Smartphone dependency is on the rise. According to Dr. James A. Roberts, “the typical American checks his or her smartphone once every six-and-a-half minutes, or roughly 150 times each day.”
When one of these frequent phone checks interrupts a conversation or quality time with a romantic partner, it can have serious consequences on the relationship.
The term “phubbing” (derived from “phone-snubbing”) describes those moments we are all too familiar with, when one partner gets distracted by their phone and the other partner feels rejected.
In fact, phubbing has become so common that it is now one of the biggest sources of conflicts in romantic relationships—right up there with arguments about money, kids, and sex!
The sexual health department at the Cheikh Khalifa Ben Zayed international university hospital in Casablanca in Morocco has revealed that nearly 60 per cent of the study participants admitted having problems in their sex lives because of smartphones.
According to a report in Morocco World News citing the scientific study, all 600 participants had smartphones and a whopping 92 per cent admitted to using them at night.
Only 18 per cent of them put their phones on airplane mode in their bedrooms.
The study found that the smartphones negatively impacted adults aged between 20 and 45 years, with 60 per cent saying the devices disturbed their “sexual performances.”
“Around 50 per cent of the interviewees declared “not being comfortable” with their sex lives because of the large portion of time allocated to smartphone use,” the report mentioned
A survey by US-based SureCall — a company that produces devices to boost cell phone reception, last year found that 17 per cent millennials reach for their smartphone during sex.
Almost three-quarters said they sleep with their smartphone either on or next to their bed at night. Those who sleep with their phone nearby were twice as likely to admit they feel fear or anxiety when away from the device.
Alarmingly, these people were also twice as likely to say they are “somewhat dissatisfied with their lives”, the survey claimed.
An earlier study by Durham University and commissioned by condom-maker Durex found that people are more likely to be seduced by gadgets than by their partners.
One third of participants in the study admitted to interrupting sex to answer incoming calls.
Mark McCormack, who carried out the interviews, said taking gadgets into the bedroom has “potentially serious costs to relationships”.
Couples keen to know how their smartphones could make their sex lives more exciting were surprised to learn the answer is the switch-off key.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Brandon McDaniel, who studied phones and relationships at Illinois State University, “found that when technology devices frequently interrupted partners, couples had more conflict over technology use, lower relationship satisfaction, more depressive symptoms and lower life satisfaction.”
Yet, this is an incredibly common problem. A study on “Technoference,” the interference of technology in relationships, found that 70 percent of participants reported that smartphone interruptions negatively impacted interactions with their romantic partners.
Authors of the study explain that by allowing technology to interrupt time spent with romantic partners “individuals may be sending implicit messages about what they value most, leading to conflict and negative outcomes in personal life and relationships.”
The bottom line is: nobody likes to be phubbed. It makes us feel as though our partners don’t take us seriously and/or don’t find us interesting. It leads to more insecurity in ourselves and more uncertainty about our relationships.
So, if your goal is to have a happy, healthy relationship, it’s best to consistently prioritize your partner over your smartphone. The more distance you put between yourself and your phone, the more closeness you can achieve in your relationship.