on your phone—or “phubbing”—could be harmful to your relationship.

While this isn’t a total surprise, phubbing is becoming more common, and a cause of day-to-day conflicts. Seventy percent of participants in a study featured in Psychology of Popular Media Culture said phubbing interfered with them and their partner’s interactions. In another study published in Computers in Human Behavior, more than 100 adults in relationships filled out a questionnaire that included statements such as, “My partner uses his or her smartphone when we are out together,” to scale just how harmful phubbing is to you and your significant other’s communication.

That study concluded that phubbing does, in fact, have an impact on relationship satisfaction—and overall life satisfaction. If a partner is constantly checking their phone while spending time with their significant other, the other person will feel like they and the relationship are not being valued, which (obviously) leads to conflict.

The big takeaway here? Spend time with each other without your phone. On date night, leave your smartphone in your pocket or purse and really listen to your partner and connect with them. Your Instagram feed and those college basketball scores can wait.

If you're looking for more ways to build a healthier relationship, check out Lasting. The science-based app backed by The Knot gets to know your relationship and then creates a customized program just for you and your significant to help you to shape a better marriage or relationship.

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